Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Why Robin Williams' Death Hurts So Much

My heart hurts.

Bear with me as I try to get through writing what's in there.

I never met Robin Williams, never had the pleasure of working with him, never even saw him anywhere but on a movie screen.

Yet his life mattered to me.

He had the great privilege of going to the school I so wanted to attend and had been invited to audition for, The Julliard School. Thus, I followed his work closely for many years.

Anytime someone would ask me who I thought the best actors alive were, he was always at the very top of my list. He always will be.

Watching him in film taught me so much as an actress. 

His timing was impeccable.                 
His improvisational skills unbelievable. 
His ability to read an audience, uncanny.

Even after I became a Christian in 1999 and my taste in movie content and comedy changed, I was always excited when I learned of a movie he'd be starring in that I felt I could watch without compromising what I now wanted to have filling my mind.

But here's the part that has made me so sad about his death.

I personally understand his despair all too well.

I know what it is to just want out, to feel like no one would care if I were gone, to truly believe somewhere deep in my heart that death by my own hands would mean freedom.

Shortly after my husband and I were married, I found a journal that I had kept from the time I was 14-29 and had written in once or twice each year. At the time that I found it, I was a brand new Christian. That information matters for the context of the rest of what I'm going to share.

After finding the journal I asked my husband if I could read to him from it...thinking this discovery was going to be some fun and silly way to share who I had been as a young teenager and younger woman.

As I started reading it to him, I was absolutely dumbfounded as page after page I found that everything written in it was about suicide. 

Everything.

Every. Single. Post.

Over FIFTEEN years!

But there I sat,  reading this journal with new eyes...as a new creation in Christ Jesus, and for the first time ever I could see and understand the total bondage that I had been in for decades.

Please don't read more into what I'm saying here than what I've written.

I don't know what was in Robin's heart and mind. I don't know what his state was before the Lord, and I won't even entertain comments about that.

All I'm saying is that I personally understand the total despair that someone feels and believes when they buy the lie that their life has no value. 

And the thought that someone whose genius I so respect, someone I had come to care about over years of learning from him in the acting arena...the thought that Robin Williams hurt as deeply as I had, and felt as hopeless as I once did, truly crushes my heart.

Suicide was my plan out of the very painful life that I lived for many years. Years of more messed up, sick stuff than I have the time or energy to share with you. 

While I never attempted it, I KNEW what my plan was...and in my mind it was foolproof.

That night as I read my journal to my new husband, my journal so full of such deep heartache , I suddenly got up, went into our garage, and lit every single page of it on fire.




I have had 8 friends take their lives. 

EIGHT.



One was a woman in her 60s who had been a Christian mentor to my mother.
One was my college boyfriend.
One was the first person to befriend me at my new High School when I was a Senior.
One was his best friend, and a friend of mine. Such a neat guy!
One was a very dear friend of mine who was like a brother to me in my late 20s. I wrote about him previously here.


It never gets easier to handle the pain of losing someone to suicide. 
The questions that swirl in our minds. 
The range of emotions from rage to total brokenness.
The desperate wishing that we had known just how dark their world was, and how much we wish they'd have reached out to us, or that we'd have known to reach in.

No doubt there are countless people in Robin's life who are walking through the above feelings right now.

Won't you please pray for them? 

Pray earnestly. Pray on your face. Pray with compassion.

Losing someone to suicide is one of the most helpless feelings in the world.

I dare say, as helpless and hopeless as the person who made the decision to commit it likely felt.

If you have come to this page because you're battling thoughts of suicide, please...hear my heart.

That is not God's plan for you! You were created to give glory to His name, and to have fellowship with Him through His Son Jesus Christ.

Jesus broke those bonds in my life, and He wants so much to do the same for you.

Satan wants you to believe that no one would care. 
That no one would likely even show up for your funeral. 
That your family and friends would be better off without you. 
That you don't even have family and friends that would miss you.

Every single one of those is a lie from the pit of hell.

Robin Williams was a total stranger to me, as are his friends and his family members.         Yet, even as I write this tears are streaming from my eyes.

His life mattered! 

To them. 
To God. 
Even to me...a complete stranger.

My guess is that it mattered to you, too.

