Monday, December 6, 2010

Second Hand....

Last week I heard an interesting interview on Midday Connections. The women were talking about the kind of legacy we leave for our children and they challenged listeners to consider, as we all know, second hand smoke does affect those around us, but what about our second hand; attitudes, behaviors, habits, motives, interactions, and fears, etc.

While this can be very convicting on many levels as you consider this, I encourage you to let this move you towards a place of healing and wholeness....a place of change.  It can be a call to get rid of some "stuff" so that our children don't have to carry the same second hand "issues" into their homes (and so on and so on).

This is a reflective opportunity for us to recognize all of our attitudes, behaviors, habits, motives, interactions, and fears, do matter and our children are watching and learning from us. Knowledge is power and we have the opportunity to reflect right now and allow ourselves to be honest (even if the honesty hurts).  The key then, is to be willing to change.  All changes start first with an acknowledgment.

Let's truly consider our legacy and all of the second hand "issues" we are leaving unchanged for future generations. What strong holds are we passing down?  Again I encourage you do not allow this to be a time of "beating yourself up" but rather an opportunity to become aware and pro active.  Be willing to do the "heart work" to set the stage for generations of HOPE!

One day at a time, one moment at a time...there is always HOPE

Thursday, December 2, 2010

There is (still) Hope in Boundaries

Why is it hard to enforce boundaries when you know in your heart it's the right thing to do, not only for you, but for your family?  For me, I believe it's because I lived so long without them.  I lived an unbalanced life (in regards to healthy appropriate boundaries) that at times when I am balanced, it feels unbalanced.  The reality is being balanced is good, but making the choice to stay balanced is hard.

An area where I find myself constantly questioning a boundary that I know in my head is necessary and important, but still causes me sadness in my heart, is with my mother.  If you have read my book or followed my blog you know the boundary that I have put up with her.  She knows about my writing.  I sent her a copy of my book at her request, with a letter on January 14, 2010. I have not heard directly from her since.  I have continued to acknowledge holidays and birthdays with boundaries and respect in place, towards her.  It's hard though. I recognize that she is respecting the boundaries I stated, but at the same time, this also tells me she isn't ready to move in a forward direction (at least with me). My heart still aches for a relationship with her, but it's for the relationship that we never had.

I find myself looking at old photographs and recalling "simpler" times.  Times when I knew something wasn't right but I didn't understand and  I was willing to ignore facts and keep pushing them under the rug.  I was so desperate for her love and acceptance that I was willing to over look the reality.  And quite honestly, there was just enough "good"  times that it made it easier to push the other times further under the rug. 

Confrontation and boundaries are never easy.  They change relationships, but isn't that the point?.  I ask myself what would it be like if I never confronted my issues, not just with my mother, but with all the  issues/people/choices in my life that contributed to my ptsd and panic/anxiety.  The reality is it still wouldn't have stayed "the same".   The people, the choices, the events in my life, would have continued a spiral downwards.  The relationship with my mother began to unravel way before my journey towards hope and healing began. You see part of my struggle in the feeling of "unbalance" is to take responsibility for other peoples choices and behaviors, to try to make it feel balanced.  That is not true balance.

As I am balanced now, it still feels unbalanced (unnatural) to me.  I recognize this is part of my healing and that I need to acknowledge this.  I also realize the reality when you are willing to honestly open your eyes and heart to truth, you may lose relationships. But then I say, was it really a relationship in the first place?  Was it ever balanced? Was it healthy? 

I am still dealing with grief in regards to my relationship with my mother.  I love her and care deeply about her well being, but I can not compete with alcoholism, her past, her present, or her brokenness.  So, the boundaries are still in place even through the sadness and tears. I continue to pray and hope that there might someday be reconciliation and healing in my mom's mind, body, and soul.

I hope my openness can encourage you in boundaries that you may be struggling with.  We are not alone! and there is ALWAYS hope! 


Do not fear, for I am with you: Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God, I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.   Isaiah 41:10

Friday, November 5, 2010

Looking For More Time in Your Week?


(*this blog subject  is different from the rest of my blogs.... this has been something on my mind to share for a while.  I am sure you have tips as well and I would love for you to share)

Organizing time seems to be a stumbling block for many people. One area that has a tendency to take to much time during the week is grocery shopping and cooking meals.  For years now, I have organized and planned my grocery shopping and menu for the week.  Whenever I mention this, most say they would like to do this, but they don’t know how to start, or they lack the motivation needed.  I hope that I will encourage you today.

Here are some tips that can lead you towards a more organized week in regards to weekly grocery shopping and menu planning:

Pick a day and time frame during the week that you can consistently sit down for fifteen minutes to prepare for your week.

To begin, you will need recipes, a magnetic pad or paper, a grocery list, a pen, and any coupons you have, Take a glance at your calendar to make sure you know the days you need to start dinner earlier, use your crock pot, or plan for take out.

Next, take several of your favorite cook books and begin browsing through your options.  If you have recipes that you have printed out or cut from magazines, you can place them in a folder or binder so you have access to them as well.

After you have settled in with your recipes, get your grocery list. Many word document programs have a grocery list included in their files that you can print out and usually customize to your preferences.  Most grocery stores have grocery lists available, customized to their specific store lay out on their web site.  If you are unable to locate one of these, then use a blank piece of paper and create your own.

Next, write the days of the week on the magnetic note pad. You can place this on your refrigerator so that you and everyone else in the home know “what’s for dinner tonight.”

When I find a recipe, I want to make; I write the recipe name, note which book it came from, as well as the page number I.e. Monday:  White Chili (Cooking with Smitty’s Mom, pg 149) and salad.

Next, scan the cupboards, refrigerator, and freezer to see if you already have certain items on hand and then check off (or write) on the grocery list what is needed for that recipe.

You can be flexible on your days and choices….if it’s Tuesday and you planned for Salmon but want to make spaghetti that you planned for Thursday, simply swap them out.  The main point is to make sure you have all of the necessary ingredients for each meal so you are not going to the grocery store several times in your week.

Once the menu is planned look over the grocery list and get your coupons. Place the ones you can use in an envelope. Then add a check mark next to the item on the list so you can remember to look for the specific brand or amount to purchase in order to redeem the coupon.

While it may take time to get organized, you will be using your time, finances, and energy much more efficiently when you chose to become organized in your time management.. An additional benefit to being more organized with weekly planning and grocery shopping is that your family will be able to sit around the table and eat together more often. And you will have the added bonus of not being stressed and tired. 

Proverbs 31:27  She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness



Friday, October 15, 2010

Wolves in Sheep Clothes

I am working on a new speaking topic titled Queen For More Than a Day...Respect, Dignity, and Confidence, Things I Wish I Knew Then, That I Know Now.  I realize it's a mouthful for a title, but I felt each part was important and conveys what the topic is really about.

Part of the topic delves into the concept that we all tend to be affected by, at some point in our life, the concept that we are lulled in by wolves in sheep clothing.  We choose to ignore red flags. Especially when it involves something that gives us pleasure or gives us a (false) sense everything is "OK", even if only for a moment. 

Wolves can come in the form of people.  As abusers or manipulators, these wolves are very good at keeping the sheep costume on, just long enough, until they have you where they want you. Wolves can also come in the form of alcohol or drugs.  I need a drink.  Just one drink, then it turns into two or three. Then it becomes daily. With drugs it can be the thought that you can stop whenever you want to (your wolf keeps telling you, you really don't want to though). 

Wolves can come in the form of pornography.  If you are doing anything in secret, you can usually bet it is a sin issue.  Men as well as women deal with this.  I think more so today than ever before, because we have become so desensitized to everything through television, music, magazines, and even billboards. Sometimes all it takes is one look. One stroke of the key on your computer and you have entered into a wolves den.

Wolves can also come in the form of promiscuity.  I once heard Liz Curtis Higgs call this....fornicating.  Which means sexual intercourse between two unmarried persons.  Plain and simple.  I am certainly not casting any stones on this wolf, because if you've read my book, you know I am a redeemed fornicator. But, while I am not casting stones, I am going to boldly say, if you are having sex outside of the confines of marriage, you are a fornicator and God can not bless a relationship that is based on your needs and wants, more than putting Him first. 

