Monday, July 6, 2020

"God offers courage, not escape."

If you are familiar with my story, you know that I openly talk about my past issues with alcohol over-consumption.  I decided to share this part of my story so that it no longer had this secret hold on my life.  I felt alone in my struggle and as soon as I spoke it out loud, I felt as if I finally had control and that there was a community of people who could relate with me.  Speaking out about our sin patterns gives us authority over our choices and sometimes even more awareness.  When we finally stare that sin head-on and say, "no more will you win", WE start to win.  It starts with little steps and grows into strides and finally into summiting our sin mountain where it's so far beneath us, we can't imagine going back down.

As I was thinking about how I would have typically reacted during a time of unsettling and staring into a foggy future, I started to be so grateful I gave up alcohol before the whole pandemic began.  The last drop of alcohol I had was on January 2nd of 2020.  I had lost the baby in November and slowly started sipping wine again.  It never got out of control, and for that I'm grateful, but it was just so clear that it fit me like an ill-fitting sweater.  It was uncomfortable and I felt like I looked silly in that sweater.  It was an old garment, used and tattered and ready to go in the garbage.  So I finally threw it away for good.  Soon after I threw it out, I did some hard work of making myself truly believe I didn't need it anymore.  I told friends and family that I would no longer have "casual" drinks and not to offer them to me.  I told them if they saw me drinking, to confront me about it.  I think giving others permission to help me in that way gave me even more confidence in my decision to be done.

At church a couple weeks ago, my pastor was speaking thoughts I had in my head before walking into the service.  I started jotting notes down on my phone and as soon as he started speaking, I got my notes back out and added to them.  He beautifully spoke to what I was thinking.  This whole quarantine/pandemic/summer of riots has felt very.... heavy.  strange.  tiresome. among many other descriptive phrases I could use... but I'll refrain.  Pastor Dave described them as stones being thrown.  Stone after stone just kept on coming.

Shut down - stone.  "Stay home"- stone. Closed parks - stone.  Closed schools - stone.  "You might die" - stone.  "Wear a mask or you hate your grandma"- stone. "You're racist" - stone.  "Defund the cops" - stone. Burning buildings - stone.  "Your opinions are wrong" - stone.  My Nanny dying - stone.  My 34 year old cousin dying - stone.  My great-uncle dying - stone.

Stone after stone just kept on coming.  My mind tends to be very optimistic (maybe to a fault) but it just seemed like a lot.

Then Dave said some powerful words.

"God offers courage, but not necessarily escape." 

 My mind immediately went to what I was writing as I walked in the building.  "When we start to focus on circumstances, we start turning to substances.  But is what we are turning to anything of actual substance?"  I was feeling those stones coming and I didn't see an end in sight.  My optimistic brain was short-circuiting.  I could only be positive about so much!  The world seemed doomed.  I didn't have my normal version of escape anymore, it just wasn't an option for me.  What I started to do was consume as much information as I could.  I read news and blogs and opinions all. day. long.  I was addicted to information.  I needed answers and there were NONE!  No matter how much I searched, the only answer I could come up with was, PRAY!!! Pray and know that this is part of the story that God is writing right now.  Humanity is full of sin and aching, as I wrote in my last blog post.  We will die on this planet (unless we live during the rapture - COME JESUS!!) and Dave said another set of comforting words. 

"God offers heaven, not earthly safety."

  God never ever promised that we would live a comfortable, safe and happy life on EARTH.  He promises us freedom from the worries of this world by giving us eternal life in Heaven.  Beautiful, sin-free Heaven.  Then he said,

 "When you live a heaven life, it changes how you see earthly circumstances around you."  

That couldn't be MORE true!  As soon as you slip on your Jesus glasses, your perspective changes.  This life isn't all there is.  There is SO Much more to look forward to.  While we are here, we aren't to worry or fret or lose hope.  Jesus IS hope!  He is the source of all we need.   The greatest comfort we have.  

"God offers peace while the stones keep coming." 

To give you a little perspective, Dave spoke this message after learning that his wife was diagnosed, yet again, with breast cancer.  Now THAT is a man of faith.  A man on a mission to free people from their circumstantial mindsets.  

Phil 4:7 " And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." 

