The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me...
To comfort all who mourn, To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified."

Isaiah 61:1,2c,3 (New King James Version)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

My Idols.

Most know that holding false idols is one of the big Ten Commandment "no-nos," I have two most readily identifiable in my life. What are they? Well, it's who are they really; Makenna Jo and Cheyenne Rose. Yup. I value them and do more for them than I ever have for God. I'm sure there are other idols, but those two little blessings have turned to idols.
Now, before anyone jumps and says "you're sposta, it's what Mothers do." THAT'S THE PROBLEM!!!!! Mother's identify themselves by their children, they become their god. That is PRECISELY the reason that Mom's "die" when their children do. That is why, I believe  losing a child is deemed the worst thing that could happen to someone. Wouldn't the worse thing for a Christian to learn is that their God is dead? Their reason to live truly IS gone because one of their children was their idol, their God and in the process they do not give God the praise he alone deserves they deemed their plan for the child better than his and die to this world with little to hold onto in the next. How do I know this? I'm living it. Is it true for every Mom? No. But, I truly think it might be a running trend in my non scientific poll.
Please don't take this as Mothers shouldn't love their kiddos like there is no tomorrow, they should - and we'll talk about what "love" is in a later post. What I'm saying is children should not be idols, they should not be valued more than the awesome God who gave us them as a blessing. They should be valued as a blessing, and protected, loved on, taught, and disciplined to become God fearing individuals who will walk the walk and talk the talk. Who learn to listen to God's plan and live it out! Mom's need to gain the conviction that our children aren't "ours" nothing of this world is. It's all on lease and not permanent.
Tonight, I heard  it said for some our world will be the closest to heaven they ever get, for others it will be the closest to hell. The more I choose to sin, to worship false idols the more I stall my growth as a Christian, in my relationship with God the more I gamble with the chance of this world being the closest to heaven I ever get. The longer I live in pain and confusion searching for the answers to "whys" that aren't mine to have.  When I arrive in the place the Jesus truly lives in my heart, when his words and his desires are on my mind, mouth, and heart and I walk the walk, I will find peace that this earth is the closest to hell I will ever get. It's a struggle, the Devil has a foothold sometimes and it gets welcomed every time I sin.
Tonight, I'm starting with idols. Mentally, it's easier to know Makenna is God's knowing she is literally with him now. Cheyenne is a challenge. The anxiety and fears I have for her draw my heart's ears away from listening to God and hearing how I should work his love into her life. Giving her up to God, sacrificing my dreams for his plan is terrifying. But, it's a parachute moment - only one way to test it out and that's to take the jump. So, I'll pray for her, I'll pray for me - to help me show her God's love, that she has an open heart to receive it. Pray that God gives her just enough and she is both strong and humble enough to endure it.  I'll pray for me, that I could be as strong as Moses mom and symbolically place my baby in the river and know that God has bigger plans for her. I love her, I love Makenna and for each I pray I can accept God's plan for him, for HE is Great.
Life is good. God is Great.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

February 21, 2010. The war begins

Since then I felt attacked, first I blamed myself, then Colt, then the USMC, then well even got to Bass Pro and them selling that gun. Lately, I've come to realize it's Satan to blame for any guilt I have or any "need" to point a finger. As soon as I realized that, the has come into my mind, taunting me and sending me into a whirlwind. A daily battle to not let evil take over my mind and effect how God wants me to live this life.