There is also a wolf that is full of busyness...I will spend quality time with my spouse or child later, I have a lot to do right now. I will pray later.  My schedule is so full right now, I can't possibly fit in time to read my Bible. I am so busy, I don't have time to exercise or eat right.

Have you ever been visited by the wolf in sheep's clothing that represents the "white" lie? I couldn't possibly tell the whole truth because if I did..... Or what about the wolf of gossip.  Did you hear about so and so, well you didn't hear this from me, but.

What about about the wolf of "take no responsibility".  I only did what I did because you did what you did.  I am sorry, BUT. I am justified in my (sin) issue and its none of your business.

There are more wolves walking around in sheep's clothing than I can write about.

Something to remember about wolves is they are carnivores and they usually travel in packs.  If you get a visit from one wolf you can be sure that another one is just around the corner waiting to trick you, waiting to tempt you, waiting to devour you. 

John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy; I came that they might have life and might have it abundantly.

If I have touched a nerve, have no worries because you are not alone. I am also feeling conviction in certain areas.

I am grateful we are not expected to be perfect and that God allows us grace, mercy, and forgiveness.  Even when we willingly choose a wolf in sheep's clothing.  The point is to see it, acknowledge it, and repent.  Sometimes we need accountability, so reach out and ask for it.  You can not go back and undo the damage a wolf has done, but you can move forward and away from them.  Its your choice.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Confrontation

Confrontation is never easy. Confrontation is not something most people like to do. Confrontation is uncomfortable.

While all of the above is true, confrontation is sometimes necessary. My son and I had to face this subject recently. As a mother, it is hard to sit back and give advice to your child when you really want to jump in and handle it yourself, and put the other child "in his place". That would not be productive (at least not at this point, but there may be times when parental intervention is neccessary).

Both of our confrontations had to do with confronting a person about lies. Lies are a difficult issue to confront because, unless the person is willing to admit the truth there is no way to reconcile or move forward in a positive way. I am not talking about things you suspect as lies, I am talking about things you know for a fact are lies.

In my past  I never confronted anyone on anything.  I am in a season of life right now where I feel very strongly, I will not put things under the rug just to make someone feel "comfortable" in their lies, their motives, or their behaviors.

It is important to me to raise my children with the understanding that confronting someone is not a bad thing. It may be uncomfortable and it has the potential to change the relationship, but it is not "bad'. It is also important to learn to take confrontation when it is coming towards you. If you are being confronted with something that you did or said then take responsibility for it. Do not justify it by what others have said or done. You are responsible for you.

Here are somethings I shared with my son when we talked about the situation he was in:

1. Confronting someone is never easy but, in order to move forward (with or without the person) you need to do it.

2. Do not take responsibility for the other persons choice/behavior

3. If you choose not to confront the person that doe not mean the problem goes away

4. It is not your responsibility to change the person

5. It is not your responsibility to make them see the error of their way

6. State the facts not the emotions

7. If they choose not to acknowledge or take responsibility then you have a choice to make; do you want to continue this friendship or do boundaries need to go up

8. Confronting someone with their behavior or choices does not guarantee "the light will turn on" and they will suddenly change or apologize

9. As I say in my book....red flags usually don't change color...don't ignore them

10. Take responsibility for your words and actions

The challenge from this is to remember that Jesus in all of his mercy, grace, and kindness, did not allow situations/people/issues to go on as if it was not happening.  He confronted in truth. He confronted at times with passion and other times with a sense of peace, but the bottom line is- He called it like it was and he moved forward.  So, next time you are faced with a confrontation (whether it is big or small) remember it's ok to speak the truth (in love) and be prepared for #1-10

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Power of Shame

A five year girl with long blonde hair and bangs that are cut straight across her eyebrow, sits across from me, looking at me with sad  blue-green eyes.  She has tears in her eyes.  She looks frightened.  She also has a look of shame on her face. When I ask her what is the matter, at first she looks at the floor and says, "nothing".  I can tell something is really bothering her. I get down at her eye level and tell her, " it's ok, you are safe and you can talk to me if you want".  She starts to cry and tears begin to fall.  I hug her, I stroke her long smooth blonde hair, and I tell her it will be ok.  She begins to tell me that she is five years old and that her mommy told her she would be going to school very soon.  She has no idea what to expect at school. She is filled with fear. The only thing that she understands is that she will be away from home, away from her mommy and daddy, all day long. This scares her. She has never been to preschool, she has never been to Sunday school.  The only friends she has are her cousins.  One cousin (along with her family) live across the street from her, in the Cul De Sac she lives in, on Gading Road.  Her cousin Krissy is younger than her so she wont be going to school quite yet.  Her other cousin Stacey is her age, but she and her family live in another neighborhood, so she wont be going to the same school.  She is very hesitant to tell me anything else and I can tell that she is holding something back.  I reassure her its ok and she can tell me anything. She very hesitantly begins to tell me how she is scared to go to school because everyone will be watching her and everyone will know that she...she...she...sucks her thumb and carries a blanket.  Once she allows the words to tumble out, I let her cry and  hug her. 

I ask her where she got this idea from?  She tells me her mommy told her that when she goes to kindergarten she MUST NEVER EVER suck her thumb and that she can NEVER take her blanket with her.  If anyone sees her sucking her thumb or holding a blanket then ALL of the children and ALL of teachers will tease her and make fun of her. No one will want to play with her or sit next to her.  Everyone will know!

This sweet five year old little girl is so filled with shame and guilt that she can hardly stand it. She had no idea that something that made her feel safe, secure, and comforted, was so bad. She had no idea other children did not do this.  She did not know she was the only one.  She felt ashamed.  Why hadn't anyone told her before?  She was filled with anxiety wondering if anyone outside of her family knew her "secret" and if they did, what did they think of her.  She also began to wonder what her family members may have really thought about her now, now that she knows what she had been doing all along, was wrong. 

Her mother does not realize that this is the little girls only way to self comfort herself from the arguing, fighting, and alcohol abuse that she see's between her parents.  For as long as she can remember she has sucked her thumb and held her blanket, usually when she went to sleep, but also at times when she was scared, lonely, or confused. Her mother thinks that she is protecting her daughter, but the reality is that she is filling her with guilt and shame and putting the idea into her five year mind that other people will always be watching and judging you.  I do not believe that this mother is aware of what she has done.  The mother most likely was made to feel the same way, at some point in her childhood. She does not realize she is setting her daughter up for a life time of guilt and shame. And always second guessing herself and wondering if other people approve or not.  Always wanting to please others before she pleases herself. The mother does not realize the damages she has done and that her daughter looks up to her and trusts and believes every word she says. 

I hold this sweet innocent little girl for a few minutes letting her cry and stroking her head as I whisper to her, "its ok". As her breathing begins to return to a normal pace I tell her that it's fine that she sucks her thumb and has a blanket, in fact there are MANY MANY children who do the very same thing.  There is nothing to be ashamed about.  It's really ok.  I also assure her that her teacher will understand and can possibly help her with other ways to bring comfort to her when she needs it.  I go on to explain that I know that there will be one, if not more, children in her class, that will have the same or similar habit.  I  help her to understand that everyone, even grown ups, do things to help us cope with stressful, sad, or scary feelings or situations.  I also tell her that her mommy loves her.  She only reacted the way she knew how.  The mother does not realize that this pattern (the pattern of guilting and shaming) will continue on between the two of them until her daughter is well into adulthood.