As we stare into this uncertain future, set down your phone, seek the Lord and spend time in prayer.  We are living through something historic, possibly even "Biblical".  (definitely Biblical) Be grateful that we get to be a part of this time on Earth.  We were hand picked and chosen to be living here during this time.  Choose your words wisely, choose unity over division and relax in the Lord, knowing that He has this all planned out.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

The Earth and all it's people are groaning

My last night at the beach, we were in awe of this amazing lightning storm happening all around us.  There was no thunder, and it never did rain, but the sky was electric.  This was the night the riots started in Minneapolis.  

I was at the beach when the news story broke about the George Floyd killing.  I was only using my phone to take pictures and post them quickly on Instagram as a little "vacation log" and got off of twitter and my news apps for the week.  When I got back in the car for the drive home, I was appalled at what I saw.  I couldn't bring myself to watch the entire 9, some odd, minute video, but I did watch parts of it.  I saw people getting angry, rightfully so!  What happened wasn't only BIZARRE it was WRONG!  I don't understand what that Cop was doing or why, but that's besides the point.  What the point IS, is that over the past couple weeks since watching this, I have seen some terrible evils rearing their head.  There are mad cops, there are mad people in the black community, there are mad people in the white community... basically everyone is upset.  Instead of getting upset TOGETHER, these people started getting upset APART, turning on each other and their own neighbors.  
The more I see, the more I know that this is all part of what has been prophesied for years and years.  First, you have a WORLDWIDE pandemic, forcing billions of people to completely halt and alter their lives.  There were people dying and afraid.  There were people killing themselves because they had lost everything.  There were people turning on each other because they didn't agree about masks/no masks etc..  

This started the unrest.  

Once things started calming down and starting to get back to "semi-normal" a race-war began.  American citizens, who have been split in half and getting further apart for the past 15 years, started turning on one another.  Black against white, cop against citizen.  Anarchy, chaos, confusion, murder in the streets, riots.  If you read the bible, this is nothing new.  "There is nothing new under the sun." There will be very dark days in the end times.  I am not saying Jesus is coming back tomorrow, I'm saying that the earth is groaning.  The labor pains are becoming closer together.  Humanity is hurting and crying out for a savior they don't know they need.  The answer to these race wars isn't more or less legislation, more or less government, more or less laws, more or less cops... the answer is quite literally Jesus.  Spreading the GOOD news that there is a God who loves us so much, that we have abundant Grace and Mercy.  The bible is packed FULL of sinners hand picked and chosen by God to do big and mighty things.  I'm not talking about sinners like, "I stubbed my toe and said a curse word" or "I lied to my granny", but sinners like murderers (Paul) and adulterers (David) being hand picked.  God does this to show us that nobody is too far gone to have their life impacted by the Gospel.  Nobody is below leading. These men were chosen as an example of the redeeming love of Jesus.  A love so powerful, that despite your past, you can be used for GENERATIONS to come to bring people to Jesus.  Isn't that good news?  Aren't those the kind of messages we need to be spreading right now?  

I have wondered if I should stay silent in this time, or if I should speak up.  I have been told by many that right now isn't the time for "white voices" to be heard, but that is just further dividing us.  I don't believe that God can only use certain voices at this time.  If you feel led to talk, TALK!  If you feel led to be silent, be silent!  If you feel led to get down on your knees and pray, do it.  If you feel like the only real change will come from marching with a sign, then go do that.  We should be listening to the call of the Holy Spirit on our own lives right now.  I know when to shut up, when to apologize and when to back down.  Right now, I have been doing my best to listen and elevate voices that need to be heard.  I haven't given my own opinion on much that is taking place and a lot of that comes from fear.  I don't want to be criticized for my views or beliefs and I have a need to be liked (that is slowly fading).  I want to have these tough conversations, but the answer I keep coming back to is that these people need Jesus.  We ALL need Jesus.  What we don't need is bowing before men apologizing for crimes we did not commit.  We do not need to apologize for the way God created us or for the life we are living.  We carry around with us enough guilt and shame as it is, we don't need to lump more on top of our shoulders over something we have no control over. We are each unique, with unique life experiences and voices.  God placed us in our neighborhoods and families, it's what we do with our time that will shape us into the people we are meant to be.  Instead of feeling like a victim, we should recognize the victory we ALREADY have in Jesus. ALL OF US!  I have come up against some really tough situations, and those have shaped me into the person I am today.  I have made some TERRIBLE decisions, but I needed to walk down that road in order to be refined by God.  We go through fire in order to be refined.  On the other side of that hard, of that heart break or that storm we find beauty.  We find redemption, mercy and grace.  We find that no matter what, God has our BEST in mind.  He presents us with many choices and paths, its which way we decide to go that ultimately crafts our character.  I wont make any excuse for the decisions I have made in the past.  I knew when I chose to drink, it would only lead to regret, yet I chose it time and time again.  God might lead us to the same place over and over again, and when we finally decide to stop dead in our tracks and turn the other direction, we find true freedom.