Please, I beg of you from the bottom of my heart. If you're contemplating taking your life, reach out to someone right now.

I think of the horror stories of the loved ones of my friends who committed suicide...from the father who found his son two weeks afterward on Father's Day, to the brother who got a random phone call from some man on an Indian reservation in the middle of nowhere explaining that he'd found my friend Paul in his truck after a week of being there.

I think of my own precious brother who came home from college one weekend and took me on a bike ride and poured his heart out to me because my mother had found my journal...my precious brother who saved my life that night through his tears.

I didn't know how to reach out, but he knew how to reach in.

And his tears touched my heart enough to let me know that someone would care if I were gone.

Dear reader, please don't pass judgement on that which you don't understand. 

Instead..PRAY for the Williams family and their countless friends.

Reach in to the one you know needs someone to care about them.
Reach out, even if it means calling an anonymous suicide hotline.

Look up. Jesus cares more than you can ever imagine, and He desires that you be set free.

In His Love,
Jes












Sunday, July 20, 2014

Your Husband's Porn Addiction Likely Started Way Before You Met Him - Finding Compassion

Ladies,

Are you a parent? 
Any chance you have a son?

I want you to imagine with me for a minute that your son is exposed to pornography at the ripe age of 7. 
Perhaps 11.
Maybe he's lucky and doesn't see it until he's 14.

Would ANY of those ages be acceptable to you as a mom?

If you can answer yes to that question, there's no way you'll agree with the rest of this post, but I hope and pray you'll keep reading it anyway.

Every letter is written to a specific audience, and this post is written to Christian women, so please read it in that context.

Some research shows that 99% of men will have been exposed to pornography at some point in their lives. I find that hard to believe. I think it's more like 100%.

My son was first exposed in a thrift store/swap shop in the town in which I live. We were just strolling through looking for home furnishings and there on the wall was a photo of a woman from the 40s, laying completely naked at his eye level.

Some men see pornography a time or two in their lives and it never grabs control of them.

In my experience of counselling women, these men are in the minority.

So why am I writing about this? 

The past two weeks have been intense weeks of ministry for me. I've been confronted afresh on several levels by the ramifications of sexual sin and how it affects women and families.

I have wept with these ladies, prayed with them, pointed them to the Word of God, exhorted them to stand in the gap for their husbands, and hurt with them over their heartache and the betrayal that they feel.

Please hear my heart...I will never condone something that God says is sin. I simply want to help you hurting wives process through this heinous battle against sexual sin that your husband may be fighting.

I know one woman whose husband was first exposed when he was in the second grade...by his brother, who purposefully showed it to him and then said, "Now that you've seen it, you can't tell anyone."

I know another whose husband went to visit his grandparents on his mother's side shortly after his parents were divorced, and while there found two ARMOIRES full of pornographic magazines.

He was just entering puberty at the time, his father had previous issues with pornography which in part broke his mother to the point of leaving, and there he sat without a mother to care for him or a father to set a Godly example of following Christ in sexual purity.

And guess who welcomed him into her bosom for false comfort?

The woman on the glossy pages.

What I want you to KNOW, hurting wife, is that your husband's pornography issues most likely started way before you met him. 
(I know people call it addiction, and perhaps it is, but one can be addicted to any sin.)

If you step back from your pain for a minute and picture him as a little boy, or a teenager - and realize THAT was the moment when Satan barraged him with missles from Hell, does that help you find compassion for him and a willingness to stand in the gap for him and help him heal?

Let me give you a more personal expamle of finding compassion and walking in it when one didn't really have to.

Many years ago my husband came home from work and we were having our fifteen minute debrief together while he was changing out of his work clothes. When it came time to take his belt off, he unbuckled it and lifted his arm high in the air to pull it quickly out of his pant loops.

INSTANTANEOUSLY I broke down weeping.

Seeing that belt lifted high in the air when he was standing up and I was sitting down at a much lower level, brought back memories from my childhood that were deeply rooted in my soul. 

To this day, my precious husband only removes his belt in a sideways manner. It takes him much longer to get it off, but he found COMPASSION for me. Based upon things that happened to me in my childhood, there are other more intimate considerations that my sweetheart makes for me...and every one of them requires a sacrifice on his part.

