Category Archives: Jesus

Why this Christ Follower is over Christmas…

Christmas 1987.
I was seven and I was very aware of some things going on in our home.
I knew that we were very poor, not destitute, but only one missed day of work from it.
I knew that my dad was worthless in the fiscal department, making him my Momma’s third child.
And I knew that Christmas was stressing my momma out.
I watched her whole demeanor change shortly after Thanksgiving. She went from being okay to being depressed. Her “can-do” attitude transformed to the “give-up” attitude. And at seven years old, I knew why: She had no idea how she was going to afford presents for my sister and I. She was going over her bills in her mind thinking of which one she could skip, even though she knew the snowball effect from it would devastate the delicate ecosystem of “getting by” that she had designed. She didn’t have credit. Daddy had ruined that for her long ago…right along with her pride. She couldn’t ask her family for help either because they all needed the same. So, there she was, depressed, working her fingers to the bone, wondering how the hell she was gonna give her little girls something for Christmas. And as much as she tried to pretend everything was okay and as much as she tried to hide her tears….I knew.
And as much as she had tried to redirect the true meaning of Christmas back to the priceless birth of Jesus, her family had already bought into the secular aspect of it.
Three days ago, I stood in a store in front of a lady, waiting for her to ask my friend and I, “can I help you?”, but she couldn’t put her phone down long enough to bother. I stared at her with my aggravated eyes, not bothering to listen to what she was saying to the person on the phone. I thought to myself, “I’m gonna ask to speak to her supervisor as soon as she puts that phone down”, but then I saw it. I saw the look in her eyes. It was a look of panic and stress. It was a look of defeat that I had seen before and I knew. I knew because I had seen that same look every year in my own Momma’s eyes at this time. Then I begin to listen to what she was saying, right in front of me, to that person on the phone, “but sir, I cannot send any money until after the first of the year”, “yes sir, I understand, but I just can’t send anything until then”. I wonder which bill she wasn’t paying to buy presents for her family? I wonder if she even knows why we celebrate Christmas? It didn’t look like much of a celebration to her. She looked like she couldn’t wait for the holidays to be over. I wonder if anyone has ever told her that it’ll be okay if you don’t meet the standards of the world? I wonder if she knows that it’s okay to just give love? I wonder if she knows that just meeting the basic needs of her family should be gift enough for them? I wonder if she realizes that every time she looks at the gifts she gave her children, she will think, “that toy was my light bill money”? I wonder if she knows that she’s already bitter about this season? I wonder if she knows that her children will still love her even if she doesn’t get them the latest and greatest gadget? I wonder if she knows that the smiles and appreciation she will receive after the gift is given, will be temporary?
I wonder if she’ll ever grasp the real reason of it all…
I wonder if she knows that every good and perfect gift comes from Him?

It’s the expectation that I’m over. It’s the fake, “it’s-better-to-give-than-receive” bull crap saying that people tell themselves as they swipe that overused credit card, that I’m over. It’s the pressure to meet the standard that I’m over. I’m over it for the people that can’t bare that pressure. I’m over it because my Buddhist friend and my atheist friend both have freakin Christmas trees up in their homes. What exactly are they celebrating? The spirit of giving? I’m over what it does to hard working people like my momma and the lady behind the counter.
I’m over the secularized version of Christmas. Over. it. Don’t do it. Don’t buy into it. Don’t let your kids buy into it.
If your Christmas has become anything other than the celebration of the birth of Christ, please, please, redirect it. I’m not saying, “don’t buy gifts”. I’m saying, “don’t buy into the pressure of meeting the standards of what the world has made Christmas”.
It’s free.

The Morning After

Naturally, we congregated and there we sat, the morning after, still in a daze.

Confused.

Shocked.

Remembering.

Grief etched on our faces and heard in every word spoken.

God?

It’s hard to see You through this pain, this grief, this wailing wall,

this interim.

This interim of time between grief and heaven.

Because we all feel it, right? At some point or another, we are in that time. That time of in-between.

Remember in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John the day after Jesus dies on the cross?

In Matthew, it just says that the priests (the same priests that yelled “CRUCIFY”) went to Pilot to have the tomb where He lay, sealed and guarded.

That’s the only account of the in-between Jesus dying for you and the resurrected Jesus to give you life more abundantly.

What did the disciples do?

Well, we know they congregated, because on the third day, resurrected Jesus was among them.

