Legacy: kindness?

Something heavy on my heart are the power of words. With my job, too often I see kids walk through our doors beat up from the words and actions of adults in their life. Kids come in with heads hung low or hiding deep wounds made by someone’s tongue.

Choose your words wisely. Your words can either help someone or hinder them. The same can be said about yourself.

The words one hears; the words spoken over someone, to someone, and about someone all become a part of the individual who is being spoken to. If these words are damaging, unfortunately it becomes a part of them.

Parents and family members, if you are trash talking another person that is related to your children, keep in mind that you are hurting your children. Your temporary pleasure of acting out in anger is not worth the abuse on your children’s heart and soul.

Be kind.

Speak kindly.

Choose to love. Stop the words of hate from exiting your mouth.

Be better.

Do better.

You were made to live in a way that helps and blesses others, especially your children, who are here to carry the legacy you leave behind.

What will your legacy be?

No Grey

Black or white. Truth or lies. There is no grey area regarding our words.

Have you ever been nervous to be in someone’s presence who you knew had been told awful lies about you?

This alone can make one feel instantly unsafe.

It is horrible when slanderous words are used to steal your true identity or the identity of ones you love. Gossip and slander can steal the opportunity away for a genuine connection with others. Relationships, and entire family units can be torn apart just by one person sowing lies about individuals character and life. It is sad. It breaks hearts.

Until repentance occurs and time reveals that the lies have stopped, things will never be remotely similar to what they once were. With children the lies they may believe could take a lifetime to work through.

What we say is very powerful. Death and life is in the tongue. We either uplift or tear down. There is no grey area.

Choose your words wisely.

Choose love.

Choose truth.

The Not So Evil Stepmom

Do you ever wonder if your love is breaking through to your stepkids?

Are you in a situation where the other parent is not easy to work with? Is life often like a rollercoaster due to the parental alienation tactics that brainwash each child that you love?

Do not give up. Do not stop loving your kids. 

Through the years my husband and I have learned some simple things that have helped our daughter have a “place of her own”. What is unique about her is that she has three homes rather than just one or two. It has been crucial to try to find something for her that is stable, safe & her own “home”. I will share a few tricks we have learned & maybe it will help someone get creative for their current situation.

Our kids deserve stability, safety & love. Stepmom, if you are not doing your part to help then you are joining the “problem”. Do not allow the stereotypical label of “Stepmom” or the vile actions from the other side validate your wrong reactions. Respond instead in love & extend mercy.

I strongly believe that my role as a Stepmom is to help facilitate the best relationship that my daughter can have with her Dad. On a similar note I believe I am to encourage all parental roles (in our case it would be bio-mom & grandma/grandpa) to work together for the good of our daughter. This means no trash talking anyone, and never ever taking out your frustration on your child or spouse from the unfair, illegal actions being done from the other side. At the end of the day if it feels you have bitten off your tongue you’ve done well (so pat yourself on the back… Yay).

I’ve also learned that there are appropriate times & ways to speak truth in love. For example, if a child has been misbehaving and the other side keeps making statements about how bad their child is, insinuating it is your husbands fault, I believe it is okay to say how good of a kid and Daddy they are. A child may misbehave but that does not make them bad nor does it necessarily mean one parent is to blame.

Create special traditions that are not dictated by specific dates. This year we do not get our daughter for Thanksgiving & it also lands on our weekend, which BM will not allow to be made up. So we plan our own Thanksgiving & stick to our traditional meal that is special to us. The times you share should not be dictated by having special dates on the actual day. It can always be done differently and creatively. This is a fact you’ll have to get used to. Greive it as you need to but do not get hung up on it. 

Give your child something that can be shared amongst all households. This will be the equivalent of “home” for your child. This could be a backpack, a stuffed animal or a small bag with items. Whatever it is this will be & can be the one stable thing that they can carry back & forth that will not change for them. You will find this provides a “safety” feature that often is not felt in each home. 

Never give up. Never give in. Keep loving. Keep hoping. Keep showing up and following through. 

Your impact is great. 

The Gaping Hole

Eternity in our heart

This morning I woke up from a dream with my Mom as real as could be. In the dream it was Christmas time and she was exchanging gifts with my Dad oblivious to the fact of the turmoil we had all gone through before she returned. It was such a dream that when I woke up I was actually upset. I remember asking her why she thought that leaving like she did to make us believe she was dead was a good idea. I remember telling her I was shocked to see her in person and I did not know whether to believe that she was real. All this time, my Mom and Dad thought that everything was normal.


I do not describe this dream to you simply for the sake of sharing it. There have been multiple times in the past week where the hole that my Mom left when she went home to heaven ached with the longing of her. Dreams like this as well as moments of grief have reminded me of the hole she left. It hit me further just how much no one and no thing could ever fill that spot she had in my heart, ever again. No matter what, a piece of me is forever missing.