What about you, wife?

Are you willing to sacrifice and put on a heart of compassion in order to be used of God to help your husband heal?

I have another question for you to consider...

Were you ever exposed to pornography prior to your marriage?

I know I was. Growing up in the piney woods of Texas, those woods were my place of refuge. I would spend HOURS playing by myself. The first exposure I remember was in a fort that I had built that some older boys had obviously found one night. The beer cans and the magazines were my evidence.

That didn't become a stronghold for me that stayed with me into adulthood, but young men are wired differently. As we know, they are generally visually stimulated more than women are.

This is one reason that we mothers of young girls need to be DISCERNING in what we allow them to wear.

Do you REALLY want some teenager, or some MAN, looking at your daughter like 68% of men in church look at the women on the pages of their pornographic magazines and websites?

Do you not realize that men have visual triggers? 

I know your daughter looks beautiful in her string bikini...but WHY, OH WHY are you teaching her that parading her body around at the swimming pool is the way to find her value?!

Do you not realize that's what you're telling her when you allow that?!

I've witnessed Christian young men at public swimming pools DESPERATELY looking for a safe place to let their eyes land. 

Christian Mommas, I implore you...WAKE UP!!!!!!!!

My son and I have an agreement. When we go to the community pool, if we get there and he feels that the visual struggle is too strong for him to be able to keep his thought life pure, all he has to say to me is "Mom, we need to go."

That's it, and we're gone. I don't care if it's taken me an hour to get out the door. 

I am willing to sacrifice all I need to in order to give my son the greatest opportunity for spiritual purity.

As moms and as wives, we need to be a harbor in the storm for our sons and husbands. We need to create an atmosphere of openness in our homes, so that they can be honest with us about how we can help to protect their hearts.

If you're aware that your husband is fighting a battle with pornography, I BEG you to be a safe place for him to be transparent. You may not want to know every single detail, so use wisdom in the questions that you ask him.

However, you cannot heal if you will not DEAL.

Your man can't heal if you refuse to DEAL.

Sweeping the sin of pornography under the rug and acting like it hasn't invaded your home would be as foolish as doing the same with alcoholism, crack addiction, or tax evasion.

Your marriage will have no hope of healing if you choose to ignore the sin.

There are some friends that stick closer than a brother when it comes to pornography, especially with the Christian man...they are:

Emascuation - Satan's lie is that looking at this garbage is going to make them more manly. It does JUST the opposite. 

Lying - This one needs no explanation. Just know this...getting to the root of sexual sin is like peeling an onion. There's almost ALWAYS more to the story than what you're told at first.
I have lost count of the number of women who have told me that their husbands confessed to them that they'd kissed another woman. I'm sure there are times when that's the truth...but sadly, they haven't been the majority in my experience of working with hurting wives. 
Why is a man going to step into the waters of adultery and once in, stop at kissing? 
If you want to see your husband healed, don't be naive, and be willing to ask the hard questions and give him a safe place to be honest.

Anger - Yep, it's almost always there. Sometimes it's passive aggressive, but it's there.

Manipulation - It comes in many forms.

Blaming - Your husband's choice for sexual sin is NOT YOUR FAULT!

Reason that out with me...

If he was exposed to pornography and sexual sin prior to meeting you, how is it your fault if he has chosen to continue in it? Don't accept the blame for his sin.

Again, I want to use a personal example. When my pastor uses personal stories to illustrate his messages, I always "get" them.

Before I was a Believer, I cursed like a sailor. I'm not kidding you when I tell you I could cuss in full paragraphs without taking a breath. Cursing wasn't considered a sin in my home growing up...I never heard an apology for the filth that was spewed at any given moment. Cursing was just how anger was to be handled.

I'd love to tell you (OH, how I'd love to tell you!) that the moment I was saved Jesus took away any desire to ever curse in anger again. He took SO much away the instant I was saved, but not cussing. 

I have to daily depend upon Christ, daily turn to Him when I'm angry and beg for His help not to fling out a doozie.

Let me be clear on this... I HATE THIS SIN!!! I HATE IT!

