"In Troubled Times Where Should Our Trust Be"

More and more in this journey with the Father, I am saddened by and feel the weight of the darkness I see encroaching on the world. There has been an acceleration of deception and a disappearance of moral boundaries that is significant in the past two years. I’m not surprised by it - just a bit horrified! He warned us in His Word that many would fall away and their love for Him grow cold. Yet - it’s disheartening to actually see this happening with people I have met and some who I’ve been in relationship with.

I recently had a conversation with my youngest daughter that made me so aware of the pressing darkness. It was around two subjects: having to be aware of the evil that is out there waiting to steal through sexual situations, and that we must be praying and alert to his schemes. The other issue is: would we stand in our faith, or give in if tortured or threatened with death. Obviously none of us knows 100% what’s inside our hearts or what the Lord can provide when we come under assault as a believer, but we must evaluate our foundation! We must examine the fruit of our faith.

What does it lie in?
What is it built on?
Do we know Who He is and

Who He says He is?
We can’t know Him fully if we don’t know HIS WORD!

A lot of us would say that we know He loves us and we love Him….but what fruit is coming from our hearts when there are unanswered prayers or trials?

Last year when I was going through a very challenging season of sickness and injury, and my faith was shaky with anxiety and fear were coming up, the Lord kept whispering to me…

"Will you worship Me for WHO I AM and not what I DO?"

This was not the first time He had asked me this, nor was it the first time that I’d been challenged to walk here. When my late husband died very quickly of lung cancer, I was asked this question by the Lord. I had heard the Lord say David would be healed, here on earth - But he wasn’t! I had to decide if I believed that God was still God and if He was still good and still worthy when this prayer wasn’t answered.

Each and every time there has been loss in my life I have had to look at...

WHO God says He is and ask: IS HE Who He says HE IS! We can’t settle this question  unless we know His LIVING WORD!

His character and nature are written in His Word. All we need to live a godly life is in there! It’s relevant! It’s current and alive! It’s not just a rule or guide book. The Holy Spirit breathes on the written pages and speaks to us and reveals Himself to us.

Our mind is guarded by the Word of God, and it causes us to think differently. When the Word of God is allowed to work in our minds, it safeguards our emotions, it defends our minds from demonic assault, and it shields us from arrows the enemy shoots in our direction in order to arouse a spirit of fear inside you. It enables us to stand firm in faith when things all around us are shaking. If we don’t know what He says about who we are in Him, or who He is when we are in trouble, we will falter in our faith. It’s the parable of the house built on sand. I encourage you: make time to read His Word and digest it until you know what it declares about Him and about you in Him.

This post was first seen at www.TheSingleMOMKC.org where Laurie served as the Pastoral Director for several years. You can read more about Laurie's work with The Single MOM KC by clicking here.

"Living Free from Co-Dependency"

As I have been thinking about my life, and evaluating my emotional health I am happy to realize that I have been living free from the co-dependency that plagued me in my 20’s and 30’s. I couldn’t see my own brokenness and certainly didn’t recognize the patterns of “idolatry” that were very normal to me. We all adapt to our “normal” and often life is too busy to get intimate with other families to see how they operate and see that there might be a different “normal”.

In my journey I enabled my husband’s brokenness by never letting him see how much he’d hurt me with his marital infidelities. I was so overtly aware of his set-up through sexual wounding that I didn’t want to “hurt” him more with my true feelings of anger and pain. I worked really hard at living in forgiveness and thought I was doing well, until one night I had a dream about wanting to murder him! I would either help him drive a car off a cliff or into an embankment

I had made my husband an idol

A friend around that time had said to me that I’d made my husband an idol – but until the dream I didn’t understand. As I processed the dream, I came to realize that I was impeding his healing journey with my dishonesty – NOT helping it! I knew I was catering to him because of his past, and not equipping him to fight because of my overt “mercy”. It really wasn’t mercy at all – but buried pain and anger locked down tight because of fear. That’s DENIAL and justifying!

Does this sound familiar? Does your world revolve around someone else’s feelings and reactions? Is there anyone you cater to? A parent, a friend, a child, a boyfriend? Sometimes we have to look at symptoms in our relationships to figure out what’s actually going on. Take a moment to answer these questions.

