Saturday, September 24, 2011

How different would you live your life...

if you knew without a single doubt that JESUS was real and that this fleshly world we see before our eyes is nothing compared to the realness of the spiritual realm we cannot see? 

I have run across some people who look at me funny when they see how completely my life has changed since my encounter with Jesus.  I have caught glimpses of questions like "Why are you trying so hard?"  "Can't you do one thing without making it about God?"  Honestly, I have a hard time talking to some people now.  I want to talk about Jesus and all the amazing ways He is showing up everyday.  Many people don't want to talk about Jesus..."Christian" people.  At times I find myself trying to forget about Him so I can have a "normal" conversation, then when it is over I am convicted of the fact that I said something stupid, ridiculous and should just in fact shut up and stick to talking about Jesus.  When I fall back into those old habits of commiserating about daily life, I fall back into old ways of speaking and I hate doing that.  It just feels bad.  I can't find a balance here... is there even suppose to be one?  I'm not sure... 

What I can say is this.  Once you have felt the glory of being in the presence of Jesus, many things just don't matter anymore.  While at times, I do find myself getting caught up in the frustrations of daily life now I have fresh eyes to see them through.  I see that they are tricks of satan.  satan would like nothing more than for me to REACT to all those frustrations with yelling, anger, resentment and self pity, but I refuse.  I see them for what they are... the only thing a defeated foe has to throw in my path... his attempt to make me stumble.  Oh how he would love for me to yell at my children, to really rip into them and tear them down.  he wants them destroyed, and he wants it to be by my own hand.  The same goes for my husband.  It is so easy to find fault in him and with his ways when satan's army is whispering in my ear.  God tells us that satan comes to kill, steal and destroy and that he is the father of all lies.  satan wants nothing more than to destroy my family, to rip us apart and destroy our testimonies by making us act in ways unbecoming a follower of Christ. 

Now I am not interested in getting all caught up with thinking of satan in all things, but I do believe that if we deny his presence and influences we are not able to recognize him and stand against him.  he distracts me while I pray and worship, whispers all the things I should find wrong in other people and while it is not always easy (nor am I successful at) standing up against his tricks, I find that just recognizing the source of all those things helps.  Just when I am about to boil over in the midst of a string of frustrating events (like a 1 minute span including shaking an open container of pancake mix all over the kitchen and myself, burning my hand, child #2 calling me to me from her room, husband telling me oops just dropped your important paper into the abyss inside the crack of the computer desk- not that that has happened to me), my main goal is to turn my heart on Jesus and beg for his grace and mercy to be poured down on me anew and take it all away.

"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us."  Romans 8:18

One day when we fall at the feet of our Savior in heaven, I am assured that none of this will even matter.  In the presence of His love that is so powerful and all consuming, we will be only be able to worship in awe.  I cling to that small glimpse of it that He gave me and long for the day when I will again feel that burning joy in my heart... that joy that surpasses any other earthly emotion... that joy that is not even describable with human understanding.  God tells us that the earth is but a shadow of what is awaiting us in heaven.  Think of the desperate love we feel for our children, and know that love is only a shadow of the love that our Father in heaven feels for us.  A shadow of what He feels for us!!!!  I think about that and even having felt a fraction of it, I still can't really comprehend it.  All satan has in this world to take our eyes off the prize of Jesus' love are his puny darts of frustration, taking offense, anger, etc. and really in comparison those are pretty pathetic.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

There are a lot of things I could say, but right now this is all I can think of..... "HELP!!!!"

As in... LORD, PLEASE HELP ME!!!!!!  As the first day of school approaches....and really I don't even know when that is anymore because it was suppose to be this in 2 days...but I am so NOT READY it is not even funny.  If there were ever a time when I felt completely inadequate and unprepared for this whole homeschooling would be NOW.  Last year I was so excited for the beginning of the year.  It was my first year with both kids, and I had no idea what was in store for me.  Now I am a wee bit wiser, and really the only thing I can say is.....LORD, PLEASE HELP ME!!!!!!  Yea, I know I already said that but it bears repeating...many times. 

Many people tell me when they hear that I homeschool, "Oh, wow you must be so patient." This makes me laugh out loud...because...let me make this clear... I AM NOT PATIENT.  I am the opposite of patient and this I am convinced is one of the reasons the Lord has called me to homeschool. You see, He is still working on me (and boy, does he have His work cut out).  And so I know that my only hope is to PRAY....a lot...and lean on Him because, surely I do not have this under control.  I absolutely cannot do this by myself.  It is only by His grace that I can homeschool.  So Lord if you are listening (and I know You always are).....Please help me to do this, because I can't on my own and please prepare my children's hearts...oh please just guide us all!  Yall pray for us too, pretty please!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Pray without ceasing...

Paul tells us to do this (1 Thessalonians 5:17), but what does it mean?  Well, here's my take.  Pray all the time, literally ALL THE TIME.  Don't store up all your prayers in your mind where they will likely be forgotten throughout the day, and then try to spew them all out as you lay in bed and fall asleep.

Pray. All. The. Time. 