Yet I have to BATTLE it, and I don't always win...because sometimes I choose to walk in my flesh instead of by the Spirit.

Ugh. Just sharing that with you makes me want to PUKE!

So with that information, let's go back to your husband.

He's in a battle. 

What would you be doing for him if he had signed up to serve our country on the front lines?

Wouldn't you be PRAYING for him?
Wouldn't you STAND IN THE GAP while he was away serving?
Wouldn't you BEG GOD to give him victory, to protect him, to keep him safe?

Ladies, please do that for your husband if he is in the spiritual battle against sexual sin.

I promise you, a plan won't fix him. 
A 12 step program won't give him freedom. 
And, I hope you take great comfort in this truth....YOU CAN'T FIX HIM, either!

Sexual sin requires heart surgery for the Christian man, and a heart transplant for the man who isn't in Christ. (He needs a NEW heart...the one promised to us through the New Covenant.)

Please, I beg of you...

Don't punish him. Set boundaries that are healthy and God honoring, but don't become his judge.

Be wise in whom you seek counsel from. "Christian" counselors who never open the Bible are a dime a dozen, and you'll find someone at every turn who will tell you to pack up and leave him.

Realize that if 100% of men have been exposed to pornography at some point in their lives, leaving your current husband in hope of a better draw next time isn't always the answer.

That being said, there are many who will tell you that because he hasn't committed physical adultery, you have no Biblical right to divorce. I couldn't disagree more. (See Matthew 5) 

But, as Christians we don't live by our rights...we live by that which gives the most glory to God. Is God going to be more glorified if you stay and forgive, and fight, and beg The Lord to give you a testimony out of your heartache that will help other families heal and stay together, or is He going to be more glorified if you pack and leave?

STAND in the TRUTH that The Lord wants your husband, you, your marriage, and your family spiritually healed. 

My hope and prayer is that this will happen for you WHILE you're still married, but if your husband refuses to bow his knee before the King of Kings and he chooses his sin over Christ, you have to KNOW that God is sovereign even over that. He will comfort, protect, and guide you should you find yourself a widow to sexual sin. 

He will also give you a testimony out of your heartache that He will use to minister to other women.

KEEP YOUR EYES ON JESUS!

Much love to you,
Jes



Friday, June 06, 2014

Please Don't Try To Emasculate My Men...And Ladies, Don't Allow Women to Do It To Yours!

It happens daily.

The emasculation of American men by women.

Some women do it to their own men.

Some are brazen enough to try it with men who belong to other women.

I'm going to climb up on my soap box for a minute. It won't be long, but I do hope it will get the point across.

I am (gleefully!) a woman under submission

I am crazy, madly in love with my husband. I consider the privilege of submitting to him as my leader one of God's greatest gifts in my life.

Submission in the Greek is a military term which simply means to place oneself under one's rightful authority.

Is my husband my authority?

You can BET YOUR BIPPY he is! 

Scripture tells me that when I submit to him, I'm doing it as unto the Lord Himself.

Here's where the real beauty comes in, though...my husband loves me in a way that I truly never knew ANYONE ever could, or would love me.

He loves me to a degree that I never dreamt I would be worthy of.

He serves me in love. 
He speaks to me in love. 
He considers me in love.

He treats me as the weaker vessel, in love.

He is also AMAZING at helping me set healthy boundaries for myself, and sometimes he just SETS THEM FOR ME!

So when my husband sets a boundary for me, his wife...within his rightful role as the head of his household and another woman tries to blow right through it...we have an issue.

A BIG ONE!

And if your husband sets a boundary for you and another woman completely dismisses it, you should see that as a big issue too...and defer always to your husband's leadership.

When my husband, who leads an entire office of brilliant men and one very amazing woman, is treated by any other woman within MY sphere of contacts like he needs to bow and beg their permission...we have on our hands a MAJOR PROBLEM!

Ladies, please...hear my heart. 

DO NOT stand for another woman handing your husband his manhood on their clipboard!

If you find yourself in a group where the men have been relegated to floor sweeps and are not welcomed as respected contributing members, run for the door!

That is not a group that is set up according to Biblical principles. 

Period.

And unfortunately this mindset can be rampant in the homeschooling world.