  • Do you have trouble standing up for yourself if someone puts you down or shows disrespect?
  • Do you feel compelled to share all you are feeling with someone to guarantee there won’t be a reaction or punishment?
  • Do you have trouble saying no and enforcing that no? Even with your kids?
  • Do you feel manipulated or controlled by another individual on a regular basis?
  • Do you go silent when someone crosses your personal boundaries of touch? Or sharing?
  • Do you apologize for everything and feel most things are your fault?
  • Do you keep attracting the same kinds of relationships with patterns of abuse or neglect?

If you answered yes to 3 or more of these you are definitely struggling with co-dependencey and have some unhealthy boundaries. That’s the bad news!

The good news is:
You can learn to live differently!

Start by reading a good book like "Boundaries" or "The Way Forward Workbook" available on Kindle, or "How We Love". Next, ask the Holy Spirit to show you lies you believe about your identity like: not enough, or unloveable, or rejected. Once you are in touch with them, ask the Father for His perspective. This is very important because if you don’t value yourself and see yourself as God does, then others won’t either.

No matter what others have told you or the enemy has whispered to you in your heart:

YOU are CHOSEN by the King of Kings as a daughter - You MATTER!

This post was first seen at www.TheSingleMOMKC.org where Laurie serves as the Pastoral Director. You can read more about Laurie's work with The Single MOM KC by clicking here.

"Our Soul is Vulnerable - A Set Up for Trouble Part 2"

Last week I shared about how vulnerable my soul was because of my longing or a husband and how God revealed this weakness to me.  I knew I was acting foolish, I was weak and cried out to the Lord for help, a friend called the next morning to share a dream she had had about me. 

She said: I had a dream that you were secretly talking to a man. As the dream progressed, you started messing around with him sexually. When confronted by me, your attitude was full of independence and stubbornness.

I was completely shocked and used some choice words as I expressed my astonishment! I was completely blown away that God would do something so direct to warn me of the danger of the path I was turning down. I immediately responded to my friend and told her she’d heard from God. I confessed that I’d been talking to this guy for a few days. In that moment, the draw to this guy began to lose its grip.

God directly warned me of the danger of the path I was going down
My role was to confess and ask for help

The Lord, in His wisdom, designed us to need each other.  We were made to need one another to cry with, to get perspective from, to confess to, and lovingly confront. If I hadn’t deliberately set accountability in my life, I don’t believe I would have made the right choice as soon as I did.

I almost partnered with settling for an Ishmael (2nd best) instead of the Isaac God’s promised me (Read Genesis 10-24 for more understanding) . I want to encourage you in your waiting for whatever it is you are believing for….don’t settle for something other than God’s best! Not in regards to your dreams, not in your relationships, and most certainly not in a man.

Don’t Settle for less in regards to your DREAMS, RELATIONSHIPS, FAMILY
and especially not a MAN

As I began praying around how close I’d come to making a choice that wasn’t wise, I began to see that some wounds from my teen years, and thought processes that were still very active in me. That was actually what the draw towards this guy had been about. He felt familiar because of some things I believed about myself in my junior high years. All of us are affected by past pain and negative experiences. We can begin believing things about ourselves that are not what the Father says about us. We are especially vulnerable to these distortions of truth when we are tired, overwhelmed, or worn down by waiting to see the fruition of something we have asked for or dreamed of.

I was tired of waiting, and my guard was down. I was vulnerable because my little girl heart SO wanted male attention and affirmation! If I hadn’t already had close relationships and accountability in place, I might have walked down this path and been hurt – at the very least – emotionally. I also would have given up a lot of the joy of ministering to others because this guy wouldn’t have understood that my life is not my own. If you do not have anyone around you that you feel safe confiding in – ask the Lord to help find you some folks!

His intention is that we WALK TOGETHER, WAR TOGETHER, and PRAY TOGETHER.

Is there anything that the Lord has been trying to bring light into in your life?

  1. Expose quickly what the enemy has been whispering to you.
  2. Confess to another person!
  3. Refocus on what the Father has promised you and find someone to fight with you for it!

This post was first seen at www.TheSingleMOMKC.org where Laurie serves as the Pastoral Director. You can read more about Laurie's work with The Single MOM KC by clicking here.