Talk to God all day, like He is right there with you...because HE IS.  Don't wait to make an appointment with Him or wait to check in with Him when you are not busy.  Remember if the devil can't make you sin, he sure will keep you busy.  If Christ is IN you, talk to Him like He is.  He is right there with you always and He wants to hear from you always.  I almost never sit down and try to pray.  When something comes into my mind, I just pray it, right then and there.  No need for a lot of time and special words.  I pray while I am folding laundry, cooking, cleaning, even while talking to other people and driving (scary huh?). I share my heart with God a little bit at a time all day long.  He already knows what's in there anyway.  Isn't it nice when your own children come to you and share their hearts even if you already know what they have done or want to ask you?  Doesn't it make you feel loved? I wonder if that is how He feels when we come to Him?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

So Has God Used You Lately?

"Please God, USE ME!!!" is what I have been praying lately... "Please just let me HEAR YOU and know what You want me to do." Well, He does not disappoint. In addition to becoming an Advocate for Compassion International (which I will write about later, as this is so funny it deserves a post all of its own), He has been showing up and using me in a series of other "smaller" ways as well.

The other morning I was feeling a little grumpy, just too many things to do and not enough time. R and the kids were asking to go to the pool, which of course made me even more more thing to do, right? So I had to pause and go to Him..."What is wrong with me? I don't want to feel this way. Lord, please help me, what do You want me to do?" His answer..."What does your husband need?" This week I am being made aware of the fact that I am to be a helper to my husband. That means I need to think more of him and less about my to do list. What is the real problem here?? PRIDE... pure and simple....whose to do's are more important? When my husband is home I am learning it is suppose to be his. This is hard, I won't lie. I won't say I am working on it either... it is He that is working in me and on me.

A funny thing happens when we obey though, that is when He can use us. Even though I really did not want to, I put aside all the things I had in mind to do and got the gang all lotioned and packed for the pool. R wanted the pool, so that is what he got. And in the process, God put me right where He could use me! At the pool, a familiar looking lady came up to me and started talking. We knew each other from L2's dance studio. She is a newly divorced mom and was looking for a single ladies Bible study... which of course our church has and hers does not. Our single ladies Bible study has some amazing women of God, who I just know will be a great help to her. I heard someone say that today's single mom is the "widow" of Biblical times (that we are commanded to care for in James 1:27) and I think that statement is right on. Sometimes I have wondered if having a husband who walks away from you voluntarily may in ways be more painful than having one pass from this life to the next?  But I digress... my point is that by obeying the command to be my husband's helper, He placed me in a position to help a "widow" in need.

Also awhile back I started writing verses on index cards... just ones I came across that really spoke to me on that day. One day when the hubs (BC) was really challenging my faith I came across this one:

 From now on let no one trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.
Galatians 6:17

Now granted, Paul was talking about his physical scars, but persecution can be emotional as well and on the day I wrote this one down it was really just the encouragement I needed. 

Some time after that, I was sitting paying bills and found I had lost my little piece of cardboard I use behind my check carbons to keep the writing from going though, so I used this index card with Gal 6:17 in its place and just absently (or so I thought) stuck it in my checkbook.  The other day I was at the drive up atm depositing some checks, my checkbook was out and ...BAM... I was hit with a command from the Holy Spirit.  "Put that Gal 6:17 card in the deposit envelope." It was wild, my hands were shaking, my heart was pumping and I was breathing funny.  I have never been hit that hard with a command where I totally recognized it as for sure from Him.  Really, it was intense.  I have no idea who needed that verse or why, but I have no doubt that it ended up in the right hands that day.

Friday, July 8, 2011

This is where she lives...


She is the latest addition to my heart, our Compassion International sponsored child.  She just turned 8 years old and lives in extreme poverty in Kenya.  Through Compassion's Child Development Program at the KAG Siany Center she receives food, clothing, medical care, an education, instruction in personal hygiene, social skills and most importantly SHE GETS TO HEAR THE GOSPEL.  She gets to hear that even though she was born into what seems like an impossible situation to overcome, Jesus desperately loves her.  He left his place in heaven, came to earth to live, died on the cross and rose from the dead to save her and is making a place for her in heaven.

We get to write letters to her.... to encourage her, to share our faith with her, and to tell her not to believe the lies of tell her she is beautiful, special, important, and that God loves her with an everlasting love.  I have read and listened to countless testimonies of former Compassion children who have grown up, gone to college, broken free of poverty and are now working in their own ministries or with Compassion to continue proclaiming the gospel to the next generation of children that satan is trying to deceive with his lies of poverty.

Compassion International is soo soo much more than a child sponsorship program, it is a DISCIPLESHIP program. And Compassion makes it so easy for us to take the blessings we have received and directly impact the life of a child for Jesus...we can be His hands and feet. Won't you consider sponsoring a child today and changing their life in Jesus' name?