The story I have shared with you is a true story to some extent.  The little girl and the mother, they are real and the situation was real.  The woman helping the little girl is not real,  This scenario was something that I recently worked through with my doctor, The little girl is me. I shared it in this way so that it might make more sense to you, as a reader, 

Maybe someone will see their self in the role of the mother or even in the little girl.  If you see yourself in the mother role it's never to late to stop the cycle of guilt and shame.  Today is a new day!  Negative and shameful words (talk) is a hard (generational) cycle to break, but the more you are aware, the less power they hold over you,  Remember words have power. As parents we can help our children see the glass as half full or half empty. Now that you are aware, you can make a choice.  If you see yourself as the little girl, I pray that you are willing to open the door to healing, forgiveness, and believe there is always hope and know that you CAN move forward,

Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature, the old things passed away; behold, new things have come  2Corinthians 5:17

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Gift of Prayer

 Summer seems to be passing by ever so quickly.  As I begin to look at the new school year I have been reminded of the power of prayer. To start the new school year off on the right foot, I have been posting scripture prayers on my Facebook page. So far I have posted two.  The first one on bully situations: Hide your loved one (child's name) in the shelter of your presence, safe beneath your hand, safe from all conspiring men Psalm 1:10.   The second one is on wisdom: That (child's name) may hear and be wise, and direct his/her mind in the way (of the Lord). Proverbs 23:19

Many years ago when my daughter, who is now almost twenty two years old, was in 2nd or 3rd grade I heard about Mom's In Touch.  For those who are not familiar with this organization, I encourage you to go to their web site at http://www.momsintouch.org/   

I have had the privilege to lead groups as well as participate in other groups. The whole concept is to get with other parents, grandparents, or guardians and pray for your child, their children, the school, the teachers, and the other students.  You pray for an hour and the time is very structured.  This is not a "fellowship" event.  This is specifically for prayer.  MIT teaches that you pray by:  praising, confessing, thanking, and intercessing.  They also teach you to pray scripturally for your child. Prayer is powerful, especially when you are combining scripture directly to it. Prayer is also one of the best gifts you can give a child.

I don't know about you, but I did not grow up with praying parents. I know my parent's loved me as a child and that they cared for me, but as far as prayer or religious beliefs go, if they had them or practiced them, they did not share openly about them. 


Even if prayer was not a part of your growing up, it can still be a part of your life today.  Some people get intimidated by praying, especially praying out loud.  I look at prayer as a conversation.  It's me and God.  I remember many years ago the first time I prayed out loud in front of others and how nervous I felt.  I use to feel intimidated to pray in front of others, as some people really know how to pray, they pray so eloquently. They sound so confident and strong in their faith.  I quickly got over that feeling because once you realize it's not about measuring up and its not about me praying/talking to the other person...its about me and God, it becomes much easier.  If God knows your heart then He knows what you mean and doesn't matter how you sound to Him. 


I want to encourage you, if you have not started already you can start now by praying for your child (even for  your grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousin's, friends, neighbors). Pray for the upcoming school year whether they are in public school, private school, home schooled, or in college.  I also encourage you to let the child or young adult know that you are praying for them for the school year.  Kids and young adults are faced with so much these days, what a valuable gift you can give someone by praying for their school year. 


If an apple a day can keep the doctor away just think what a prayer a day can do! 

"Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart".  
Luke 18:1

Monday, July 19, 2010

Farmington, New Mexico

I apologize upfront as this blog will be longer than normal.  I am writing this to share my experience but I am also writing this for me. 

 How do you put into words an experience that was so amazing and had elements of things you planned and many that you did not.  I hope to be able to put my heart into words as I try to capture my experience from speaking and book signings in Farmington, New Mexico.

It started off as a simple request, my husband asked Fareed, the owner of the radio station KPCL, Passion Radio, in Farmington, New Mexico (who was hosting a fund raising event for Passion Play Ministries International www.passion-play.org,  that my husband helps with each summer, and they are also an affiliate radio station, so they play my husbands morning show, www.dkradio.com) if while we are in town for the fund raiser maybe there was a church or small ladies group that I could speak to. His response was almost overwhelming...he not only booked me at one church but four.  Three churches were for speaking and book signing and the other church was for book signing (with three services). 

We were to arrive on Tuesday and return home the following Monday.  I was set to speak to Crossroads Community Church on Wednesday night, First Baptist on Saturday (for a Ladies Brunch), later that evening a book signing at Pinon Hills, and on Sunday two more book signings at Pinon Hills and later Sunday night I was at Emmanuel Baptist to speak on both of my topics (Hope and Forgiveness).  I would have Thursday and Friday to hang out with my son, my husband would be at the fund raiser those two days.  Garic and I had plans to go to the movies, the mall, swim, and have fun. 

The day before our flight to New Mexico I woke up with a scratchy throat and some nasal drainage.  I am not bragging, but I never get sick. In fact it has been over three years since I even had a cold. Tuesday morning my voice was even more raspy and I was worried I was getting laryngitis.  I decided to go to the doctor before we flew out that afternoon.  The nurse practitioner who saw me, said it was a simple cold and to expect day three and four to be the "worst", but that I should be just fine to speak.

Once we arrived in New Mexico my voice was still raspy, but other than that I felt "OK". We were met by Stan and Linda Burgett from Passion Play Ministries, they helped us get our luggage and rental car situated.  We drove three hours to get to Farmington, needless to say, we all three slept well that night. Wednesday morning I  felt "OK" but still sounded raspy and now I was developing a slight cough. Later Wednesday night we drove to Crossroads Community Church and amazingly my voice sounded a little better. I tried not to think about speaking and just focus on leaning on God for strength and courage. 

I felt nervous but the people at Crossroads were very kind and encouraging to me. Once the Pastor prayed for me and I started talking, my nerves went away and I had peace in my heart (my mind).  Afterward, at the book signing, several people shared that they also had panic and anxiety and thanked me for sharing my story with them.  There were also several men and women who shared that they knew that their own issues with guilt, shame, and fear had been keeping them from HOPE, but that the message gave them encouragement and HOPE!  I felt very humbled and honored that God would choose to use me, a woman who was was riddled with guilt, shame, and fear, for most of her life, to now share hope with others!

Thursday morning I woke up and felt awful.  I was wheezing (I have asthma but it only acts up when I am sick).  My voice sounded terrible.  I couldn't breathe.  I now had a deep cough and major sinus pressure.  I knew from  my wheezing that I probably needed a breathing treatment and possibly an antibiotic for what I thought was a sinus infection.  I called my friend Suzette who has a lot of experience with asthma, as she and her youngest daughter also have it. She told me I needed to see a doctor right away and to get a breathing treatment! I called my husband, who was at the radio station helping with the fundraiser, I told him I need to see a doctor as soon as possible.  Praise God that Fareed, owner of the radio station,  knows of several good doctors in the area. I was able to talk to a doctor on the phone who was heading out the door, but said his nurse would stay at the office to see me and give me a breathing treatment.  Based on my symptoms and how I sounded, he also called in an antibiotic for me.  Once I arrived at the doctors office I made an immediate connection with the nurse.  She listens to KPCL and my husbands morning show.  She knew who I was, but she had not realized I had written a book and that I would be speaking this weekend.  We talked more and the more we talked, I felt the Lord telling me to give her a book and invite her to Sunday's event.  So, I did.  My heart was heavy for her. I really hoped she would come. I felt in my heart that she was the ultimate reason I was so sick.  Not to sound like a martyr but I would honestly be sick again if only for her. I know she needed HOPE. 

Friday morning I woke up feeling worse.  My cough was deeper, I could barley breathe, my wheezing was back, and I had no energy.  My husband called the same doctor, but he was out on Friday, so they found another doctor who could see me immediately.  This doctor not only gave me a another breathing treatment, but a steroid shot, a new antibiotic, prednisone (to help with the inflammation of my lungs), and a different inhaler to go along with the regular one I had. He diagnosed me with bronchitis and sinusitis (which in turn flared my asthma). My husband and I connected with the doctor, the nurse, and the receptionist.  We ended up leaving three books and inviting them to Sunday's event as well.  By God's grace and mercy I was beginning to feel better within a few hours.  I rested well that night and felt very grateful for all of my family and friends who were praying for me and for the doctors who so graciously took care of me.