But the beautiful thing about God is that like all holes in our hearts, he longs to fill them. No new health regime, no new drug, no new person, no new season of life, no new family member, nothing, absolutely nothing will ever fill that hole on our own. We all have holes in our hearts. Any hole is never intended for anything other than God.


We can try to replicate the feelings that we sometimes experience when we have the feel good encounters with Jesus. We can try to replicate the happy memories of the person long gone. We can try to replicate the feeling of just being content and happy with drugs, sex, and high success in life but none of that will last. It will not last because unless it is God, everything else is just a fake representation of what is our inheritance through Jesus Christ.


As my heart has ached with what has felt like a huge gaping hole at times, I have run to Jesus and fallen into his arms. When I have asked him to take away the ache he has helped soothe my soul. But there is still this longing and yearning. I have asked God about this. I have pondered it, chewed on it, and sought the scriptures. Then one day it clicked for me. Earth is temporary. Earth is not my home. Heaven is. So why on earth would I expect to never long or yearn for the things of Heaven, of eternity? I am homesick for a place that is part of my inheritance. It is a natural longing. It is a longing God placed inside us to remind us that what we experience here on earth is temporary and we must think eternal!


The connection that I experienced with my Mom was one that was a taste of heaven. It was intended to remind me who God is. It was intended to remind me that every second on earth counts and has eternal consequences. Am I being a good steward of my life and gifts? Am I doing all I can to love others and lead them to Jesus in all aspects of my life? What I portray through word and deed am I portraying him?


If you feel an ache for more, if you feel the longing for someone or something, remember that it is always for God. Some of these longings are so intense that we do all we can to fill them. Always choose to go to God. Do not be satisfied with anything other than him, even if it means making drastic changes to your life to spend hours with him everyday. Spiritual discipline is literally the best medicine. Get up earlier, take 15-minute breaks at work to read the Bible and pray. Make praying with your family a priority. Pursue Jesus. Make him a priority over anything else. Choose Jesus in everything. When you do this, you will make him famous. When you do this, you will think eternally and live your life in full abandon to him. When you do this, you are choosing love; you are choosing joy.


The feeling of happiness comes and goes. Love remains. When you have Love, choosing joy becomes easier because it is not about you anymore. Choosing joy comes from the times you spend with Jesus. When you choose him, the dirty things will naturally be sifted from the heart to help get rid of anything that hinders us from growing deeper with him. Sometimes our struggles come from a natural sifting of the heart because God wants to cleanse us of all things that keep us from diving deeper into his heart for us. He wants to dispel lies sown into our beings from years of struggles. He wants to be your only love, only desire, only joy because all good things flow from his blood.


If you feel the ache, turn to Jesus. If you have a hole that needs filled, choose Jesus. Our entire hearts are intended for God. He made us this way. He placed the longing for him in our hearts to reveal just a tiny bit of how much he longs for us. His love is the best medicine for any aching heart and body.


What will you choose to fill your heart? What will you choose for eternity?


Ecclesiastes 3:11

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.”

Perceiving the New

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My last post was about letting go. Since that time, I have realized on a deeper level how letting go is often a process and it can often come in different stages. But once you have let go of something completely, and God frees you from the pain, perceiving the new is so much easier. When pain is dragging you down it can make your eyesight a little cloudy. There are times when one small glimpse of the new is hard to focus on.


This weekend was a great weekend full of sorrow, and joy. I could not be more proud of my Dad. My Mom up in Heaven is so proud. God smiles like a proud Father. To see the new coming forth and being able to be a part of that is by far one of the greatest gifts in life. I could not be more grateful that God made it possible so that I could be a part of this new journey with my Dad being installed at a new church. Healing occurred this weekend.


As any healing process goes, you have to be willing to endure extreme moments of pain and sorrow. It can hit you in a rush and overwhelm you to the feeling of drowning. At the end of the rush, as long as you handle it correctly, your breath can return and a feeling of relief follows. With this relief, perceiving the new can become a celebration.


My Dad preached out of Isaiah 43. It is a perfect message about life. If you love and follow Jesus, this passage can pertain at any part of life. It is another passage that reinforces how we must never get stuck in the past or remain stagnant. It is evidence that you must continue living your life. You disobey and dishonor God when you stop growing and moving forward with him. You dishonor God when you do not move on. Because God is always up to new things. He is always working powerfully, you just have to stop looking back, and have eyes pointed in his direction, which is at the new, miraculous, glorious things that he is doing.


This weekend marked the new that God is doing in my Dad’s life, as well as part of the new for our family. And as hard as some things are because of the separation from our Mom, there is so much to celebrate. God is so good. He places the lonely in families. He restores the broken. He brings healing to pain. Because of him we can have joy amidst the sorrow. Laughter can become the best medicine. And when times of pain arise in the healing process, new breath and new life can begin to form, bringing forth hope.