Matthew 25:34-45  Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,  I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’  Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?  And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?  And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’  And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.  For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,  I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’  Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’  Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Never Underestimate the Power of the Holy Spirit

This has been a joyous week in our house.  In addition to my hubby coming to Jesus last week, my 6 yo L2 did as well!  Now I can say that coming to Jesus as an adult at the ripe old age of 35 myself, I have been somewhat uncertain about at what age a child can really make a solid decision on their own to open their heart to Jesus.  She has been asking me questions and telling me for months that she was ready and I in my lack of faith have been actually dismissing her, thinking she is just not mature enough to make that choice.  Oh how foolish we become as we age!  Of any person I know she is the most open about spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ.  She tells friends, neighbors, family, and even complete strangers about Jesus. With a simple childlike faith at 6 years old she is out spreading the Gospel.  Why as adults are we so afraid to tell others about Him?  And who am I to tell her she is not ready?

Last week at VBS she told Jesus she believed in Him, asked for forgiveness of her sins, and asked Him to live in her heart.   An adult counselor and myself decided for her that maybe she needed to be a little older..... Well, guess what?  Jesus doesn't care how old she is, she called out to Him and He now has her in His hands.  The Holy Spirit does not give a darn tootin what I or any other adult thinks.  He already sealed her as His own.  How do I know?  Well for one thing, I have had no peace with my ridiculous decision to tell her she has to wait, it has been literally eating me alive...I am so sorry Lord, yes, I am an idiot.  Because this child is now a different child, she has been transformed by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit...

And just where has the Holy Spirit directed her?  Well, straight to the Word of God, of course.  She is HUNGRY.  She came to me this morning with her Bible asking me to read to her.  So as part of "New Believer 101" I started with the Gospel of John.  I read the first chapter aloud, and then find her reading on her own all throughout the day.  By bedtime she is done with Chapter 5.  I read her Chapter 6: Jesus Walks on Water and Jesus is the Bread of Life as a bedtime story.  And guess what?  That child understands it!  "No, Momma Jesus didn't really want them to eat Him, He just wants them to BELIEVE in Him."  If only adults could understand this?!   I am just further convinced of the power of the Holy Spirit.

 I can't wait til we get to this one...

 Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works I do in My Father's name, they bear witness of Me.  But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you.  My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.  My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand."  John 10:25-29

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Real Men Love Jesus!

Real Men Love Jesus

I had been seeing this bumper sticker a lot lately and quite frankly it was making me a little sad...but no more now that my man is a "REAL Man"....yep, my hubby invited Jesus to be his savior last week!!  PRAISE JESUS!!!  There is a new name in the Lamb's Book of Life!!

After I accepted Jesus last year, the Holy Spirit led me to read the Bible.  In the beginning I hid my reading from R because I was afraid he would think I was weird.  After praying for direction to find a church I was directed to the very church I had vowed I would never again enter as a teen.  One thing that I have been learning lately is that we should all be very careful about telling God that we refuse to do anything. I am convinced this is a pride issue.  I had a few other chruches in mind that I would have been happy to attend...but no, God sent me right back to where I had dug in my heels and screamed "No!".  It took me about 3 months to obey His direction because I was too afraid R would completely reject a Baptist church (plus, honestly I was a little annoyed).  We cannot be fully sbmitted to God's will if we are still trying to direct our own life. 

God's timing really is so perfect.  When I first started attending worship with the kids, R's work schedule had him at work every Sunday morning.  So basically we had already started going before he could say no, which I just know he would have had I just suggested we all start going as a family.  Then after 3 weeks his schedule that he had been on for over a year just magically, mysteriously (not really hee hee!) changed and he was suddenly off Sundays (God is so good!).  His very first day at chruch he heard a message about the Importance of Fathers as Spiritual Leaders at Home.  The next week the message was Do You Have a Person You Know Who is a Hard Case?  You Think They Will Never Come to Jesus?  Don't Give Up! I should have listened harder to this one lol!

  The Holy Spirit began pushing me to go forward, profess my faith and ask for baptism... again I told God "No, I can't!!  That will totally freak R out!"...the harder I protested, the harder He pushed me until after about a month a cement truck could not have stopped me from running off down the isle and jumping in that water!  Again, be careful, what you tell God you will not far everything I have refused to do I have now done and realize that those things were required of me out of obedience for a greater purpose.  If I were still sitting at home reading the Bible in secret do you think R would have come to Jesus by now?  God's ways are higher than our ways and when we obey He richly blesses us!

Over the past few months R had a lot of questions and I did my best to answer them.  Honestly at times I know the answers were not my words, they were His.  Having a husband by my side who loved Jesus was not even something I had dared to hope would ever happen... oh I prayed for it to happen...A.L.O.T!  But I was afraid to even hope, because really I thought the chances were slim... BUT GOD.  Never again will I be afraid to hope for anything because...

"With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26

Mercy Me - Compassion International - Christian Ministry

Saturday, June 25, 2011

When it suddenly hits you...

...the answer to a question from long ago....a question that you forgot you had even asked, but at the time had seemed so important.....

Back in my days BC (yes, that is before Christ) I was married.  We were joined in a civil ceremony, which at the time in my 22 year old mind was fine by me.  I loved him with a naive desperation. I thought he was the all, the everything...and most of all i believed he was "different" from all the other men....i just knew our love was greater and more everlasting than any other.  That was my first mistake...and now in hindsight i can see it was the beginning of the downfall.  To my shock, when our son was a few months old, he decided this life with me was not for him.  He left and wanted a divorce.  I never saw it coming and at the time, I honestly thought my world was over... and suddenly now I find myself jolted with the realization of why i fell so far when it happened.