......... That morning I was upstairs with Cheyenne, doing my hair. I wanted to be pretty, things were going well with Colton and I and we had a wonderful family day planned at the Zoo with some friends. I kept thinking to myself, we could still make it to church if I went and got Makenna from her high chair, I debated calling colt to bring her up. Then decided I liked the slow pace of the morning, that we should enjoy it. I watched Chey looking at me as I curled my hair. Then heard it, I ran to the stairwell and called for Colt..once...twice...three times.  "NOOOOOO" I heard, I flew down the stairs, heard those words, and that right then is when God took me from my self and covered me with him love and grace in his one arm, and escorted my Makadoo to Heaven.
God's been there ever, I've drifted. Satan and his evil influences have changed my thinking and takes this event to fill me with anxiety, fear, and hate. Today for example, my Mom leaves with Chey to a store that is literally two blocks away. As soon as she pulls out of the driveway I feel like I should of gone. That I need to be with Chey, just in case. That "just in case" escalates to; my brain creating an elaborate scenario so intense, I end up pacing the house, vomiting, and crying uncontrollably. They scenario? Chey and my Mom die in a fiery car crash. It gets so vivid I can picture them burning, in various stages. I envision what I will wear to the funerals, and compose what I'll say to the police officers when they bring me the news...even how I would continue to hold my family together - to hide my hurt from them. How I would wear that cape and continue to be perceived as brave, inspiring, and strong as I am told so often in the wake of Makenna's death. Today, was the first time it was so intense, but nightly the devil influences my thoughts into thinking the worst will happen when I decide to ignore anything I think. I did it once, and my daughter was shot and killed one floor beneath me...could it happen again?
The scary answer. Absolutely.
So where do I put my trust? How do I do that? With faith the size of a mustard seed you can move mountains, and with a prayer the devil can be demolished. But death can't. Death hasn't been defeated on our earth. It happens. Yes there is eternal life in heaven with a God so good who loves us all. But the pain here is REAL. It's a real peace I experience knowing she is in perfect care, that seconds are eternity, and eternity are seconds and if she longs for her Mama, she won't feel the ache I do here to be with her. But while she is up there, half my heart is walking out here. She's running away from me in stores, in my back seat on the 91 freeway, free to eat hard candy and grapes, and living in a world where children die from bee stings to terrible cancers. The Devil reminds me of that. He whispers , "your God didn't love you enough to let you keep Makenna, why would he let you keep Chey" or "Your faith is too weak, you doubt to much how do you call upon such an awesome God to protect her?" and mostly - "You don't deserve this happiness, you are broken." I forget to pray, I forget where to put my trust and I believe it. I believe that I'm not important enough for miracles and perhaps God doesn't exist. So how do I end up back here? Believing that God does love me, has a plan, and cries tears with me? I DON'T KNOW.
It's in my guts. It's the feeling deep inside my heart that knows he is good and what the bible says is true. It's the prayers I know are out there for me, and the ones I whisper when I remember the feeling of being in the light. It's the grace and salvation that God promised me when he allowed Jesus to be massacred upon a cross so many years ago. What brings me back here, is KNOWING it wasn't me that picked myself up off a hospital floor in Virginia, walked to a car, and returned home to my daughter here on earth to continue to be her mother.
But, I refuse to be a shell. I refuse to merely survive. To wake up in the morning and thinking I have to put on a show.  I refuse to let the devil whisper non truths into my ears and coerce me into living in anxiety instead of abundance and happiness like God will provide. So today, I'm seeking counseling and help. Prayers from my friends and loved ones. I'm retiring the cape and getting on my knees. Accepting help and pouring into the word. I think it's time to grieve. It's scary. I feel like my toes are on the edge of the plane and I'm ready to jump. Trusting my parachute will open...that there is a bigger plan that I just need to have faith in.
Anyone want to join me?
Life is great. God is good.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