"Our Soul is Vulnerable - A Set Up for Trouble Part 1"

The soul is a part of our being where our emotions are based out of, and our soul is vulnerable.  My soul has been vulnerable and longing for a mate since my husband David died of lung cancer at the ripe old age of 43.  Even though our marriage had been bumpy, I loved being married and sharing life with someone else. To compound this longing, I’ve had several people share with me that they sensed God was going to bring me a husband. Through the past 12 years since my husband’s death, here have only been a handful of men who have pursued me, and only one that I had a strong physical and emotional pull towards. Notice the words-physical and emotional attraction-because that is not what an intimate and healthy relationship is built on. It is just a small part of the equation for a healthy relationship.

An intimate lasting relationship is not
built on physical and emotional attraction alone

When looking for a partner that is emotionally healthy, our worlds need to be able to merge and overlap. There are a few important elements that should be a priority for women of God when looking for someone to share our lives with:

  • Spiritual compatibility should be the first priority: do we share the same beliefs, theology etc.
  • The man’s emotional health and his ability to love us and lead
  • Integrity
  • Stability
  • Character

Physical attraction can blur every line. We become very vulnerable when physically attracted to a man, because it feels so good to be attractive and wanted by a man who seems so nice, right?

Even after a lifetime of walking with the Lord, I still found how vulnerable my soul is to a man who said nice things about me, as a woman, and who “presented” himself well.

It started with a simple invite to talk on FaceBook, with a man I had known in high school. Then came an invitation to meet for coffee, which ended up with us meeting for dinner to “catch up.” I justified that this was safe and innocent, because I’d already been witnessing to the guy in our few written messages.

The problem was this: I was really attracted to him and I was already lying to myself. So when he continued to text me saying he’d like to connect again, and sent flattering messages to me, I responded sharing that I couldn’t date him or flirt with him. The text wasn’t received well, and I ended up calling him, feeling I had to explain my heart. The short version is that by the end of the conversation, I ended up saying I would go out with him.

My heart and my flesh were hungry for male attention and approval at a deeper level than I was even aware and this was “driving” my responses to him. I let my mind and my flesh do the talking and ignored the little warning that said “tell your close friends, be accountable” . My first clue that God was sending me a warning: I had already begun to “hide.”

By the next night when he texted again, I knew I was in trouble. I was divided: Part of me said to call a friend to pray, and another part of me was said “I can handle this!” By the time I went to bed, I was crying out to the Father to save me from my foolishness and to rescue me in my weakness. He did – but not how I expected.

The next morning I opened my computer to check emails, and there was a note from a dear friend sharing a dream she’d had about me hours before.

The Lord is waiting to rescue and deliver us. The question is, will we let Him?

Have there been times in your life when you embarked on a journey that you knew was not the best for you, but your flesh rose up, causing you to make choices that were not God’s best for you?

This post was first seen at www.TheSingleMOMKC.org where Laurie serves as the Pastoral Director. You can read more about Laurie's work with The Single MOM KC by clicking here.

"Combating the Holiday Blues"

In this season of holiday celebrations, a common tactic of the enemy that hits us as single moms is depression. Our aloneness can be highlighted by all the family gatherings and parties. We see couples together at gatherings and talking about gifts they are receiving and giving, and this can really bring a sense of isolation and feeling unloved. Our financial situations are emphasized by the extras needed to get gifts for our children and families. Some of you, like me, have had painful things happen at this time of year as well.

In my journey, Christmas in particular was also a time of great loss. My late husband David was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer on Christmas Eve of 2001. We told our kids Christmas day. My dad’s sudden death which happened on December 20th when I was 12, has caused this time of year to feel like I was sinking into sadness and quicksand of depression and isolation. These events colored my view of this time of year for years….that’s the bad news.

The good news is that the Father always wants to redeem our places of pain and loss and make the places of death come to new life like a flower in the desert. But we have to LET Him do this and ask for His perspective of our wells of despair. He did this with my story and my childrens….