You must let go of your past in order to “perceive the new”. Looking back does you no good. This does not mean that you cannot reminisce or talk about memories. Those are all ways to celebrate the people God gave to you. But looking back to keep things the same way, never willing to change or see things in a way that God desires, is wrong. To obey God, is to perceive the new. To obey God is to honor and uplift God. To obey God is to accept that you must change how you think about things and instead have the mind of Christ. That is how my Dad is living his life. I believe that any new change in his life will be a result of his obedience and love for God.


I believe that the new that has come and the new that is coming is cause for a celebration even if my heart still hurts and yearns for my Mom. It is a comfort to know that my Dad feels the same way. He loves my Mom. This is evident as he obeys God, perceives the new, and lives life full of love, and joy amidst the sorrow. He continues to honor her memory by choosing life and love. He continues to honor God by not only perceiving the new but also embracing it. Anyone who states otherwise I question your heart and motives. Anyone who says this is wrong needs to seriously do a proper study of Gods word.


Healing is a painful process but scripture never stated it must be done alone. Healing is a process. Letting go of the past must be done in order to move forward and perceive the new. Holding on never does anyone any good. Bitterness, a joyless, and a disobedient life is what you inherit by holding on. Letting go is actually where the truth about freedom and control can be experienced. Because in letting go, life is the greatest even amidst sorrow. Joy overflows. And God is there always to hold you close to his heart in a peaceful embrace. Holding on to have your own way is like a screaming child battling against his will, and pushing him away while he allows you to throw a fit. How pointless is that, right? God knows best. Let go. Perceive the new. Embrace it. Celebrate it. Obey.


Isaiah 43:18-19 (ESV)

“18 “Remember not the former things,
    nor consider the things of old.
19 Behold, I am doing a new thing;
    now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
    and rivers in the desert.


I encourage you to read this entire chapter as it is pretty epic! God loves you and he knows what is best. Now, it is up to you to decide whether you truly trust him. Letting go shows that you do. By all means allow yourself to feel every feeling of sadness and pain but do not remain there. By all means weep and tell God why you are hurting so badly, but do not push him away.


He will give you strength for the healing process. He will not let you drown. He will restore new breath and replenish your soul. Joy is yours to choose and his arms are opened wide.

Living Life with My Hero.

Do you ever have moments in life where you just wish that you could fast forward? I am past the point of wanting to go back in time to relive the moments with my Mom and my family. To live in the past is to have no future. But there is also this other reality where if you just look to the future your present becomes invaluable.


I have to be honest with you for a moment here. There have been many moments in my life the past month with the holidays, that all I wanted was to not feel what I was feeling and to not be where I was. Grieving comes in huge tidal waves at times. There are moments where it feels like your feet have become unstable, and the shock from the cold water takes your breath away. It can consume you for a time and in that moment, all you want is to feel something good and be somewhere different.


But the important part of grieving is working through it, feeling every bit of everything that is inside you knowing that with time, things will get better. It is also so vital that you continue to live your life. To many people, they think that they must dwell in the past, and in essence stop living for a time. But the best way to give honor to anyone that you love that has passed away is to live life to the fullest. This means, continuing on serving God, loving and growing your families and learning the new you. This has no timetable, whether short or long.


One thing that I know for a fact is that my Mom would want us to enjoy life. She would not want us to stay in silence always looking back at our past with her. We can still honor her and remember her in every action that we do, while moving forward and choosing joy. Our future is not in our past with her. This gives her no honor if we stay there. It also gives her no honor if we tell others how to live or not live their lives as we move forward. I know that my Mom is being honored in how my Dad is living his life. In fact I can guarantee you that not only is she smiling in joy knowing that he is not alone, but God is smiling proudly with how my Dad is living so honorably. I have huge respect for how my Dad is living. I could not be anymore proud of him! He’s my hero.


When I get told that I am not honoring my Mom or that I have not changed one bit, I am now at a place where I can say what a blatant lie that is. I can say with no doubt in my mind, and with full confidence in my heart, that those are all lies because of who I have become in Christ. I am not the same person that I was many years ago let alone even a month ago. God is refining parts in me that I did not even know needed care. I know a lie when I see one and it no longer causes me to feel the need to prove those people wrong. I have no need to. The evidence is how I live my life. So my simple reply is, “I forgive you.” This is vital because forgiveness is a process and often comes with a constant care of choosing forgiveness when pain can arise within again.


And pain does arise, especially when our families are at a place of allowing new people in and we learn who we are becoming. I wholeheartedly support my Dad. He is on a new adventure full of grief and sorrow as well as new joy, a new beginning and a new life with an amazing woman. My Mom is up in Heaven rooting, “Way to go Ed! You are living the way I wanted you to without me. We knew this day might come. It is okay. I understand. Keep on living. Laugh more. Love more. Forgive more. Cherish every moment with our kids. Cherish every moment with the woman that I prayed would come into your life.” But more importantly I know how proud God is of my Dad.


With that said and with Gods word, there really is no way to argue against that. Live life. Choose life. Choose love. Make God proud.