Before I step down from my soap box, I have to add one more thing.

We emasculate our YOUNG men in this country every single time that we treat a teenager like he's a boy and not a young man.

Our son will be 14 soon. He's not a boy anymore. He's a man!

If we were Israelis, he'd be just 2 years away from being conscripted into the army.

By the time he was a teenager, Brother Andrew was sneaking around his town filling Nazi gas tanks with sugar in order to protect his village from their impending infiltration.

Benjamin Franklin was an apprentice learning a trade by the time he was 12.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was being trained by his father to not just rattle his lips at the dinner table, but to fully develop his thoughts before he allowed them to escape his mouth. Is it any wonder that            at age 28 he was equipped to break away from the Reich Church to start the Confessing Church in Germany and parts of Europe?! 

And he did so against the advice of several of his mentors, because he could discern the situation of the day and KNEW what action was needed.

He knew that any church that denied the Jewish people, ceased to be a church.

Praise GOD that his father hadn't waited until he was 20 to train him to be, and treat him as a man!

I'm SICK of the mentality in our country that believes that our 13 year old sons are still children.

They're NOT!

Or at least, they're not supposed to be.

Did you know that Daniel was 15 when he was taken into captivity in Babylon? Remember him...he stood for truth and righteousness among pagans...and I've heard the silly argument that says he was schooled in all the ways of the Babylonians, therefore he was mature and wise.

That's garbage!

He had FIFTEEN YEARS of training in the Law of the LORD!

And Daniel 1:17 makes it clear that God gave Daniel and his three friends "...knowledge and intelligence in every branch of literature and wisdom..."

Daniel 1:4 has a time reference that is key. It lets us know that these young men showed intelligence in every branch of wisdom, were endowed with understanding and discerning of knowledge, and had ability for serving in the king's court...AND THEN they were taught the literature and language of the Chaldeans.

See, their training in truth and wisdom came from God's Word, which they'd had poured into them for 15 years! It DID NOT come from the Babylonians!

Job 28:28 tells us that God Himself said "...the fear of the LORD is widsom, and to depart from evil is understanding."

It was God's WORD that grew Daniel into the MAN that he was at 15! 

Do I want my son to have fun and enjoy the next years while he's still under our roof?

Without a doubt, I do!

But I'll tell you this...our amazing young man would lay his life down in a hot minute for me or his sister. He wouldn't come running up to me in fear, hiding behind me trying to figure out what to do if danger threatened.

He would do what a MAN would do!
He would defend! 
He would fight to protect us! 

And when the lies of the world come hurling at him, he stands for TRUTH!

He's not afraid to call sin, sin.

He is compassionate, and gracious, but he is very black and white about what is Godly and was is not, and I love that about him. 

Is he perfect?

No. He comes from two very imperfect parents, so I suppose imperfection is in his genes.

Is he manly? 

Absolutely!

Is he still learning?

No doubt.

Does he make his Momma and Dad so very proud to call him ours?

With all of our hearts.

We dearly love our young MAN!

Ladies, I pray this post will be a beacon call to all of us.

NO woman should ever have the right to emasculate our husbands or our sons. None!

And we better make sure we don't ever do it ourselves.

Let's let our speech and actions toward our husbands be edifying, encouraging, respectful, appreciative, and God honoring.

Come to think of it, let's apply the same toward our young MEN.

Much love to you tonight,
Jes


It seems like yesterday that Caedmon was the little baby on the floor...now he's 5'9" and solid muscle!
Caedmon's Godly example, my beloved husband. 

Caedmon at TeenPact Tennessee in February.

I'm proud to say that he wrote a resolution in favor of Medical Marijuana, and it passed 8-5. 

OK, so in truth....I was pretty much in shock when he told me what his resolution was, but truly was impressed with the research he used and argued in front of an ultra conservative group...well enough so that his resolution was passed!

Now we just need to send him before the TN State Legislature to speak on the topic! :)










Thursday, June 05, 2014

My 5 Year Long Health Journey from Wizard to Warrior

My doctor is amazing.

The first time I met him he sat back in his chair, smiled and said, "You're a warrior."

I asked him to elaborate and he explained that another doctor friend of his says that there are two types of patients...warriors and wizards.