Saturday morning arrived and I was feeling even better!  Praise God!  We arrived at First Baptist and I was excited to share the message of  Hope. They had a wonderful array of delicious food to share and then I spoke.  The women were all very encouraging and several shared their hearts with me. I am still very touched by the women there. One woman touched my heart deeply.  She is a  sweet kind woman who I will refer to as "M".  She told me she also had PTSD, panic, anxiety, as well as severe depression.  She had also attempted suicide on more than one occasion.  She told me she desperately needed hope.  We talked some more and I encouraged her. I told her I was glad she was still here and that she came to this event.  I ask anyone who is reading this to please pray for "M".  She is lonely.  She is depressed.  She has severe abuse and neglect in her past.  She is unable to work.. She feels as if she has no purpose in life whatsoever.  I know the people of First Baptist are reaching out to her and helping her, but she needs our prayers as well.(if you would like to send her an encouragement....please email Sheryl@SherylGriffin.com and I will make sure to pass it on to her)

Saturday night was my first book signing at Pinon Hills.  They offer three services one on Saturday night and two on Sunday morning.  The pastor had me come on stage with him before he began his message.  I had an opportunity to share what my book was about and then he asked me a few questions.One of the questions he asked me during the first Sunday morning service was about medication.  He asked me if I took medication. I confess, at first, it caught me off guard, because I know there are some within the christian community who believe taking medication for depression or anxiety is not necessary and that you need to simply pray more, fast, or that the root cause of this must be unconfessed sin. I shared that I am a firm believer that properly prescribed medication is 100% fine.  People take medication for high blood pressure, diabetes, and whatever else our bodies need.  We live in a fallen world and we have fallen bodies and sometimes the medication can help us as we begin to deal with the roots of our problems (as in my case when I was on antidepressants for nine months). Sometimes medication is the only way to get your mind back in balance. I mentioned that I still keep my anxiety medication on hand.  I know my triggers and I  have learned to understand my body signals, but still there are times, when I may need to take something, if other things are not helping.

It turns out the pastor specifically asked me this question because he knows people struggle with taking medication for depression and other mental health issues. I hope and pray my answer helped someone who may be struggling with taking medication, to know that depression, panic, anxiety and other related illness's are NOT a punishment for being bad or sinful. I am a firm believer in God and my faith, and I know that at any time if God chooses, He can heal anyone.  He has the power to take away any sickness or illness. Prayer is important, in fact it is vital to your relationship with Christ, but I also believe God can use doctors and medication.

Moving on to Sunday night at Emmanuel Baptist. By now I was feeling much better.  I was excited about this event because I was sharing both of my messages.  It was also my first time sharing the message on Forgiveness.  I immediately felt comfortable once the pastor introduced me and prayed over me.  As I began to share, I noticed that my notes some how were out of order.  I continued on for a few seconds and realized I needed to stop so I could get them organized.  I asked my husband to pray for me as my notes were out of order...he did and by the end of his prayer my notes were in order and I was ready to move forward!  * I was a little disappointed as I felt that was "unprofessional" but I told myself, "it is what it is", and I reacted the only way I knew how....I stopped and prayed.  I recently received a very encouraging email from someone who was at this event and she shared how that very incident encouraged her and she wanted the faith that I had!  I actually cried when I read this- here I was so focused on thinking how unprofessional it was when God was using this to draw someone closer to Him!

This event would be the first time my husband had heard the forgiveness message.  He knew the main points, but it never worked out for us to sit down together and have me "practice" with him.  After the message he hugged me, and said he was very proud of me, and that Hope was a great message, but that Forgiveness knocked it out of the park!.  Well, I am not sure about that, but I do know it was a message heavy on my heart and I allowed myself to be very vulnerable in the three areas I spoke about (forgiving self, others, and asking for forgiveness).  I can still hear God saying, "It's all or nothing", in my heart and that is what continues to give me the courage to share so openly and honestly.  The evening ended with an incredible response and many more heart connections from women as well as men.  "My" nurse also made it, she sat in the front row.  We unfortunately did not get a chance to talk at the end of the evening, but I know that I  know, we were supposed to connect. and she was supposed to be there.

I feel very honored and humble that God has opened this door for me to share my story with so many people.  The conversations and the emails have truly touched my heart and have given me even more passion within my heart to keep sharing.

Thank you Farmington, New Mexico, KPCL Passion Radio, Passion Play Ministries International, Crossroads Community Church, First Baptist, Pinon Hills, and Emmanuel Baptist for opening your hearts to me and more than that, I pray you continue to move closer to God's mercy, love, and forgiveness.

Remember there is always HOPE!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Just Because You Can... Doesn't Mean You Should


 *Before I begin this blog I want to thank my son Garic for dressing up and posing as a virus maker. You rock Garic!

"With great power comes great responsibility" a quote from Uncle Ben, Peter Parker's (aka Spiderman's) uncle from the Spiderman movie

Everything is permissible--but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. 1 Corinthians 10:23-24

If I were to take a poll and ask if your computer has ever had a virus or if your computer has ever been hacked into, my guess is that majority of you would say...yes.

I have a love hate relationship with computers and technology. I am sure some of my feelings are connected to my PTSD and panic/anxiety.  I realize most people do not like giving control or power to other people, especially people you don't know, but for me it goes a little deeper. Another factor is that I don't always understand what to do when something goes wrong. I am very grateful that my husband is pretty knowledgeable with computers and can usually fix whatever the issue is with a simple click or two. And if he can't fix it he has a few friends who are even more knowledgeable.

To give you a little insight into what this blog is really about I need to explain something...the other day my husband googled information for our George Foreman Grill. We have been having some problems with it and could not locate the booklet that originally came with it.  Within minutes of clicking on a link (for a George Foreman Grill site via Google)  the Internet shut down and shortly thereafter we realized we had a serious virus. Long story short it took hours and hours to fix it, but by God's grace it is fixed now. Someone (a virus maker who may or may not resemble the photo above) finds humor or maybe strength or maybe power or maybe financial gain or maybe just because they can -so they will, created a virus that has the potential, if left alone long enough, to destroy your entire computer.  This is not someone trying to gain your information to steal your identity or steal your contacts, not that I would like that any better, but at least I can see a "point"- they want something that I have.  The people who create virus's do not gain anything per say from me.  They wont even know I was affected. I realize we live in a fallen world and that as long as we have technology we will always have those who will abuse, steal, and destroy other peoples "stuff" whether it is your identity, your information, or those who will take some form of pleasure in ruining your computer.  My husband pointed out that the computer world is just as (if not more) corrupt than the real world.  

I added the quote and the Bible verse above to remind us that even though no one reading this blog has ever hacked into a computer or created a virus (at least I hope not, and if you have, there is always an opportunity for grace, mercy, and forgiveness) we can apply the quote and the verse to our everyday life. We all have great power....power to be show kindness, the power to encourage, the power to build up (and not tear down) with our words, the power to make the right choice, the power to be good to each other, the power to be good to ourselves, the power to face the things we need to face, the power to tell the truth, the power to do the right thing (even when no one is looking), and the power to use your knowledge and talents to help others.

We all have the same choices...there is power in choice...now the challenge is how will you choose to use the power that you have.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Are you Hydrated?


Hydration....do you drink enough water through out your day to properly hydrate your body?  I do drink water through out my day, but I also know I probably still do not drink as much as my body needs.  

The other day as my son and I were entering our neighborhood we noticed that an ambulance, fire truck, and two police car's were leaving.  We commented about it and then I didn't think about it again.  That is, until later that evening, when I was walking in the neighborhood with a friend.  My friend asked me if I had heard about the drowning today.  I was shocked and quickly began to realize that is why the ambulance, police, and fire department were here earlier!  She told me that a young woman in her mid twenty's had been at our neighborhood  swimming pool and that she had drowned today.