I bet they were the same as us: dazed, confused, shocked, grief-stricken, wailing, hopeless.

Remembering.

Questioning.

Still following, but maybe struggling with the follow.

Waiting.

Waiting for the in-between to be over.

One of my most favorite verses in the Bible: “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not grow weary, they shall walk and not faint” Isaiah 40:31.

Some versions use the word “trust” instead of “wait”.

They that trust.

They that trust in the in-between, shall renew their strength.

So, whatever you’re in-between…

Sickness.

Deployment.

Terrible twos.

Marriage woes.

Divorce.

Finances.

Grief.

Trust Him.

Wait for Him.

Hope in Him.

Sometimes it’ll be hard.

But, keep on keepin’ on.

Because you know what?

On the third day…

He rose.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On a Friday Afternoon…

“He’s a Christian”. Those words aren’t spoken very often from my husband when describing new members of his company. That uncommon phrase immediately piqued my interest about this new member, so I inquired further and found out that this man was married with kids, where they came from, and what job he had.

The military loves social functions, so it didn’t take long for me to meet this man and his family.

His wife and I hit it off immediately.

We found it easy to talk to one another. Her family and my family share the same morals, goals, and priorities.

And not very long into our relationship, we decided to become best friends. Yes, we literally discussed it. She was having issues with her best friend at the exact time I was having issues with mine and she said (jokingly, but seriously) “Let’s just be best friends” and I laughed and said “YES”! 🙂 And then we were—still makes me smile.

Our friendship is easy—as friendships should be. We don’t have to talk everyday. We don’t have to see each other all the time. There’s no pressure in our relationship, but when we do get together, we pick up where we left off. Conveniently, our husbands feel the same way about each other.

I attribute our friendship with helping my marriage. Why? Because their marriage is so solid and they face many of the same issues we face as a military family. They embrace their military lifestyle and meet issues head on with God at the center. I attribute our friendship with helping our family dynamics. Why? Because they have MANY children and we only have two and I find myself freaking out about the smallest thing—but they build their children up and allow them to be who they are without trying to conform them and it is beautiful to us and a wonderful example of how a family should work. We admire them.

She has inspired me in many ways: to start a Bible study, to write, to be confident, to treat my man with respect and to create a safe place in our home.

We love each other. For. Real.

Their last child is named after me and recently, we were standing in my front yard, all talking, and we made retirement plans to all stay together after this military gig is over for us.

But on a Friday afternoon, only a week after planning our future, my phone rang:

Me: Hello!

Her: Lila, I need you to come to my house, right now. He’s gone.

Me: I’m on my way, but what do you mean, he’s gone?

Her: They are here, in suits, telling me that he’s gone.

Her man, her soulmate, her husband, literally plucked from this earth in his prime.

Just like that.

Gone.

Jesus help me.

Even now, a few weeks later, there are still no words.

What do you say to your best friend, who has been your voice of reason and comfort so many times when her husband is gone?

Nothing. You say nothing.

It’s not okay.

There are no words for grief like that.

None.

There’s no comfort you can offer.

None.

You’re just there. You listen and you pray. You pray hard.

With eyes clinched tight and a voice that shook, I heard her say: “God, please take this cup from me”.

Jesus.

When there were no words, there were groans—grieving groans that wrench the soul.

Holy Spirit come.

Grief is a cruel, cruel thing.

But, God.

He heals the brokenhearted, binding up their wounds.

He defends and sustains them.

He hears their cry.

He restores them, making them strong, firm, and steadfast.

God is good.

One day, my friend will share her testimony…giving praise to His name.

He has a plan.

Praise God!

Please, intercede.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The day I was healed…

I had been suffering for about three years.

I would have some good days, but the bad days outweighed the good, making it hard to function regularly in society.

I had an issue, but it wasn’t something I could be open about.

Luckily (or not), my issue had symptoms that would mimic other issues…and after a few trips to the emergency room, I finally learned what I had.

I had to hide it though, mainly because attached to this issue are stigmas that follow you the rest of your life.

I’d like to take a time out right here and thank society (in my sarcastic font) for that. 

My symptoms were this:

rapid heartbeat, accompanied by palpitations

left arm would go numb

shortness of breath

chest pain

trembling all over my body, but mainly my legs

All the signs of a heart attack, but seeing as to how I was only 16, there were some questions.

My mental symptoms:

I felt like I was dying and dying was all I could think about.