I understood the warrior part, but needed explanation on the wizard, to which he said something along the lines of, "Oh, those are the ones who want ME to fix them. They don't take any personal responsibility. They're just looking for the magic pill."

I understand wizard patients. I was one for many years.

Many of you have asked for information on how to treat MS and other auto-immune diseases through diet, lifestyle changes, and supplements.

This post (and perhaps a few to follow) will be my personal testimony to the above.

It's likely going to be a long read, as there's much to share...so grab a cup of tea and pull up a chair.
Or, print it out and save it to read when you have time.

Here we go...

After the birth of my daughter, I never lost the baby weight. I also didn't eat well for many years. I tipped the scales at 192 pounds, which is quite a bit for someone who only hits 5'5" if I'm in traction!

I'd wake every morning wondering how quickly I could get downstairs to guzzle 1/2 of my 2 liter of Coca-Cola to start my day. As soon as breakfast was over, I'd be planning what I was going to eat for lunch. As soon as lunch was over, I was wondering what dinner would be.

At the time, we lived in a master planned community and my kiddos were little. We spent countless hours at the pocket parks in our neighborhood and my husband would often drive straight from work to meet us at the park. Then we'd all pile into the van and head to Denny's, or the Mexican food restaurant, or Subway for dinner.

Fried chips. Fried fish tacos. French fries. 

Fried.
Fried.
Fried!

I didn't KNOW...I had NO idea what those horrible oils were doing to my brain and to my cells.

I didn't know that the optimum ratio for Omega 3s to Omega 6s in a cell is 1:2, and that my diet was so creating an horrific imbalance of 1:50!!

One day a friend of mine and I were talking about the prevalence of adultery in our churches, and she shared that she had been really thinking about the sin of gluttony...and seeking God about it in her own life.

God used her words to PIERCE my heart about the sin in my own life. I was drowning in gluttony! 

That night I cried out to God and confessed my sin, and asked Him to please give me an undying hunger for His Word. I told Him that I wanted to wake in the mornings thinking about dining on Scripture, and I wanted my last thoughts at night to be a longing for His Word as well.

He so graciously answered that prayer and within no time, and truly by no doing of my own, I had dropped 20 pounds. 

When people would ask me how I'd lost the weight, I always told the truth...that I confessed gluttony in all sincerity, and God in His lovingkindness removed 20 pounds and changed my cravings.

It always amazed me that even after hearing those words, people would inevitably say, "But you had to be obedient. Good for YOU!"

Bless their hearts, they either just didn't GET it, or didn't WANT to get it.

In 2005 I had a surgical hysterectomy that took FOREVER to heal from.
In 2007 I had sinus surgery that took TWO FOREVERS to heal from.

I truly didn't heal from the sinus surgery. It was terrible! 

In 2008 I got terribly sick with what we thought was the flu, but we never did get a clear diagnosis. We flew to Denver to visit my brother and his family that summer, and the higher we went into the mountains, the sicker I got.

We returned home at the end of July and I was sick ALL. SUMMER. LONG!

I took antibiotic after antibiotic and nothing helped. Finally, I was put onto Levaquin and within a day I took myself off it because the side effects were so heinous.

The very next day, Shane packed me into the car and we drove to the ER because we thought I was having a heart attack. I didn't THINK I was dying, I KNEW I was!

The whole way to the ER, I was telling Shane through my tears what to look for in his next wife. I was begging him to make sure that she was totally in love with Jesus, and that she'd be a tender and sweet Mommy to our babies.

I didn't know it then, but I do now. What I had was a terrible reaction to Levaquin. 

ALL of our medical files now say, "NO QUINOLONES!"

If you want to know more about how horrid these drugs can be,  just do a Google search on them...or Google the word "Floxing."

From that point, around September 2008 through June 2009 when I was diagnosed with MS, I saw a Naturopath and just tried to get healthy...but I felt HORRID!

(To be continued. My Sweetheart is ready to hang out with me!)






Friday, May 23, 2014

Babes of the Broken, What GIFTS!

What I learned from the Word Today (which was long ago written on my heart)...

All of those precepts that God writes on our hearts as we study His Word, at some point He will allow us to learn experientially because He will have us walk through them.