On this day the temperatures were in the high 90's.  Add humidity and the temperature was at least 100 degree's.  The young woman had been laying in a lounge chair for a while and decided to get up and go into the water to cool down.  She jumped off the diving board and into the deep end.  She apparently blacked out as soon as she hit the water.  The life guard on duty noticed she was not coming up and promptly dove into the water and pulled her out.  He and the other lifeguard administered CPR until the paramedics arrived.  It is my understanding that they saved her life and she has fully recovered (praise God!).  The lifeguards are young.  I know the boy is a high school graduate this past May, I am not sure about the other life guard, I believe she is still in high school.  These two young people did something that I am sure they never thought they would have to do.  Even though they were fully trained and qualified (and the proof is in their response) if you were to ask either of them do you think you will ever have to dive in and pull someone out and administer CPR, my guess is they would say, "No, but I am trained and ready if I need to". 

The "rumor" about the woman who drowned is that she was dehydrated.  With the temperatures as high as they are lately there have been a few other stories of heat related accidents and even death on the News. We need to heed the warning signals that our body gives us and respond promptly.  We need to realize that dehydration can happen at any time not just in summer.

This made me think about something...spiritual hydration.  What does it mean to be spiritually hydrated  and if we had to face a situation that we have been"trained" to respond to....would we be able to face it with the bravery, instincts, and confidence that the two lifeguards had at the moment that they saved the young woman. 

Just because we know scripture and have memorized certain passages and stories-can we apply them to our life?  Have we even taken the time to study and memorize scripture?  Are we in fellowship with other believers?  Are you under a pastor who not only preaches the word of God but who has a life that reflects that.? When we reflect on our own life do we see the fruit?  Do others? Are we better at judging others and seeing their faults and sin areas more than our own?  What do we do with our time, money, and talents?  Do you know what you believe and why?

Are we really ready to respond to life's situations, difficulties, crisis, temptations, and problems in a way that is honoring to God. In other words are we spiritually hydrated?  If you answered no to any of the questions then my question to you is....what do you want to do about it?  what choice can you make right now to change any of this? We never know when or if we will be faced with something that will require us to prove our faith in a deep and meaningful (life saving) way.  We never know when we may need to live out the verses we have read.  We are not guaranteed tomorrow and we are not living in a perfect world it is important that we take care to keep physically and spiritually hydrated at all times, in all seasons of life. 

Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. James 1:22

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Twilight, Beth Moore, and Christ

I watched a movie last night that may cause some of you to roll your eyes and laugh out loud, or possibly judge me, or some of you, I know will "high five" me.  The movie was Twilight.  I have many christian friends who have read all the books and seen the movies.  I also have christian friends who consider this book/movie something to stay away from.  There are certain movies that I would never consider watching.  I am not talking R or even X rated- I am talking about some PG 13 movies!  I won't go into the titles, because my point is not to argue over what is appropriate to watch and what is not, because really that is a choice we all get to make for ourselves.  We all have the ability to draw our own line.  It's the conviction we feel in our heart and mind.  And since we are not robots, I have a strong feeling, even if we agree on the majority of things, some where one of us will have their line drawn a little further to the left or the right than the other at different times for different reasons.

I will be honest, I felt the movie Twilight was "cheesy" in many ways but there was a point in the movie where Edward is trying to explain to Bella why he has to stay away from her, but he feels powerless to do so... and there is a depth to his eyes, at that very moment that you can almost feel the conflict within him. The director did a great job capturing up close facial shots and the actors portrayed more than the script words could even say with certain looks, body language and facial expressions. At one point in the movie Edward miraculous saves Bella's life from an on coming van that would have crushed her to death. 

I am by no means promoting the book or movie but in my opinion Stephanie Meyers was able to create something so powerful, so compelling, that young girls and women of all ages, are talking about it all over the world. Why is that? I think its because she hit a nerve within our emotions, desires, and yes, our insecurities. 

I am reading a book called, So, Long Insecurity by Beth Moore.  I have dealt with insecurity issues for my entire life. Last night while watching Twilight, there were certain times and things I noticed that gave me  "aha" moments, to things I have been reading. Specifically with Bella's own insecurities. She seeks the "forbidden" fruit of sorts, when she sees Edward and hears the gossip about him and his family.  Her own insecurities could possibly stem from her parents divorce, and her sacrifice of choosing to live with her father, so her mother can travel and be with her new husband.  There did not seem to be any tension or problems, but you could see that Bella and her dad didn't know each other very well and while I suspect he was a good man in general, he seemed to be a man who certainly did not wear his heart on his sleeve, he wasn't touchy feely, he was a man of a few words, a very simple man who loved his job as the town Sheriff.

As Beth Moore says, when you are hurting or insecure you almost always tend to look for or become attracted to that same type of person (and I believe later on in the book-which I am not there yet- but she has alluded to this...she talks about the people who look for those of us who struggle with insecurity issues).  Bella saw herself as an outcast although she really wasn't.  I believe this fact made her more drawn to the Cullen family, they were all outcasts. When we struggle with how we perceive ourselves and with our insecurities, we will continue to go in the same vicious circle we have travelled in for our whole life, until we decide to stop and work on the areas in our life and heart that keep us from moving forward and out of the circle.

All of the things that made me "like" this movie were emotional factors. No surprise here, women are emotional.   The fact that Edward wanted Bella so badly that he had to force himself to have self control or stay away from her. Edward portrayed his feelings with such depth and the fact that Bella was desperate for his attention, added to the emotion.  The things he said to her, the way he wanted to protect her and keep her safe no matter the cost to himself, the way he always desired to be with her, the way he wanted her to be a part of his life and family, the way he deeply cared for her.  The way he trusted her.  The way she trusted him. 

Now if you go with me to another aspect of all of this....these things speak to women...what woman doesn't want to be wanted deeply, what woman doesn't want unconditional love from a man, what woman doesn't want to feel so incredibly special, what woman doesn't want to matter in a significant way in another life, what woman doesn't want to feel safe and secure.  What woman doesn't want a man with proven self control, what woman doesn't want to feel so loved and cared for that her "man" wants to bring her into his family and community.

Who could ever possibly fill all these needs in a real life woman? As Beth says in her book...that is a lot to ask of any man, and she says there are just as many men out there looking for a woman to fill all their needs as well!  We are looking for someone to fill every need in our heart, when the fact of the matter is, it belongs to only one...Jesus!  Jesus is the only one who can fill each and every need we have.  He also desires us completely.  He will also guard and protect you. He thinks you are beautiful (after all He created you).  He is constantly telling us of the importance of fellowship and community, in other words, He desires to bring us into his family and the community.  He constantly tell us in the word that  He wrote and inspired, to call upon Him and abide in Him. And He died for YOU!  What more could we want? 

But like Edward and Bella's relationship-they made time for each other, they learned how to spend time together, they desired to be near each other,...this is same thing we need to do in order to have that kind of relationship with Christ.  We need to be intentional and get into the word and study it so we understand it.  We need to surround ourselves with other believers who will encourage and inspire us.  We can feel a sense of belonging and community, but its a choice.  If you are expecting someone else to fill all of your needs you are looking in the wrong direction man (people) will always let you down, they will always be flawed, no one is capable of ever being ALL to someone else.  This is real life.  Dig deeper into who you are.  If you know you have a hole in a particular area of your life....dig deep and see what you can do to fix it, and of course the more we learn to trust and lean on our Saviour the easier it will be.

Led me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation
Psalm 25:5

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Long Term Marriages

As I was reading the morning newspaper today a headline caught my attention...Gore's Split is Part of Boomer Trend.  Normally, I do not read these type of articles because, well, honestly they just make me mad.  I knew that I wanted to write a blog on the topic, so I decided I should read the article to make sure I was not judging a book by its cover.  Just for the record, my judgement was right (at least in my opinion) and yes, the article did make me mad.  I will attempt to take my anger and turn it into passion, hopefully that is what you will see in this blog. 