I only thought about all the bad things that could happen to me or a family member throughout the day.

That first attack changed the course of my life forever.

Trying not to die became the focus of my life.

I would think “if I can make it to next Friday’s big event…”

Fear ruled my world.

And distraction became the king.

I would calculate the risk of everything I did, to include basic, everyday tasks.

Normal 16-year-old stuff, I didn’t do.

I was too scared.

Medication was out of the question as my momma was sure that I would get addicted.

Counseling was not an option either because I’d be seen going into the “crazy center”.

So, there I was, 16–dealing with shit I had no idea how to deal with.

I learned a little trick though: if I could get my mind focused on a movie/relationship/book/anything, my panic would subside long enough to fall asleep.

And I dared not to pray, that made me even more fearful.

The first time I had an attack, I went downstairs to get my mom up, because I was positive I was dying. Her response: well, are you scared you’ll go to hell?

Um, no.

I’m scared that I’m dying.

Anyway, fear ruled my world for three years.

During that time, I was in the most unhealthy, abusive relationship ever as it served the purpose of distraction for me.

I spent over 1000 days like this.

My favorite story in the Bible: the woman with the issue of blood.

Why? Because I was her.

So there I sat, in the middle of fear, stuck in a religion that would have condemned me further had I even admitted what was going on, all alone and too afraid to turn to Him.

No one noticed.

No one noticed that I couldn’t be alone.

No one noticed the bags under my eyes from lack of sleep.

No one noticed the weight loss.

No one noticed the blank stares.

But, one day, in a last ditch effort to get me back on the path of righteousness, my momma took me to some conference in Missouri.

I have no idea what the conference was about nor do I know who was speaking (although I think it was Kay Arthur or Beth Moore).

That’s not the point though.

We went to this conference that I remember nothing about with five other women from a different church.

There was this woman there:

Her name was Pat.

She looked like a “Pat” too. She was shorter, with short strawberry blonde hair.

She didn’t know me and I didn’t know her.

I was miserable that trip and it all came to a head on the third night.

I had  skipped the big meeting at 6 because I was in full on panic attack mode.

It was worse than the first one I had.

I couldn’t calm down, my thoughts raced along with my heart.

So I decided to go find my mom and make her take me to the emergency room.

My trembling subsided as I looked for her, because I knew we’d be going soon to the place that would assure me everything was okay.

But I met them all in the hallway and out of the clear blue, Pat looked at me and said “God told me to pray for you.”

Huh?

I’ve done been prayed for Lady.

I just looked at her like she was crazy.

But, I thought “hey, why not?–It can’t get any worse. And Lord knows I’m tired of this. And why not me?”

So I let her.

I let her, because I was done.

I was emotionally spent.

I was desperate.

I was the woman breaking through the crowd trying to touch the hem of his robe.

I was broken and through all the mess, I still had enough sense in me to know who my healer was.

I don’t remember what she said.

I didn’t see angels or feel a tingle.

I didn’t fall out.

I didn’t even cry.

She prayed and that was it.

And then I waited.

By then, I thought my distraction had payed off.

And I waited.

It didn’t happen.

No trembling.

No thoughts.

No fear.

No palpitations.

No nausea.

Nothing.

Could it be?

Healed?

Totally healed.

And I knew it.

AND PRAISE THE LORD!!!

Shame has kept me from telling this story for many years, not because of what He done, but because of what I went through.

Mental illness sucks.

There’s hope for the hopeless, though.

And I’m living proof.

Jehovah Rapha, the God that heals.

In Him, I am whole.

Amen.

Jesus and the Septic Tank

There is a source of stress that comes with owning my home that causes me a butt load of stress and worry, time and energy, and money. 

It is my septic tank. 

I hate it. 

With every fiber of my being. 

For. Real. 

It steals my joy. 

I worry about it everyday. 

Will it fill up today? 

Will it back up? 

Am I going to be $300 less today? 

When overnight guests are here, I worry that their shower is too long or that their flushing habits are a little too much (gross, I know). 

I am a water saver. 

Every appliance, toilet, and faucet are also water savers. 

I do not have a “laundry day”, I have a “one load per day” policy. 

Showers aren’t enjoyed, they are spent listening for the toilet to bubble. 

I’m over it. 

I’ve been over it. 

I deal with it by myself…always. 

I have spent MUCHO BUCKS to have it fixed…to no avail. 