It can be a strange journey when you give your life to Jesus. He begins to change you and leads your mind to discover things about yourself and your path in life that previously had seemed so mysterious to you.  I had always vaguely believed in God, but until last year had never personally handed my life over to Jesus to accept His free gift of salvation.  I never really understood what people would say about how He changes you from the inside out....but I am in awe of His grace and what he is doing in my heart everyday.  I can say that my divorce is something that put a heavy burden of guilt on me for years, but over time I had let it go and come to a certain peace over it.  Recently I read a passage that started a unexpected chain reaction in my mind and led me back to that time I had not thought about for so long.

"A woman's heart should be so hidden in God that a man has to seek Him just to find her."

— Maya Angelou

I don't even remember where I stumbled upon this ....but as soon as I read it I felt a jolt and instantly was flooded with a distant memory of sitting on my marriage #1 couch flipping channels one Sunday morning and landing briefly upon a TV sermon about loving God more than anything, even your spouse.... i remember pondering over that for a moment... and i remember thinking.... that is just not possible.... how can i love God more than my husband? And i remember thinking...hmmm....i just can't do that...and changed the channel...

....and now it all makes the time going through the divorce i was a disaster... a serious whole world had fallen apart because i had based my whole world on a mere human man...a sinful (like us all) prideful flesh and blood man.... i still held on to a distant faith that God had a plan for me, but I do remember the constant angry nagging question in the back of my mind "How can this be what is best for my have 2 divorced parents raise him separately...not as a can God let this happen!!!!?"....i was mad and i questioned this incessantly....i only trusted God a little bit and as we know that is about as good as not at all....and all the while he was just patiently waiting for me to ask him in...

So there i was... i had put all my faith in the inherently flawed love of an earthly man, but without any trust in Jesus, the only real true LOVE...when i look back at it now i can see it so clearly...marriage is a joining of 3 into 1, and if you leave out the most important member of that trio you are doomed to fail.....but this was a failure that i needed...a failure to bring me down to my knees and see for forevermore that every man, woman and child on this earth will at some point let us down...our first love and the only one who deserves our full faith is our Heavenly Father... thank you Jesus for being so patient with me....

Matthew 22:37-38 Jesus said to him, "Love the Lord God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment."

This is easily the most difficult commandment to keep.  Even if you think for a moment that you can, life quickly comes in, rears its ugly head and shows us that our priorities really lie elsewhere.  But this command is evidence that God's love for us is so amazingly huge.  To love God above all else I believe is where God shows us how much He wants to protect us.  He wants to keep our heart from investing itself completely in places where we can be hurt so quickly and easily.  This helps give us perspective on this lifetime here on earth. Our life here is fleeting, James tells us it is a vapor.  And it is easy to fully invest ourself here and forget that.  I am not saying I have or ever will be able to fully do this, but when we keep things in perspective it changes us. God is the source of all love and when I remember that, he magnifies the love I am able to give others. That love takes on a different character than what we can give on our own.  Now when I look back, I see how shallow and flimsy that old "love" I gave was before I knew the true love of Christ.  The love we are able to give once we know the love of Christ is a love full of hope, for our sights are set on the life to come.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Be Bold for JESUS, Without Scaring the Neighbors...

Years ago I had a neighbor named Nikki.  There was always something a little different about her. I admired the calm and comfortable way she had with her children, the way she always cared for others. Even though she had her own busy life as a homeschooling mom, she still found time to give of herself, to volunteer even.  I felt drawn to her in a way I could not explain. At the time I did not know what it was that set her apart from most of the other people I knew.  But now I know that difference was Jesus. My friend Nikki was saved and she just exuded the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.

One morning after having a particularly upsetting conversation I was standing outside on the driveway with L1 while he was playing. He was about 3 years old.  L2 was 1 and was inside napping in her crib. I remember I was crying. I saw her coming down the sidewalk with her little ones in tow. I thought to myself, "Come on, pull yourself together...dry those eyes and put on your happy face." But I just could not reign in the tears. No matter how hard I tried they would not stop. She of course saw me, was worried and asked if I was ok. I don't even remember exactly what I told her, but I did not feel like talking about it. I knew she cared and would listen if I wanted her to, but she did not press me.

Later that day my doorbell rang. It was Nikki. "I know this may seem a little strange, but I was out earlier and I just felt like I needed to get this for you..." She handed me a "Women of Faith New King James Devotional Bible". I am still awestruck that she did this for me. She knew I was Catholic, and Catholics have the Catholic Bible. I was like "Oooookay.... ummmm... thanks...". It was July 16, 2005. I know the date because she wrote it on the first page along with "To: Allison, From: Nikki, Occasion: Just because".  Even though I was not ready for it on that day, that Bible was still sitting on my bookshelf waiting for me 5 years later when I was.

Our friendship continued on after that day with no ill effects from her doing something that most would see as "weird".  When she and her family moved away the next year I had a really hard time with it.  I wondered what was wrong with me when I could not stop crying.  I knew I could still talk to her on the phone or through email, but I was just so sad to have that feeling she brought me disappear from my daily life.  I still did not know what that feeling was at the time... but now I know it was Jesus.  She had Jesus in her heart and was in effect showing Him to me everyday.