No really, do you see? I didn't. I didn't even think to look at the broader picture tonight, and had I not listened to that clear voice that came from somewhere deeper than my guts I wouldn't of looked again.
I guess the best way to make this the least confusing is to start where it began, on a softball field this past fall.
A friend, was warming up as we prepared for a game and she asked me to be a part of a small group exploring the book Captivating. She spoke of it like it held magic secrets to bring me happiness to fulfill the parts of me that needed to be filled. She radiated happiness...Honestly, I looked at her and thought  - that chick is totally in love with God. I was excited.
I read the first chapter, attended the small groups, we've cried, we've grown, I've gained friends - sister's in Christ. Who I'm not scared to share my deepest fears with. My growth in my faith is exponential - but mostly it's the depletion of doubt. The ability to pray now and not doubt that God is listening....most of the time.
So tonight, in group. Another girl, spoke of how God will provide what our heart yearns for when it's time. It's up to us to be patient. If ANYONE reading this knows me, patience is not my strong suit. (I also learned to night not to pray for it, but that's another blog) When she said this, it dawned on me. There is a bigger plan, it's not God that puts the stuff that gets under my skin into my life - it's the devil, and it's not always his pursuit of me that does it, sometimes its my pursuit of this world that does it. It was like a light bulb went off. I felt inspired, I felt that I had finally "got it" got the message God was trying to bring to me. He says, Grow with me, walk with me, and you will live abundantly. I see it now.
So, on the way home. I prayed. I turned down the radio, I asked God to reveal to me the beauty he wishes for me to see in this world. I've prayed this prayer a thousand times over it seems. I searched the sky for a shinier star..or perhaps a meteorite to shut down the road i have to use to get to work tomorrow..and those revelations didn't come. Then, I got a strong desire to look over my left shoulder, there in the sky was what looked like someone had stuck their finger in the sky and painted me a happy face. I laughed, and would easily of discounted it from being what I had asked had it stopped there. The grin did spark memories of my trip to the Aquarium to celebrate the gift of Makenna on her birthday last May. A stingray had swam over me in a tunnel that goes through one of the tanks, and I noticed how they looked like they smiled, I snapped a picture and thought how appropriate it was Mak's favorite animal had a perpetual grin.  As I reminisced about my joyous days at the aquarium, and my last weekend of "normal" I heard a voice, a voice coming from deeper than my guts saying, No Jess, look again and SEE. I did. That grin I saw earlier was intentionally placed in a gigantic finger painting of a stingray, it's fins and tales gliding across the night sky, covering heavens for what seemed like forever. I cried, I looked again, I screamed, I felt loved, desired, and yes fulfilled.  I felt that what I was waiting for, for sooo long had been given to me. In a moment of peace and quiet - that I could be shown by God that he is there, and the desires of my true heart will be fulfilled when I calm myself, reflect on what I know, and choose to see what he blesses me with.
Life if Good. God is GREAT!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Just laying here, under my shield.

I have to admit, bbeginning Christmas Eve, as I looked under the tree and just felt there were toys missing I've been fighting a spiritual war. My armor feels thin, and my heart vulnerable. It's an interesting concept, when the conclusion is drawn that while you do not actively pursue the devil - he is actively pursuing you. This past week he is winning the battle, but that's all the war will be conquered in the powerful strength of our Lord's Grace and Promise. Strength wise, I feel like my only protection is to role in the fetal position, protect my heart and my guts and let him take the licks where they will matter the least.  I defend with what I can when I can, I pray that I will find a renewed strength as the sun rises in the morning and raise my sword again and fight valiantly.
I like how "The Message" shares Roman's 13:12-28
"But make sure that you don't get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God. The night is about over, dawn is about to break. Be up and awake to what God is doing! God is putting the finishing touches on the salvation work he began when we first believed. We can't afford to waste a minute, must not squander these precious daylight hours in frivolity and indulgence, in sleeping around and dissipation, in bickering and grabbing everything in sight. Get out of bed and get dressed! Don't loiter and linger, waiting until the very last minute. Dress yourselves in Christ, and be up and about! "
"Be up and awake to what God is doing." I have a very good friend, that this is her prayer for her sisters in Christ. That to them will be revealed in this world, the beauty that God sees in them. This is the fact that I should find my peace and more so my strength in. That no matter how ugly I perceive the world, that's not God I see - it's the Devil. For God is GOOD, and only brings good and beauty. When I look for and appreciate what God has given Earth, I can see Heaven here.

So, if this is true, and if God does create beauty from ashes...why don't I see it. Why am I not prepared enough to take up the Armor of the Lord and fight? A God who loves me so much, that he refers to me as his child, and even more? Because, as powerful as God is he cannot work through me to combat evil unless I take up that sword, and as I've said before - take that step into the Jordan.
Or am I?
When I look at the elements of the armor, I see where I rest. I may not utilize it all, my sword of the spirit may be dropped, my feet may lose their grip. But I keep my faith steadfast, and even on the ground beaten, broken, and tired I can rest under the strength of the shield, I still have my belt, breast plate, and helmet, firmly attached as I did before this battle. But, even the best soldier will lose his sword when his actions are slower and weaker than that of his opponent, the armour is there to give him grace, and a second chance. Perhaps, the Devil is whispering to me that I'm losing...when in reality he is the one losing strength. It takes a prayer to God to send the Devil away, it takes a lot more action to allow him to overtake my life.

Never in my life, have to felt the love for God that I do today. Never, have I been so absolutely terrified that I'm going to mess it up. I pray for the comfort of Grace and the love and understanding I know our God has for us...just to come into my heart and convict me so thoroughly that it radiates through all my actions.

Life is good. God is great.