It’s not the tank, it’s the land. 

But that’s not the point of this post… 

I recently wrote a post about “the one”–not a very uplifting post either…

Well, “the one” called me last Thursday night and told me they would be passing through town this weekend, so they wanted to stop by. Of course I’m not going to say “no”, because #1 I love him and #2 he’s a pretty great guy when no one else is around. 

But, I was still filled with dread. 

Completely filled. 

I prayed “Lord, help us to be a light. Let there be peace”. 

Still dread. 

“Lord, help me to have a better attitude”. 

Still dread. 

Negative words were spoken and thought. 

And Friday, he came. We made it through the night without incident. 

Zero eggshells were broken during that time:) 

And then Saturday, shit hit the fan…

literally. 

It poured rain all night Friday and half the day Saturday. 

The septic, well it couldn’t handle the pressure as it’s been freaking raining here for two years straight (feels that way, anyway). 

So, here I am plagued with what to do when “the one” gets up and says “what’s going on?”. 

I tearfully explain. 

He gets up, puts his boots on, and goes to work. 

Did I mention that “the one” is a general contractor? 

He’s digging, calling out orders, has people on the phone, and works from sun up till sun down. 

And now it’s fixed and he saved me a ton of money that I didn’t have to begin with. 

And here I type, humbled by the blessing he turned out to be when I was so dread filled. 

Coincidence that my brother in law was here at the time my septic decided to lose it? 

I think not, people. 

I think not. 

God is good. 

 

Interceding.

If you’ve ever been exposed to anything Biblically related, you’ve heard that word before…

this verb, this action, this type of praying…

Being a military wife leads me to this action quite often, more often than not—strictly for my husband…especially when we are “geographically separated”. 

But, I find myself meeting people from all walks of life that also need intercession. 

And it starts with a single random thought…

maybe it’s a person I haven’t thought about in a long while…

maybe it’s someone that just randomly, for no apparent reason, pops up into my mind…

which is actually not random at all, but God placing that person into my mind, so the interceding will begin.

I use to not recognize this event, but have become more aware of it, maybe with age, maybe with a heart breaking for the lost, or maybe a sensitivity to the spirit that has developed along with my relationship with Him. 

I recently came across this pin: 

Image

 

and I thought to myself “but what if no one they know, knows Jesus”? 

And then a single face popped into my mind…

My friend. 

My friend, who is unsaved. 

My friend, who is one of the sweetest people I have ever met. 

My friend, who is hurting. 

My friend, diagnosis: multiple sclerosis. 

My friend, who was dumped by her husband after he was found cheating, even though she wanted to work it out.

My friend, who was raised by atheists. 

My friend, the atheist. 

My friend, whom I love. 

My friend, that I intercede for. 

In Luke, we find Simon Peter telling Jesus that he would never leave his side and Jesus looks at him and says “before the cock crows, you will have denied me three times“…”but I have PLEADED in prayer for you. Jesus is pleading in prayer for Peter even though He knows He’s about to betray him! 

And guess what? He does the same thing for YOU! 

Romans 8:34 “Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died–more than that, who was raised to life–is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us”. 

Jesus is interceding for you, His child. 

He loves you. 

He’s on your side. 

I want to encourage you to try this: if a random person, event, whatever, pops into your mind, say a prayer. That randomness is not random at all. 

Start interceding. 

And now, if you have made it to the end of this post, I have a favor to ask: 

I’m praying for a miracle for my lost friend. 

I’m praying for her to be found:) 

So, I am asking you to call out her name in prayer…

KYLIE! 

 

 

Waiting

Waiting is the hardest part of being a military wife.

We are constantly in a state of wait.

Waiting…

on our husband to come home…

on results of a promotion board…

on a graduation…

on orders…

on movers…

on retirement…

on housing to become available…

on results…

on training to be over…

on decisions to be made…

on a freakin referral from tricare because you’ve been sick for a month…

on something…always.

Waiting sometimes gets in my way of trusting.

Waiting causes me to “what if” 5,000 different scenarios, that run through my head.

What if…

I just trust in God to take us to the next place?

I just trust God to bring my husband home safely?

I just trust God to move us where he wants us planted?

I just trust God to lead my husband while my husband leads our family?

What if I just prayed through the waiting periods that often plague our military life?

Life would be much easier:)

Choose to trust in these times of waiting.

Choose to pray, always.

The best part of waiting: when HE shows up!