She was also the first homeschooler I ever met and thus, through her, the Lord planted that seed as well.  The way that Jesus shows us His Spirit through the lives of His believers is really an amazing and powerful thing.  The fruits of the Spirit are plain to see even to those who do not yet believe.  Makes you wonder who may be watching you eh?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


OK, so...... a little background would be helpful... here goes. My parents are Baptist. When I was young we moved a lot and never really stayed anywhere long enough to set down roots in any particular church ...until I was about 12 years old... and let me just say... at this age, I was not very happy about going to fact I HATED it....really and truly I despised going ...why?  Because in Baptist church, you cannot just go, sit through it and then go back to your life without someone asking something of you.  At the end of most Baptist sermons is the Invitation.... if you are not familiar with it, that is when the pastor asks you.... have you personally accepted Jesus as your Savior?  Have you invited Him into your heart? Have you asked for forgiveness of your sin?  Does Jesus lead your life?  If so, the free gift of salvation is yours...if not, well .... Can you see why I hated it so?  I was constantly being called out, it was so annoying.  During my teen years I was just WAY too cool to follow Jesus, all I wanted was to listen to my music and have my parents and Jesus leave me alone.  Eventually I stopped going and vowed never to return to the Baptist church.

At 22 I marry my first husband, a nonbeliever...and it did not turn out well.  After 5 years of what I had thought was the world's greatest marriage and the birth of our son, he walked out the door to be with his girlfriend.  I was beyond devastated, I was destroyed.  L1 was 4 months old.  I cried out to God "Why, Why, Why? How can you let this happen?"  I believed that God existed somewhere out there, but I never really called on Him for anything unless there was a problem.  I prayed and asked for His help...but I still never asked Him to be my personal savior....I never even considered giving my life over to Him, I just selfishly wanted Him to fix mine, in my way and in my time.

At 29 I married again, this time going through the Catholic RCIA conversion program since my husband's family was Catholic.  I knew absolutely nothing about the Catholic faith, but I was so excited because I thought this meant that he at least believed God existed.  L2 was on the way and I was doing what I thought would unify our new family.  And I was happy to do it.  I finally thought I had found the answer.  I went to my classes, I learned my prayers, did my sacraments... but still somehow I did not feel close to God.  I brushed it off.  I thought it was my fault.  I knew I was doing everything wrong at church.  I thought maybe if I could just remember how to use the holy water and genuflect and to receive the host the right way it would be better.  I kept trying harder to do it all right.  But still I just felt lost amidst it all. 

As part the schedule of sacraments, when L1 was in 1st grade we signed him up for Wednesday night prep classes.  Because of his autism, I attended classes with him all year and was actually excited to do so since I had not been to these as a child, like most Catholics.  I thought they would help me understand the faith better.  He was having a really hard time in class and towards the end of the year I realized that I simply could not put him through anymore of it.  After having a full day at school where he was already overwhelmed, the class was pure torture for him.  He would sit flipping himself out of the chair, roll around on the floor, his face and ears would turn bright red, he would knock over the desk and he would cry.  Often he would not be able to calm down even after we returned home.  I was wondering what this was all for anyway.  This teacher was not talking about Jesus.  We were memorizing prayers... for months we did nothing but read and recited 3 prayers... all while we turned to stare at a framed picture of the pope.  Something inside me was restless.  This just did not feel right, but I could not put my finger on why. 

Since L1 was having such a difficult time sitting through the class, I inquired the next year about options for learning the material at home instead and was told that 2nd grade was a very important year because of preparing for first communion.  I was told my child would have to physically attend classes at the church if he was "to participate fully in the faith" aka receive the sacrament of first communion.  I thought about what it meant to take communion and knew even if L1 somehow mangaged to memorize all the right prayers in time, that he would not have any real understanding of what he was praying... and if he did not understand what the prayers meant, what was the point? 

In pondering over this I remembered something else.  R and I had not gotten married in the Catholic church because of the fact that I was divorced.  We tried, but were told that in order for the Catholic church to marry us, we would have to pay $500 to them and get my first marriage annulled in the eyes of God and the church.  In the process of the annullment the church would contact my exhusband and ask for his opinion on the matter.  At this time relations with my exhusband were somewhat strained.  Even though it was his decision to walk out on our marriage, he was angry that I had moved on and that L1 was going to have a Stepdad. The grass was no longer greener for him with his girfriend.  I had no idea what he would say if the Catholic church called him up and asked for his consent to have our marriage blotted out so I could move on and marry R.  I started thinking about this and realized that... My ex was an atheist.  We were married in a civil ceremony by a justice of the peace.  At that time I was basically an agnostic. I started to wonder was my first marriage even valid in the eyes of God?  R and I were running out of money, so in the end we opted to be married by an Episcopalian priest in an outdoor ceremony.  We figured at some later time we would persue the annulment and have our marriage blessed by the Catholic church.  But still I felt a little uneasy... according to the Catholic church we were not really married at this point.