The large quote next to the headline said, "I was 60 and I was thinking", "I have 25 more good years left, what do I want the rest of my life to look like?".  Henry McMackin married 32 years.  Later on in the article he said he is now 65 years old and feels liberated and he thinks his ex wife feels the same.  He goes on to say that he and his (ex) wife no longer had anything in common and that his infidelity killed his marriage.  Ok, I need to insert a little sarcasm here.... really?  you mean infidelity ruined your marriage and you no longer had anything in common with the woman who spent 32 years of her life with you, and helped raise two sons. I wonder if he even tried communicating with the woman that HE asked to marry him.  I wonder if he was willing to go to counseling.  I wonder if he attempted to find any common ground with the woman he made vows and commitments  to 32 years ago.  I wonder how he justified his infidelity when he first crossed that line. If we are all honest here, infidelity is not about the one who is being cheated on its about the person doing the cheating. What happened to honor, integrity, respect, and communication.  Attributes that should be in your marriage at all times, even when you feel you no longer have anything in common, even when you feel you are not satisfied, even when you have allowed children, finances, careers, illness, financial problems, etc, to come in between you and the person you chose to marry.  Why have we allowed the "world" to say honor, respect, integrity, and communication, no longer matter in marriages.  Why has it become so easy to no longer honor your commitment.  One word....selfishness. 

(I feel the need to say this does not apply to marriages where abuse, mental illness, or addictions are present).

Ok now this is where I will (attempt) to take the anger and turn it into passion...

Mr. McMackin said at the age of 28 he felt he needed to be married. He said, " In those days if you weren't married then it was assumed you were gay or had commitment problems". It seems he married his wife for the wrong reasons and it is apparent that he did have commitment problems. The lesson here is don't settle, don't be afraid to address your own issues (especially before you invite someone in), don't do something just because it's what everyone else is doing or is expected, do it because you want to with your whole heart. Before you ask someone to marry you or before you say yes, understand marriage takes work, sometimes hard work. And it will only work if BOTH people are in it to win it.
As a woman who has walked through divorce, I will admit that I married my first husband for all the wrong reasons (if you have read my book you know what all those reasons are).  I also saw red flags and ignored them.  For nine years I lived in a constant state of fear and love for my first husband. That is not what a marriage should be based on. Fear and love never equal a healthy relationship. 

I have been married to my (second) husband for fourteen years and I can honestly say I love him more today than I did when we first married.  I love my husband and I have never feared him. The relationship I have with my husband is 100% different than my first marriage. I know that I want to spend as many years with him as I possible can. I look forward to growing old with him.

So, how do those of us who desire to stay in a healthy marriage keep it going.  I have come up with a list of things and I welcome your input as well.

More importantly before I give you my list I want to say, before you say, "I do", make sure you are making a choice that you want to make.  Make sure it's for the right reasons. Make sure you understand marriage takes work and yes, there will be times, even seasons, where all of your needs may not get met, but before you seek the comfort of someone else, ask what can YOU do to help the situation. What can YOU do to communicate your needs and desires in a way that will be beneficial to you both. What can YOU do to encourage this marriage to get stronger.

Below are some ideas for married couples who desire to keep honor, integrity, respect, and communication at the top of their priority list.  Start today so you can grow old together AND be happy.

Start with finding a common interest. There are so many things all around us...movies, reading, book clubs, travel (even just driving around locally), volunteering, dance lessons, painting/drawing classes, exercise classes, biking, walking, bowling, tennis, golf, hiking, camping.  You can check out your local YMCA or Rec. Center they are full of classes and clubs.  The idea is just find something that is a common interest to both of you 

It's also ok to have separate interests-it keeps you-you.You can encourage each other and support each others passions but remember to take time to nurture your marriage

Always keep the communication lines open...talk about simple day to day things, as well as, deeper issues

Ask each other questions and be willing to respect each others opinion

Listen with your ears and your heart

Take time to kiss, hug, and compliment each other

Remember your manners...it's amazing how far a "thank you" can go

Keep intimacy alive in your marriage

Pray together

Be willing to admit when you are wrong

Be willing to show grace, mercy, and forgiveness

Be encouraging to each other

Be willing to acknowledge if a certain season of life is too much...invest in your marriage and seek counseling if its needed

I am sure this list could go on and on but for now I will stop and say to all of the Mr. McMackin's and Mr. and Mrs.Gore's of the world, I am truly sorry for the demise of your relationship and I hope for each of you out there, that you find what you feel you are missing out in life.  To the rest of the world...remember don't settle and if you are in a marriage that seems as if the season you are in is no longer tolerable... I challenge you to ask yourself...what can YOU do to start the healing and moving forward together process. 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Acting Like Eve

I think at one time or another we have all been guilty of doing what I am about to write about (I put myself in this category as well). Have you ever believed or passed on information  that you have not verified from the original source. With technology today this can happen often with the ease of email, facebook, and Twitter.  It is done with good intentions, but it only takes one person to see something from someone who they trust, know, or assume to be a reliable source, and then the ball continues to roll.  Case and point is, I have had an email account  for well over ten years now, and I remember back then, getting URGENT emails about how the FCC and Madalyn Murry O'Hair were fighting to take all religious TV personality's and shows off  of the air.  That same email is still floating around.  I just received an "updated" version of the story a few weeks ago.  This story is FALSE.  There are numerous forwards just like this that continue to get passed around and get people worried over nothing.  How many forwards or story's have we forwarded or re-told without really knowing if it is true or not.  We assume that it is correct because it came from someone who we deem as reliable and it sounds somewhat possible. (hmmm see any correlation to Eve and the snake here).

There is a web site called http://www.snopes.com/ that you can go to to verify if a email story is correct or not.   Before you post something or send  a forward, take a moment to check the story out.  If it's not listed on Snopes, then dig a little deeper to see where the original email came from, and get more information, before you hit the send button, or post something to Facebook or Twitter. If its a real story then it is well worth a few extra minutes of our time to explore the truth, so that we can confidently send out accurate information. 

This also reminds of something our pastor says regularly... he strongly encourages us every Sunday to bring our Bible and to read along with him.  As christians, we need to know that we know, what God's word says. If we are only relying on someone else to feed us, we will never grow the way God meant for us to grow.  How can it be a personal relationship if I am relaying on a third party.  I love my pastor but his word is not Gospel.  He is a man and he will be the first to tell you he struggles with sin issues just like the rest of us. My husband and I love that we are under our church and our pastor's teaching and covering, but we also love that we are encouraged to dig deeper in our own walks and we are encouraged to *see* the word as it is being preached.

These are two very different examples but the point is the same...take time in your day to be your own advocate.  Don't just blindly pass along information, especially important pressing information or stories. Make sure you know, that you know, especially when it comes to passing along (and understanding) biblical information.

I believe when we allow ourselves to become lackadaisical in one area of our life, then it opens the door for more, and before you know it, we have with all good intentions, created confusion, panic, and unnecessary stress, in other peoples lives (and possibly our own as well). We have also allowed the enemy to gain another (small as it might be) victory.  With a "tool" he has been crafting since the beginning of time.

John 8:32  and you will know the truth, and truth will make you free

Monday, May 10, 2010

May 9, 2009

Mothers Day...This year was the first Mothers Day that I did not talk to my mom.  Since most of you who read my blog have read my book, A Scarlet Cord of Hope, you already know of the strained relationship that we have.

I told my mom up front when I realized my journaling was going to be more than just for "me" and I was pursuing writing a book.  I don't think she realized the magnitude of what the book was about.  I will be honest, I did not go into big details with her either.  As you already know our conversations are few and far between and I am "on guard" when we do have conversations.  She never really asked a lot of questions and I never really shared much.  I needed to have a clear mind while I was in the writing process. When I realized this was going to be a book, I knew in my heart at some point, I would send it to her and it would either open her eyes, and she would get the help she desperately needs, and we could have the relationship that I believe we both want deep in our hearts. Or it would push her away from me, and I would become non-existent to her.  I believe in my heart that my mom loves me, but her love always has "conditions".  Some of those "conditions" require that you not confront her with anything at all related to her choices or behaviour, and that you always take her side of things, and that you can not contradict her or try to ask many questions. 