And He doesn't waste ONE BIT of our pain and suffering when our sole focus is on Him being glorified in and through us.

Total surrender requires us to go so much deeper than we ever thought it did.

Last night, I was so brokenhearted. There are not words to express to you how broken I was.

In 15 years of marriage, through countless fires of hell, my husband has not ever seen me that broken.

I was weeping so hard that I couldn't catch my breath.

My precious children heard me and came running to me.

As I laid down on our guest bed in a pool of tears, my children...one almost a man, one a tender hearted young woman now, laid down on either side of me and PRAYED THE WORD over me!

One laid on my right side, cuddled up as close as she could be. The other on my left, lovingly rubbing my arm as he prayed.

My son, I truly believe, has the spiritual gift of discernment...and to be bathed in the words of his prayer as he NAILED EVERY SINGLE THING that I'm battling right now, literally left me dumbfounded.

And my sweet girl...my precious, tender-hearted daughter...oh, how her loving words to our Father soothed the deep aches in my heart and helped me find my breath again.

All that TRUTH that God has used me to pour into them since they were wee little ones (you can go back to 2006 or so on this blog to read about our times together in the Word when they were young), came pouring back out as the Holy Spirit ministered to me through my children.

IT. WAS. AWESOME!

Then they went to their beds and I stayed awake with the Word, and God brought me to an even deeper place of surrender.

It likely won't make sense to many of you...but that doesn't change the truth.

He showed me through His Word that I have to put EVERYTHING and EVERYONE on the altar before Him.

Every gift in my life is from HIM...they cannot become idols to me.

None of them!

So up they went on the altar in prayer...

My children.
My husband.
My reputation.
My friends.
My acting.
My training students.
My everything.

All I could do was pray through my tears, "LORD, it's all yours. Whatever You choose to do, just please, please, please don't let me doubt you. Don't let my faith fail. Don't let me dishonor You. Just be glorified in me, please Father...however that may come...just let me be found faithful to You. Jesus!"

And today, I awoke to new mercies.

And more of His truth.

Young moms, I beg you...pour the Word into your children. Don't let your wants or your desires for anything of this world become more important than pouring the WORD into your children.

Proverbs 31:27-28
"She looks well to the ways of her household,
  And does not eat the bread of idleness.
  Her children rise up and bless her;
  Her husband also, and he praises her, saying:
  "Many daughters have done nobly,
    But you excel them all."

Let those words be your charge, Mommas.

Start today. Start now.

Just trust God and start!

Let your life count, as you allow HIS LIFE to shine through you.

In Him Who NEVER changes,
Jes













Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Pick your Paulina Wisely

Some of you may know, and some may not...I am a trained actress. 
I've had the great privilege of studying under some of the best acting teachers in the 
country.

One trait that every great actress possesses is that she is constantly observing. 

My phenomenal acting coaches drilled this into my head! 
Although I'm not saying that I'm great.

If I should ever hope to play a homeless woman, I better know how she walks, how she 
talks, what she carries in her cart with her. I need to try to determine her back story. 
What does she eat? How does she smell? Dress?

If I desire to play a debutante, a lion tamer, or a widow the same holds true.

Thus, I am an observer. 

ALL THE TIME, I am observing.

Pretty much anywhere I am, I can tell you who is around me within about a 24 foot 
radius. I can tell you who they're with, what they're wearing, perhaps even what they're 
eating...definitely what they're driving if I'm in a parking lot.

If I'm in a restaurant, my back is never to the door. If I'm in a parking lot, I'm scouring it 
as I walk to my car.

I've avoided being mugged 3 times because I'm constantly watching what's going on 
around me.

And I do this with the people in my life, especially when looking for mentors and 
those whom I am willing to give the right to speak the hard things into my life.

Are they living a life I'd want to imitate?

Is their marriage in Biblical order?

How do they talk about their husband?

How often do they talk about other people behind their backs?

How much time do they spend in the Word of God and in prayer?

What do I see in their children? In their relationships with their children?

How do they spend their time and their money?

Do they give of their first fruits to the Lord, every time, without fail?

And, when they give counsel...do they wait upon the Lord? Are they tender hearted? 
Compassionate? Loving?