I remembered something else from when I went to my first confession that really struck a cord in me.  At the time I had simply brushed this aside, but the thought of it just kept coming back to me now.  I went to my first confession a few months into the RCIA program when I was told to go.  I was very apprehensive about it because I was riddled with guilt over the fact that I was divorced, had not gotten an annulment yet and I was terrified that God had already condemmed me for it.  I was crying as I spoke to the priest confessing this.  I was so upset and felt like God could never love me for being divorced.  The priest told me I needed the annulment to make it right.  He then kept the confession centered on masterbation.  He repeatedly asked me if I was commiting the sin of masterbation.  Mind you I was still crying over the fact that I was condemmed for being divorced.  I repeatedly told him I did not masterbate. I was married to R for goodness sake.  But no matter how many times I denied it, he kept asking me.  Did he not believe me?  I was there for confession, why would I lie?  The whole thing made me feel uncomfortable sitting face to face with an eldery celebate man who continued to ask if I masterbated.  I confessed a few other things. I don't even remember what at this point and he gave me my penance...say 3 Hail Marys and one other prayer, I forget which one.

The priest never mentioned

Matthew 19:9 And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”

I came across this verse later and found it the key to the end of feeling condemmed by God.  My ex had been unfaithful to me, so in God's eyes I was not condemmed for divorcing him over it. I was not committing adultery by getting married to R because my ex had been the one to commit adultery.  God understood me He could love me and forgive me afterall!  Why did the priest not tell me this?

This was probably one of the hardest decisions of my life but with a heavy heart I came to my husband with the prospect of leaving the Catholic church.  Even when he agreed with me the decision was still hard and full of guilt.  According to the Catechism of the Catholic church there is no salvation outside of its walls, if one has knowledge of the Roman Catholic church's existence.  We would now be considered heritics and would be accursed in the eyes of the Roman Catholic church. That was kind of scary.  But I felt like we had no choice.  How could we stay in a church that had no place for my son with autism?

We tried another church and talked about going to others, but always found an issue that would keep us at home on Sunday mornings.

In many ways God continued to call to me during this time but I was blinded to my need for a savior by the fact that I thought I was a good, nice person (ha!).  Then in June 2010 Jesus showed up and changed me forever.  I went to the endodonist for a root canal.  I used to be one of those people who would freak out during dental procedures.  I would shake... cry... I couldn't breathe. Literally I would be terrified.  I needed nitrous oxide gas and I needed a lot of it!  I went in this day and they hooked up my nitrous was not working... this is very very very not good.  They tell me I can reschedule, but I really want this tooth fixed....i am tired of tooth pain.  So I tell them to just go ahead and I do what I always do when I need help....I selfishly pray.... I lay in the chair for 45 minutes and prayed for every single person or situation that I can even remotely think of where I want God to fix something.  I am still terrified.  I began to pray  desperately,


Then something happened that has forever changed my life.  There are really no words that I can use to adequately describe this.  But.... I was suddenly paralyzed.  I felt a blinding white light, a light so bright and all enveloping it made any other light I had previously seen with my human eyes seem like a dim nightlight. It was everywhere all at once.. in front of me, behind me, it was going through me.  And when I say felt... I mean felt. My eyes were clenched tight.  I could not see anything. How can you feel a light?  This is why I say there are no words to adequately describe it... because I FELT LIGHT. And I felt this amazing feeling deep down inside of my was like a burning, a searing JOY.  It was as if the very cells in my body were like magnets being pulled toward Him.  It was a feeling that eclisped any other human emotion I have ever felt.  It was JESUS and it was GLORIOUS... being in His presence was like every puzzle piece clicking into place all at once... and there is nothing else on this earth that even comes close to it.   I heard something, but it was not the sound of a voice exactly.  I suddenly was overcome with a feeling... that feeling was...


I knew immediately it was Jesus... there was no question... there was no hesitation... instantly I was inviting Him in.  I told Him to take over, lead me to where He wanted me.  I don't remember much else after that.  I just lay there full of joy and wonder.  I was stunned.  How had this happened?  I never had a thought or intention of inviting Jesus into my heart when I first starting praying.... it never even occurred to me that I needed to.  Quite simply, after years of asking for help... I guess He decided to reveal to me exactly what I needed to do to get the help I kept asking for all these years.  I left that day and not much happened...not at first.....

Then I began to find myself at odd times thinking about the I starting picking it up and reading....I started having lots of questions...i found myself on the Internet looking for answers...things were happening...slowly...

Fall rolls around. This year I am homeschooling both kids and L1 starts to have major problems. His anger and temper are out of control.  He is throwing tantrums and hitting me constantly.  I do something I swore I would never do.  I go to his doctor and ask for medication. We try it and it is a disaster.  It makes him worse...somehow he is even more angry and uncontrollable.   I am a serious wreck... crying all the time... literally at my wits end... i am thinking of switching doctors to get more serious medicine for him....then i realized i had forgotten about something..... GOD.  I was down here running around like a lunatic trying to solve this problem with earthly means, and not once had i ever thought to ask God for help... or more importantly to GIVE THIS PROBLEM UP TO HIM. 