The things I write about her in my book are all true, and its the first time, that any of us (myself, my sister, my step dad and to my knowledge any other family member) has ever confronted her with her behaviour and choices and how they affected someone else. I knew in my heart if she read the book she would most likely "hate" me.  It was a risk I had to take. I truly felt in my heart this was something I needed to do. I also felt it would help me move forward in my own healing process. I know that I know God is with me and has put me on this path...I believe this with all of my heart. I did not want her to buy the book nor to receive it from anyone else....I needed to give it to her myself. As I worked through all of this with much prayer, my husband, and my doctor, we decided that I would only send it to her at her request.  I would also include a letter explaining my heart and motive for the book and for our relationship. 

January 12, 2010 she asked for a copy of the book and I mailed it along with a letter that I prayed and cried over on January 14, 2010.  As of today I have not heard a word from her.  She did not acknowledge my birthday this year (in March) but she did acknowledge my daughters wedding (in April) and sent her a card.  I know she is "OK" as other family  have heard from her but according to them she has not mentioned me at all.  It's as if I no longer exist.  My heart aches for her.  In the midst of my relationship with my mom I have gone through several stages of grief: denial, guilt, anger, and now reflection.  I am reflecting on everything about "us".  I am sad but I am also clinging onto hope.

I did not feel right NOT acknowledging her on Mothers Day, but I also did not feel right sending her a "Happy Mothers Day" card either. After much prayer, I decided to type a note with a picture of flowers on it.  I stated that I loved  her and and pray for her every day and that I hope she is doing well.  I mentioned that our home and family were completely safe and no damage from the recent flood that was all around us (Nashville flood of 2010).  I also told her I had sent pictures from my daughters wedding to her local Wal Mart for her to pick up, if she wanted to see them.  I tried to find a balance of acknowledging the day but not putting anything under the rug.  I do love her and my hearts prayer is that some how, some way, by Gods divine power, that her heart will soften, she will choose sobriety, and she will seek the help that she needs to move forward in HOPE today.

At times it seems so complicated to me and other times it feels like it all makes sense, and yet other times I feel that "little girl" in me second guessing everything, and for a brief moment thinking what can I do to make this all better for her.  Most of the time though I know this how it needs to be.  I am not responsible for my mom or her choices, behaviours, or feelings.  I do not long for our "old" relationship...I want a new fresh relationship with her.  I want her to feel the hope, grace, and forgiveness that I feel.  I grieve for the lack of relationship that I have with her.  At times, especially these past few months, its like a a deep sadness in my heart but as odd as it may sound, I also have  peace.  I know God is bigger.  I know God has a plan and purpose.  I know God can heal our relationship and heal my mothers physical and emotional pains and scars, as well as her addictions. 

I feel we are at a cross roads now....even though she has completely ignored me and feels possibly that I am dead to her, I will love her with all my heart and never stop praying, never stop hoping, But, I can not and will not go back to where we were. 

So, there you have it, I wear my heart on my sleeve...thank you for taking time to read this and for caring.  I always feel vulnerable when I share this openly but I also feel better.  If you feel led please pray for my mom.  Her name is Sandy. 

Romans 15:13 Now may the god of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit

Monday, April 26, 2010

Marriage and In-Law Advice


The day finally arrived April 17, 2010...my daughter became a wife.  I am so happy for her.  She has not only married her best friend but she has also gained a family.  I know not all marriage's come with ideal in- laws but my daughter is very blessed in her new extended family. Her mother in-law has been praying for her since before she was even born.  I can also say I have been praying for my son in-law since he was around three or four years old.  Prayer alone doesn't make for a "good in law" but it is a good start.

In honor and in celebration of marriage and for in law relationships I wanted to give you an opportunity to share some of the best marriage/in law advice you have found either through your own experience or advice someone told you. (*if for some reason you can't post here email me at Sheryl@SherylGriffin.com and I will add it here w/ your name)

Here are some thoughts I have;

on marriage

1.  Marriage takes work- be willing to work hard even when you don't "feel" like it
2.  Love and serve each other well
3.  Pray for your spouse daily

on being an in-law

1.  Pray for your "in-law" daily

I could go on and on but I want to hear from YOU....so please take a moment to type your best marriage and or in-law advice or wisdom.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A Mommy Moment

Today is what I like to call "A Mommy Moment". Today March 13, 2010 is my daughter Lauren's Bridal Shower. She wanted a small private event with her closest friends and family. As the weeks and days have inched closer to this event I have found myself reflecting more and more about her childhood, her teen years, her young adult years, even the hard times. Mostly I find myself thinking how truly happy I am to share in this moment with her. She is about to marry the man of her dreams. A man God has hand picked just for her. I know he will love and cherish her with his whole heart. For that, I feel extremely blessed and grateful.

Last night as I was thinking about this day and among the details I was also wondering what I should wear. For some reason I instantly recalled how I had on a pink blouse at my baby shower when I was pregnant with her. We chose not to find out if she was going to be a boy or a girl but deep down inside I had a feeling she was a girl. I thought it would be fitting to wear pink again today. You see I picked pink at my baby shower becasue I felt in heart she was going to be a girl (although I never told anyone I felt this).  Baby showers are a celebration that very soon a baby will  be born and it will mark the beginning of a new life with lots of changes and experiences. This bridal shower has the same meaning. This is a celebration that in a few short weeks it will be the beginning of a new life and lots of changes for my (grown up) baby now.

This moment is truly God answering a mother’s prayer. I am in the moment right now and I love you Lauren Elizabeth and thank you for allowing me to be such a part of your life. I know with all my heart that Stephen is the man God purposed just for you. I am so glad you found each other.   I will always treasure that God gave me a small glimpse of what was to come after you both met face to face for the first time....I knew then when he texted you and said he was still nervous. I looked at you and said, "It’s because he knows you are the one"...and then you looked at me and said "MOM! We just met!” I smiled and laughed but deep in my heart I just knew!

I celebrate this Mommy Moment with all of the other mothers who have prayed and watched their children grow up and leave the nest of "home" to make a new nest of "home" starting a new beginning with their beloved.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Honor or Fear

Have you ever been in a situation where you had a choice to make and the choice you make has the potential to make someone (specifically your spouse) mad. Do you make the choice and then your heart and mind fill with fear because you are afraid of his/her wrath, temper, or retaliation. Do you make the choice and know while it may not be a choice he/she will be happy with, you take responsibility and talk it through with your spouse/significant other.

I have lived on both sides of that street. There is a huge difference in choosing to honor someone vs. being afraid of their response. I believe marriage should be about choosing to love, honor and serve one another. Sometimes though life happens and we will disappoint or even anger our spouse (hopefully unintentionally). In these times we need to be able to communicate in love, take time to "chill out" if necessary, pray, express our disappointment without tearing the other person down or shaming them, and ultimately offer forgiveness and be willing to move forward together. Notice fear is no where in this description.

I recall one time that I made my husband Doug mad. It was several years ago and he was scheduled to appear on a local TV show that was promoting brides and wedding ideas. He was picked to talk about wedding DJ's (he has been a mobile DJ for over 20 yrs and I must say he is very good!), before he left for the day, he set the VCR to record the show. I, for some reason, thought he had set the channel for the wrong channel and went about to fix it for him. Later as I was watching the show I realized I was wrong (yes, even in my good intention!). I quickly tried to fix my error but it was too late, his segment was over. I was so mad at myself! Even though I had thought I was doing the right thing I was wrong. I felt awful. I remember suddenly being very aware and recognizing that even though I knew my husband would be mad, I was not afraid. I definitely felt remorse and was not looking forward to telling him what I had done. I knew he would be disappointed but you see I was not afraid of his response. I knew he would mad and disappointed but I also knew he would forgive me and that he loved me more than having a tape of the show he was on.

Honoring someone doesn't mean you become a robot and only do things that always make that person happy. There is a line, and yes as a wife, I always want to strive to honor and please my husband but not at the cost of losing who I am as a person. And not at the cost of being a "robot". The same goes for my husband. I don’t want a robot either. There will always be times when we disappoint one another or make the other person mad, but as long as we can talk through the situation, take responsibility, have a repentant heart, ask forgiveness, and if necessary give each other space, the end result should be that we have weathered a storm together and we continue to move forward.

