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 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 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.


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,

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 

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 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 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 

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. 


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,

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 
16  Therefore I exhort you, be imitators of me.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Why I Gave Myself a Spanking

I don't know how it happens, really...but anyone who has given birth to more than one child can attest to the truth of what I'm about to tell you.

These precious babies come out of the same womb, children of the same two parents, yet they are so often completely and totally opposite personalities.

Can I get an "Amen" from the Mommas of the world?!

I have one who came out of the womb (after 18 HOURS of BRUTAL labor - at home - no drugs), and as tired as I was, I couldn't WAIT to hold and nurse this little gift of mine.

So the midwife put the child on my chest, and DADGUM if the little brat didn't cry like stuck pig until Super Dad swept in, swaddled, and cooed the little toot into a state of bliss!

I have another, also born at home with no pain aides except for 2 ounces of Castor Oil, whose labor was a breeze and who couldn't wait to be buried deep in my arms as soon as possible, nursing like it was the best thing on earth.

From the moment one of my two arrived, I just "got" them. We're so much alike in so many ways, that it's scary sometimes. This is the kid whose sin I can see a mile away, because I've committed the same ones myself so many times.

This is also the kid to whom I speak and hear my own mother's words coming out of my mouth to them. 

This one has the same life motto I did for so many years, "Go Big, or Go Home!" 

(Oh, how I pray age and time in the Word has matured me in that!)

This child of mine will SIN RIGHT TO MY FACE...and then fight to the death to defend it.

UNTIL....and this is SUCH a big until. UNTIL I send them to their room and tell them to hit their knees and then get into the Word, and not to come back to me until they have.

Without fail, when they return there are tears of TRUE repentance spilling down their cheeks and they humbly apologize and ask for forgiveness. We hug. We pray. We deal with whatever discipline is needed, and then we start afresh.

But my other child is different.

So, so different.

I spent a full year of this child's life begging God to help me understand them. I loved question on that, but I certainly didn't "get" them, and I remember feeling so certain that this little baby didn't even LIKE me.

I entreated The Lord to PLEASE knit our hearts together, and He so graciously answered that prayer. We are now super close and have a very precious relationship.

Yet this child is still so much different than my other one, and much different than me in many ways.

They sin covertly. They are not quick to repent. They are not easily convicted by time in the Word.

So a few weeks ago, right in the midst of me battling major adrenal burnout and a tough, tough time with MS brought on by unbelievable grief and stress, this child decided to lie to me.

A day earlier they had tried to manipulate me in front of other people by saying, "My friend wants to know if they can..."

My response, "Oh, really? Well, your friend is standing here too. So since this issue obviously doesn't pertain to you, since it's only your friend who wants this, why don't you just let your friend do the talking?"

I was madder than a hornet! My kid was covertly lying to me!

I hate being lied to, and I hate being manipulated. I got my fill of both as a kid, and mastered both arts myself before I became a Believer.

So here we find ourselves the very next day, and this child I love has lied to me (covertly, they thought) again...and is busted because I saw it so clearly.

I talked with them. I prayed with them. I tried to drill down to the root with them, and while I definitely saw remorse, there was no true repentance.

So I got up and left the room and cried out to God, asking Him to show me what to do to make my child understand the severity of their sin.

I called to them from the laundry room and when they came in I said, "Go get a wooden spoon."

I truly can't remember the last time I spanked one of my kids. 
#1, With the effects MS has had on my right hand, it hurts me more than it does them.
#2, They're just past the spanking age, in my least for most things.

But that day I KNEW...a spanking had to occur.

This child is a Believer, and I feel pretty certain their spiritual gift is mercy.

I kept asking God, "WHAT discipline will get through to my mercy driven child?"

So we went into the library and talked some more, and I held and hugged them and told them how much I loved them. We talked about Hebrews and how it tells us that God disciplines those whom He loves. We discussed how discipline is training in righteousness.

And then I told them to lean over the couch.

 Oh, that took some doing!

 The tears started flowing, and the up and down again movements to solidify in their mind that this was really about to happen took a good 30 seconds.

I said, "The more you prolong this, the more I will view it as disobedience, and the more swats will be required. So you should just resolve yourself to it and lean over."

FINALLY they did. 

They just about gripped the green chenille right off of the loveseat...face buried deep into the cushion,

Then I lifted that spoon high in the air, and with all of my might I slammed it right onto MY leg.

It startled my child, and they looked up at me in total disbelief.

I lifted it again and slammed my left leg two more times as hard as I could.

The tears started flowing from my sweet child of mercy. "Momma, stop! Please stop!"

I lifted it again and moved to the right leg...three slams of that hard wooden spoon on my thigh.

"Momma, why are you doing this?! You didn't do anything wrong!"

Six swats later; six swelled areas on my thighs; a sore hand, and MS irritated nerve endings that felt like they were on fire....and tears, by now from both of us.

I took my dear child's face into my hands and I said, "Sin COSTS! What I just took for you PALES in comparison to what Jesus endured on the cross for your lying and manipulating!"

We both wept as we talked about the HIGH PRICE of grace, and mercy...and that we are NEVER to forget what Jesus did to reconcile us to God when He sacrificed His own life for us, that we might have life eternal instead of the curse of death.

My guess is that some of you will read this, and will consider me a fool.

That will be sad for you if that's what you choose to take from this story.

What my dear child finally learned that day is what TRUE repentance is. I am confident that they will never forget that day, and what their Momma took that they deserved.

A person with the gift of mercy was heartbroken over their sin, all because they saw tangibly how it affected someone they love.

Spiritual mission accomplished! "Thank You Lord, for giving me that insight!"

I've no doubt that before they consider lying, or trying to manipulate again, they will first be reminded by the Holy Spirit of the high price Momma paid that day...but even more so, of the unbelievable price Jesus paid for their sin over 2,000 years ago.