Are they willing to speak the hard things into my life when I ask them their true opinion, 
not sugar-coating anything, but also with a love for God first and a love for me second?

Are they people of humility, or are they always right?

Have I ever heard them say that they were wrong? 
That they had to ask forgiveness of someone?



These are the qualities that I look for in a Paul(ina), and I am so incredibly blessed to 
say that I have several in my life. 


These are the women that I call when I'm certain I've blown it with my kids, my 
husband, my friends.

They are the ones that I call when I'm in a torrent of confusion and can't see the truth in 
a situation. 

They're the ones that I can tell anything to, knowing that it will NEVER be repeated.

They're the ones who know my failures, because they make it safe for me to share them.

They pray for me. They counsel me. They laugh with me. They cry with me. 

They reassure me when I've done nothing wrong, but have been falsely accused. 
And...just as importantly, they let me know when I've really messed up and they pray 
with me to have the courage, and the words to make things right.

They are women who dearly respect and love their husbands, and who NEVER talk 
disrespectfully about them.

They are women who KNOW the Word of God, and have an ability to offer quick 
application of it to me.

And interestingly enough, almost all of them are 10 - 20 years older than I am.

With age, and time in the Word, comes wisdom. 

I am the beneficiary of So. Much. Wisdom!

These are the women who truly could say to me, as Paul said to the Corinthians, "be 
imitators of me," because in countless ways, I'm already trying to be!

They share with me the hard things they've done in their lives because JESUS called 
them to. 

One of my Paulinas cared for her mother in her home for 7 years as she was dying. 
Almost before she had time to catch her breath, she then moved her father and step 
mother (who had caused the breakup of her parents' marriage) into her home and 
lovingly cared for them. 

On her step mother's death bed, she repeatedly shared the Gospel with her...and she 
knows today that her step mom is now with Christ. As is her mother, and her 
father...both of whom she also shared the Gospel with in their last days.

This Paulina has taught me about giving. I didn't grow up learning much about 
that...sacrificial giving, abundant giving. It's because of her that God tugged at my heart 
that first fruit giving is obedience, but that sacrificial giving...that's where the real joy 
comes in!

It's also because of her example that I know that one day if the Lord calls me to care for 
some of the people in my life who have caused me the greatest heartache, I'm prepared. 
I've already given the Lord my word that I would wipe their bottoms and clean their 
bedpans if that's what He calls me to do.

All because my Paulina went before me, and set such a breathtakingly beautiful example 
for me to imitate!

I cherish my Paulinas. I dearly, dearly love them.

They make me better because they point me to Jesus in love and graciousness, and they 
love me...oh, how they love me...as I do them.

If you don't have a Paulina in your life, and you'd like to see your relationship with Christ 
really grow by leaps and bounds, I encourage you to pray and ask the Lord to bring one 
to you.

But observe her first. 

Use the questions I've shared above if you'd like...and add those which are important to 
you.

Don't just give anyone the privilege to speak into your life, make sure you've tested their 
character and walk with Christ, through observation first.

As hard as it is to believe, even Christians can be used as weapons of unrighteousness 
when we aren't walking by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

That's called friendly fire, and it's terribly painful.

Be wise. 

Observe.

Look for Paulinas who know more of the Word than you do...considerably more. And are 
living it out on a daily basis. Those are the ones who will give you Godly counsel in grace 
and love.

Look for a Paulina who loves God and loves others, because she will be able to  LOVE 
you, as Paul said he did the Corinthians...(even in their pridefulness and sin).

Look for a Paulina you want to imitate, because you observe her imitating Christ Jesus.

And once you find her, tell her often how very much you love and appreciate her!

In His Love,
Jes


1 Corinthians 11:
For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death;  
because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. 
10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you 
are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honor. 
11 To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are 
roughly treated, and are homeless;
12 and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are 
persecuted, we endure; 
13 when we are slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become as the scum of the 
world, the dregs of all things, even until now.
14    I do not write these things to shame you, but to admonish you as my 
beloved children. 
15   For if you were to have countless tutors in Christ, yet you would not 
have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the 
gospel. 
16  Therefore I exhort you, be imitators of me.