If you are in a relationship and you feel any form of fear (and especially if there is any kind of violence, manipulation or control) I encourage you to seek help. Talk to your pastor, a trusted family member or friend or contact the national domestic violence hot line at 1-800-799-7233 or http://www.ndvh.org/

One day at a time. One moment at a time. There is always hope.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Wiping The Dust From Your Feet

Recently we invited someone to our home for conversation. I say conversation because it was someone from another church/denomination that we are not a part of. It is also an organization that a family member has recently become interested in. I had a few preconceived ideas of what I thought this denomination believed in but I wanted to make sure I knew 100% before I gave my full opinion. I also knew that this group of people seemed to be pursuing this family member in a very intentional, gentle, loving, grace filled manner. My heart attitude was to be just as intentional in finding out what the differences and concerns might be.

This blog will not be about which denomination nor which family member I am referencing. It is about the deliberate act and reference of one of the person's we invited in. For the record,the invitation into our home towards these people was a direct result of their visit to us. They had received information from someone in their denomination in the state that my family member lives in, and they were told that we had questions.

Once we established and understood (in a VERY polite and friendly manner on both sides) what the theological differences truly were (and it was obvious neither of us were budging in our beliefs) and what the purpose of our questions were, we ended our time briefly talking about other topics outside of religion. For all intents and purposes it was a nice visit. At the end of our time together as they walked to the front door the wife walked out first and the husband stayed in the door way talking a few more minutes. As he turned to go through the door I happened to glance down towards the floor and noticed as he stepped out of the door frame and onto the door mat he deliberately (but not dramatically) wiped both of his feet as if he was instead entering the house and not the outside. I meant to say something to my husband and forgot as our conversation turned towards different topics we had that night with this couple. The image kept lingering in my mind. I finally remembered to tell my husband what I noticed. He said he was probably "wiping the dust from his feet". I was familiar with this term but wanted to understand how it could apply to us and why would this couple feel the need to gesture this towards us. There are several references in the Bible to this deliberate act (Matthew 10:14, Acts 13:51, Luke 9:5, 10:11, Mark 6:11). Shaking the dust from your feet towards a person is done to symbolize a complete break in fellowship and renunciation (abandonment, denial or disavowing) of all further responsibility towards this person or people. I will confess at first I was very offended that this person felt strongly enough that he needed to show it (actions speak louder than words) even if he did not intend for us to see it. I have now taken a different approach and actually feel good that he felt the need to break fellowship and disavow us and our beliefs. You see to me this means they realized they could not penetrate our hearts and minds with their doctrine and beliefs. We were solid. We know that we know. The other thing is we did it without arguing, yelling, or finger pointing.

I have never felt so strongly against anyone that I would wipe the dust from my feet towards them. I am a firm believer in boundaries (and limiting contact if necessary) but in my opinion there is a difference in a boundary and the act of breaking fellowship and renunciation. I also realize there are times when someone may make choices and their heart may not be repentant and in order to protect yourself and those you love you must draw a deep line and shake the dust from your feet (I think these are rare times and should be done with the counsel of your pastor and church). This should also be done in the manner that the Bible tells us of in Mathew 18:15-17. The key though is to face the person. I think that is what is bothering me the most. They gave us the illusion this was a "friendly" conversation but inside their hearts were obviously not matching the appearance that they tried to convey. Their hearts were hard towards us once they realized we were not on the same page and we were unwilling to agree with them (even though it was done in a friendly -non argumentative way).

I believe you should never stop praying (and hoping) for someone who has made the choice of unrepentence or unbelief and walked away...as long as there is breath there IS hope. There is a balance though, the Bible also tells us to be wise...so before you give to much hope (you don’t want to cast your pearls before swine) or you are to quick to wipe the dust from your feet, earnestly pray and seek Godly counsel and as hard as it is you need to confront that person.

I am glad that my husband and I apparently made it clear where we stand and that we are firm in our foundation and beliefs. I also want to strive even more to let my actions speak louder than my words, because you never know who may see an action that you do not intend for them to *see*.

*for those who do not know me personally- incase you are wondering I am a Christian- I am a member of Strong Tower Bible Church- a non denominational church.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

I Am on a Snow Path


In the state that we live in, we are able to experience all four of the seasons. Fall is my favorite season. I love the feel of the weather changing, the slight crispness in the morning to the warm afternoons. I love the colorful changes in the leaves and the way they fall to the ground so gracefully when they are done.


Right now we are in the winter season. Winters here can be cold and bare. If we are lucky we have a few snow days from school. The typical snow day from school usually amounts to a few flurries, ice, or some scattered snow that doesn't leave much to even make a small snowman. Every once in a while we have an exception. Yesterday was an exception. I would estimate we have at least 5-7 inches of snow. I love the way the snow illuminates everything in the darkness. The snow is pure and fresh looking. In its beauty you can also see every flaw. You can see every foot step that stepped upon it. Nothing is hidden from sight.

This made me think about our lives and our hearts. I think people are good at covering up or hiding the "foot prints" that have marked our lives. I know I have been in the past. It's like a protective wall.  I have to remind myself that my past does not dictate who I am today. It has always made me cringe a bit when I meet someone and they assume that I have had (and currently have) a picture perfect life. WOW! That is so far from the truth!

I am in a place now where I have put myself on a completely snow/ice filled path. Everything is illuminated. I would like to say it’s completely my choice but to be honest it hasn't been. It was God directing and leading me to this point. It has been at times very scary for me because I feel so vulnerable. It seems when I feel this way God in His perfect timing places someone right in my path to encourage me or tell me how my story has encouraged them and given them HOPE.

Its time to stop allowing our scarlet cords of guilt, shame, and fear to dictate how we can live for today. It’s never too late. Take it one step at a time. One moment at a time. Be pro-active and don't be afraid to march forward and hold tight to HOPE. Not everyone is called to the "snow path" but I can promise you there is freedom if you are. Sometimes it might mean sharing with only one person. Other times it might mean sharing with many people. Sometimes it may mean asking forgiveness or forgiving someone.  There is freedom in truth. There is freedom in acknowledging something and then moving forward. 

Today is a new day! Yesterday does not mean today will be the same.

One day at a time, one moment at a time, there is always HOPE!

(*to order a copy of A Scarlet Cord of Hope please see the profile information on the left side or email me at Sheryl@SherylGrififn.com)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Feeling Like Moses



I had my first official book signing Friday January 15, 2010. I am still in a state of awe that I was actually at a book signing-signing copies of my book! If someone would have told me two years ago that I would write a book, I would have laughed at them.


I was an average student in school. While I loved reading, writing was not an area of strength for me. I did not plan to write a book but God apparently had a plan and I am going along for the ride. It’s not about me or my story. It’s all about God and how He can take the puzzle pieces of our life put them together and use all of our "stuff" for His glory.  Nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37).


I still find myself saying to God "are you sure God? "Really God, you can use ME?” I feel a bit like Moses did, he did not feel qualified for the purpose God had for him. Moses had guilt and shame in his past (Exodus 2:12-15), he had doubt (Exodus 3:12, 4:1), Moses did not feel he was qualified to lead or speak (Exodus 4:10), and in spite of all of this God continued to affirm, use, and lead Moses. I am no where near Moses status but I do understand his shame, guilt and doubt.


I have no idea what God's ultimate plan and purpose is for this book and the ministry that is being birthed through it. I do know I want to trust and not lean on my own understanding. I want to spread the good news of the Gospel and tell everyone who is wearing a Scarlet Cord of guilt, shame, and fear that they can "exchange" it for a Scarlet Cord of Hope!


There is always HOPE!

To order a copy of A Scarlet Cord of Hope please send a check for $15.00 plus $3.00 shipping to Sheryl Griffin P.O. Box 680522 Franklin, TN 37068 Please include a note with your name, address, and email. If you are interested in having me speak at an upcoming event please email me at Sheryl@sherylgriffin.com