This problem was not bigger than God, and I needed to tell him that I had finally realized that.  This is when everything changed for me.  The moment I gave up worrying over this problem and gave it up to Him is when I finally put my full faith in Jesus.  And it was the moment that things with L1 started to get better.  As suddenly as it began the extreme behaviors stopped.  He stopped hitting me.  He stopped throwing things at me.  And my attitude was better for dealing with the outbursts he did have.  I was calmer, it was not the end of the world anymore and I trusted Jesus to take care of it. He is the only one who can and He has been doing just that.

I had been praying for the Lord to lead me to a church and when I heard His answer I was in shock.  I had come before God and given Him my two choices, two non denominational churches, and asked Him which one would be better.  Oh my!  This is hilarious to me now!  I remember the night he spoke to me so clearly... His answers was MBC, my parent's church... you know, the one I had had vowed to never enter again.  This was not the church of MY choice.  My immediate response after I picked up my jaw was a big ol "NO!"  First of all I did not think this church would go over well with my husband, and second of all I was just plain annoyed!  I just didn't want to go there, that was the place I had dug in my heels and told Him "no" so many years before... and honestly now I think that is part of the reason He sent me back there.  It took me a few months to obey, but I did and that is what I am still learning now....obedience.

Shortly after that I started taking the kids to an art class and found myself sitting in a room with 4 other homeschooling moms...all of them Catholic.  We had nice conversations, then there was a question about my faith.  I answered in the most honest and tactful way I could muster.  Then I left and said "Um....Lord?  Are you trying to tell me something? Are you saying you want me to be Catholic?"  I was then led on a quest through the Scriptures looking for the truth.  I found a few Catholic apologetics resources online and started reading the New Testiment, all of it.  I read through the explanations and verses cited by the catholic sites and asked the Holy Spirit to be my guide.  My prayer was to find the truth. "Lord please let me find the truth in Your Word. If you want me to be Catholic, please let me know because I want to do this Your way."  What I found was very enlightening to say the least.  Somehow the Bible was making sense to me.  This had certainly never happened before when I had tried to read anything from it.  That is the power of the Holy Spirit!

It is amazing to me what a difference it makes to look to the Scriptures first to determine how you should worship... let the Scriptures be your guide.  Read them in context... then ask God to help you understand... He will not fail you.  If you ask Him for truth, He will reveal it to you.  Do not pluck from the Bible to justify man-made doctrine, instead look at the scriptures first then make sure your church follows them.  There is a difference.

But God is so good.  He prepares us in so many ways.  And through this trial He prepared me for something that I never saw coming... a challenge from the one person I would have never expected to be challenged by...  My point is not to judge anyone else.  Your personal relationship with God is between you and He alone.  Only you can hear what He is saying to you.  Each one of us has our own journey.  People are saved by their true belief in Jesus Christ and saved people can be anywhere.... in any church or not in a church.  But I would urge anyone who has questions about their church or faith to just simply read the Bible, start in the New is all there.  Ask God the help you.  He will.

My journey to being saved certainly has not followed any checklist. I never prayed the "Sinner's Prayer".  Jesus literally reached out and saved me.  He poured grace on me.  And He has lead every step pf the way since then.  That first day my prayer was simply for Him to take over my life, to lead me.  He led me first to the Bible, then through a problem to firmly establish my TRUST in Him.  Although I had been led to confess a few specific sins previously, as I was standing atop the steps over the baptism pool I was overcome with the full weight of shame and sorrow over the complete sinful rebellion of my past life.  And that weight was immediately lifted as I spoke from my heart to the Lordand asked for forgiveness.  Come to the Lord with a heart that truly seeks him and He will lead you! I feel the Holy Spirit guiding me everyday and my main focus is to do all I can to listen and be led in the direction He wants for me.  I cannot wait to see all He has in store!

For so many years I thought that God was out there somewhere...but He was not close to me because I had not asked Him to be....I was only praying for help when I had problems...but that is not the way my friend, I know because He told me so...I was not saved by a vague idea that God exists...I was saved when I believed that Jesus died for ME and asked Him to be Lord of MY life.

We are all sinners and have fallen short of the glory of God...not one of us is righteous, no not one...our attempts to do good are as filthy rags to the Lord...the wages of sin are death...BUT GOD so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting faith we are saved, it is a gift from God not of works, least any man should boast...confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord, believe in your heart God rasied Him from the dead and you will be saved...believe, repent, be baptized and recieve the Holy Spirit...all of those who receive Him and believe on His name, He gives the right to become the children of God...we were buried with Christ by baptism and raised up with Christ because of our faith in God's walk in newness of life....

To pay for your sins Jesus was crucified, died, was buried and rose again on the third day.

My question for you is this:  Have you accepted Jesus Christ alone as your Lord and Savior?  In what are you trusting for salvation?  Your family traditions?  Your church?  Your attempts to do good?  Jesus paid it all with His precious blood on the cross.  Trust in Christ alone and He will save you. Is Christ in your heart?  If you are uncertain, make sure you give Him an open invitation to come in and take over your life. HE WILL and all in heaven will REJOICE!

So why are you reading this today? 

Are you here to rejoice in another salvation?

 Or is He speaking to you?