Ten years ago, I began asking the Father to redeem the holidays for me and my kids. The following year, my first granddaughter was born on Christmas Day! My step-dad, Tim, had a dream a few months before her birth that she was going to be born on Christmas day as a sign of new life and hope for our places of loss…..and she was! But I had to let her be a promise of hope and joy, even though life didn’t look like what I wanted or expected. I could have continued to partner with self-pity and the colored lens of grief.  But I didn’t – I opened my heart to the Father’s perspective and redemption. It was a process of coming into joy and I’m not saying there were no more tears ever this time of year…but they were minimal and I was able to quickly cross over into hope and joy and thankfulness. Here are some things I did, and you can as well, to move from isolation and sadness to joy:

  • Choosing to focus on thankfulness for what we do have and who is with us is just one way to help with this process.

  • Giving to others who are new to their loneliness is another.

  • We always have adopted someone who was in worse straights than us and given to them somehow.

  • Another way to combat the isolation is making a plan to have someone over, if no one invited us to share in their holidays.

  • Decorating even a little can help. Playing joyful worship or Christmas music can help.

  • I also have found a way in December or January to “get myself” a present to feel celebrated and to feel like I got a treat. This year it was planning several months out to buy tickets to So You Think You Can Dance. I combined it with my daughter’s 21st birthday present and it felt so good to bless myself with something that brought me joy.

I encourage you in this season – if you are lonely reach out to someone else. If you are not lonely –then reach out to someone else as well!

Father I ask that Your comfort and hope would surround the one reading this. Bring creative ideas for them in their giving to their kids, and to themselves. Heal the pain of their past. Bring springs in the desert of their isolation. Restore and renew the way that You faithfully do!  In Jesus name.

This post was first seen at www.TheSingleMOMKC.org where Laurie serves as the Pastoral Director. You can read more about Laurie's work with The Single MOM KC by clicking here.

"Seasons of Change"- written October 16, 2014

 

The cooler weather and the falling of the beautiful leaves is upon us…another season…more changes.  Switching out closets, changing the clocks back, preparing for holidays, etc.

Having been a single mom for 12 plus years, and having raised 4 kids to adulthood during that time I have seen a lot of seasons. I believe God intended them to be a place of hope, yet we can often feel overwhelmed with the required shifting and changes.

Some of you are in a season of:

  • adjusting to being newly single.
  • of being weary of being single.
  • seeing break through’s in amazing ways    
  • of just barely holding on to your faith that He will provide.
  • of having no grace for the kids

And there are many more scenarios….

Wherever you are today, I want to encourage you to STOP and look back and note the Lord’s provision, and mercy and recount the ways He has met you in whatever you have been doing. Give thanks OUT LOUD and REMEMBER His faithfulness. RECOUNT it…. It’s like pouring water into the garden of your heart.

”Light is sown like seed for the righteous and joy and gladness for the upright in heart” Psalm 97:11

I learned this, years ago, when I was severely depressed after a very traumatic betrayal of infidelity from my husband, and the ensuing required public confession in our church. There were days I could hardly function and everything seemed so dark and overwhelming. I was told by a counselor to make a list of 3 things a day that I would accomplish. Then I had to be thankful for them, even if my list of 15 more things wasn’t touched. I have done this ever since and it really helps keep your heart from being overwhelmed!

Added to this I had to find something to affirm or be thankful for in my situation besides this. Some days it was as minimal as:

  • thanks for that hug 
  • affirming the kindness of one of my family members
  • Being grateful for someone helping with chores

I’m leaving you with the words of a song the Lord gave me in 2005:

In this season of change I choose trust Lord

When my way is disrupted and questions remain

Cause my heart and mind to align to the plans You’ve ordained.

In this season of change I choose trust Lord

Fear is laid at Your feet

Your Word says You'll lead me in right paths

My call from You remains 

To worship You and honor You

In all I say and do

Whether Or not I feel you

Just be - and worship You

To worship You and honor You

In all I say and do

No Matter what I see Lord

Just be – and worship You

Guide me through this season of doubt when life’s a mystery

Until I’m past the darkness and my clouded eyes can see

That though invisible Your tangible and oh so very real

Leading me, guiding me, with Your eye on me

Take a moment – whether in the shower, or driving, etc and give thanks to the Father for His provision and care for you!

RECOUNT HIS GOODNESS and AFFIRM someone in your world.

This post was first seen at www.TheSingleMOMKC.org where Laurie serves as the Pastoral Director. You can read more about Laurie's work with The Single MOM KC by clicking here.