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever BELIEVES in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me. "

Acts 8:36-38 Then Phillip....preached Jesus to him. Now as they went down the road, they came to some water.  And the eunuch said "See, here is water.  What hinders me from being baptized?"  Then Phillip said, "If you BELIEVE with all your heart, you may."  And he answered and said " I BELIEVE that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Phillip and the eunuch went down into the water and he baptized him.

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."

Romans 8:9-14 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you.  Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.  And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.  But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.  For as many are led by the Spirit of God, these are the Sons of God."

John 15:5 "I am the vine, you are the branches.  He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit:
 for without Me you can do nothing."

Galatians 5:22-25 But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.  Against such there is no law.  And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Matthew 7:20 "Therefore by their fruits you will know them."

Matthew 7:21-23 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord', shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in your name, and done many wonders in your name?' And I will declare to them, 'I never knew you...' "

Romans 1:18-22 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them, for since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.  Professing to be wise, they became fools.

Matthew 7:7-8 "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened."

Romans 10:9-11 that you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and BELIEVE in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one BELIEVES unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Romans 7:18-20 Therefore, as through one man's offense judgement came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man's righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in the justification of life.  For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man's obedience many were made righteous.  Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound.  But where sin abounded, grace abounded so much more....

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ;
 it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me;
and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Romans 6:4  We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
James 4:7-8 Therefore submit to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

2Peter 3:17-18 ...beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

2Timothy 3:1-5 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.  For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,  heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good,  treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,  having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.

Matthew 7:13-14 "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it."

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I just realized ...

I posted a whole list of our curriculum on Valentine's Day!!! 

How romantic!!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

In case you were wondering...

what curriculum we use....i will TRY to list it here....bear in mind, i think I am a little scattered so sometimes we use a little of this for awhile, then move on to that.....then go back to something we haven't used in awhile...and we definitly do not do all of this everyday....

so here goes...

Horizons Math 
   L1- Grade 3
   L2-Grade 1

All About Spelling
   L1 & L2- Levels 1 & 2

Explode the Code
   L1- Level 4.5, 5
   L2- Level 1, 2, 3, 4
Drops In the Bucket- Level A

   L1- Grade 2 Beginning & Intermediate
   L2- Grade 1, Grade 2 Beginning & Intermediate
plus TONS of library books

Read Alouds
   L1 & L2- Core K and Core 1+2
plus a BoxCar Children marathon

First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind
   L1 & L2- Grades 1 & 2

Writing With Ease
   L1 & L2- Level 1
we use this sparingly and also do pages from the Draw Write Now books

Handwriting Without Tears
   L1 & L2- Levels 1 & 2

Apologia Zoology 1- Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day

We loosely follow the topics in Sonlight Core 1+2 with lots of library books and unit studies

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

So this is what it feels like....

to have patience and perseverance feels AWESOME! 

In an effort to push L1 out of his comfort zone and give him some new experiences, I signed him (and L2) up for a homeschool PE class at the Y.  I knew L2 would love it...running....playing games...making new friends...what's not to love, right?  L1 I knew would love it, not so would be new...loud...confusing....not his idea....not under his control....he would have to do things other kids and a teacher wanted him to do.  These things are not exactly his strong suit.  But in addition to being good for him physically, I really wanted him to do this to challenge him in all those other areas.

Let me just say, it has been really, really not good rough.   Most days he would do the warm up stretches and some running then, fall apart into a pile of tears and sit on the sidelines while the games were going on.  I will give him credit though....he really did try at first...the first time they played dodge ball....he was right out there trying his hardest to figure out what in the heck was going on...but being handicapped in the area of picking up social cues does not help one in the game of dodge guess wrong and you get pounded in the head with the ball.  And that is exactly what happened the first game he played really, i can't blame him much for not wanting to play anymore.

The class moved on to kickball...also hard on the socially challenged...think about how difficult it is to figure out what all those people are doing running around the bases...when do you take the chance and run for the next base?  When do you stay put?   There are just a lot of variables to take in even for the typical kid...much less one who finds it hard to read what other people are doing.  His coaches, bless their hearts, have given him lots of help and also learned when to back off and just let him observe....the observing part is very important for him to be able to do. 

So for the past 4 months since we started in September, 2 days a week he has emerged from the gym with the wrath of a caged animal...yelling at me...hitting me...throwing drinks and shoes in the car....and most days taking at least 2 hours to calm down enough once we make it home to come close to finishing his school work for the day.  Many days I would cry along with him.  I almost let him quit...but with every prayer I still felt like i couldn't let him give up....was physical education really that important to me?, but teaching him to deal with things that are frustrating is that important to me.   If I was going to take (most of) those challenges out of his school day by homeschooling, then he surely needs to figure out how to deal with it in other places.

We have talked about it a lot...prayed about it a lot...done role playing about self control.....even though it broke my heart to punish him for behavior that most of the time i was not sure he could control...i did it..."no, you are not allowed to hit momma, and if you do there will be punishment".....

This week has been it has been AMAZING!  He is participating more....but most importantly, there is no crying in the gym....he is leaving throwing anything...he is (i am almost scared to say it) calm when we really feels like an amazing triumph, and i am surely letting him know how proud his momma is!

My heart's been stolen.....