Now, let's talk about the elephant in the room.  Racism.  I believe it exists because I believe that sin and Satan are very real.  Sin leads people to do terrible, awful things.  The ONLY cure to racism is to cleans the heart through the sanctification of Jesus' grace and love.  Without it, we will continue in our sin patterns and the hate and darkness within will only grow stronger and more callous.

Living in sin and becoming desensitized to evil makes people devalue life.  We have celebrated horror and gore, "action" movies full of murder and graphic images.  Pornography has devalued women and sex.  Abortion has completely destroyed our idea that human life is sacred.  These ideas get imbedded in people. Our culture celebrates drug and alcohol abuse, promiscuity and letting a woman "choose".  We have Christian leaders who have turned on the heart of Jesus for his people and preached a message heavy with Grace and leaving out earthly consequences.  Jesus doesn't PUNISH people for their choices, he merely allows earthly consequences to sin to happen.  Arrests, guilt, depression, worthlessness, divorce, adultery, aborted babies, sickness, child abuse, wreckless violence, anger.  These are often consequences of when we sin against ourselves or someone sins against us.  We have got to understand WHY God warns us about certain sins in the Bible!  It is for our GOOD!  It isn't to deprive of us joy, but to give us joy that cannot be claimed in an instant, but lasting joy.  It's to give us LOVE!  If we harbor jealousy, comparison, anger, lust, pride -  those things lead to a dehumanizing of those around us.  An unhealthy self-love where we lift ourselves up on a pedestal and try to be better than everyone else.  

There is so much darkness and hurt and oppression ALL OVER THE WORLD!  There are children born into a life of trafficking, never knowing what it feels like to be truly loved.  There are women used for their bodies to create babies to go into the trafficking circulation.  Trafficking victims only have an average of  a 7 year life span and they have to keep up with demand.  There are MORE slaves today than EVER before in human history.  These people need their names said too.  MILLIONS of people who are quite literally invisible.  These children deserve to play with friends and cry on a trusted lap.  These women deserve to have a family and raise their children.  These men deserve to get paid a fair wage for their work.  These people are treated as disposable.  And guess what?  They are white, black, Asian, Somalian, Australian, Canadian, Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Korean... you name a race or nationality and they're in circulation right now being used, abused and then disposed of.  THIS is the greatest human rights issue facing the world today.  THIS is what we should be talking about.  I am not trying to take away from the people in our country who feel like they are treated differently or not given the same opportunities as others.  I am trying to point out, that WE LIVE IN A FALLEN WORLD.  We live in a selfish, evil world and there will be NO redemption until Jesus returns for the second time.  If we truly love people, we will share with them the good news that earthly suffering is temporary.  These "earth suits" are not our home and we have a day to look forward to that there will be no more pain, or hurting or racism or slavery or abuse or hate or evil.  We will be free from it all in the end.  UNTIL then, we are to love.  We are to UNITE, not divide.  And we are to expect to be persecuted and hated.  Jesus told us what to expect in Matthew 24 and 25 and it's that we are to be persecuted like he was.  The world will hate us.  The world hates the truth.  Look to the WORD, not the world.  Understand the scriptures, especially the warnings of the end times when people will seek out for themselves only those who speak what they want to hear, and silence voices who don't.  Seek truth and speak truth.  

"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables." 2 Tim 4:3-4

"So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the WHOLE WORLD." Rev. 12:9

"And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." - John 3:19

I have been praying constantly about this unrest, about the deep hurting and confusion happening all over the world.  Let me say one last thing.  Nothing will become suddenly, magically solved by who we vote for.  God had plans when he laid the FOUNDATIONS of the world.  Please, do not place your entire faith and trust on ANY man or woman to do the job that only God can do.  No president or politician can heal human hearts.  Please, by all means, still vote! But we must understand that this isn't a bad policy or law, it's the groaning of human hearts in need of a savior.


Eph 6:12

Monday, May 4, 2020

Podcast Interview recap with Kay Levesque of Love 2 Hope

If you haven't yet, listen to the podcast here!  This post is a little summery of what we discussed..

I  had the privilege this week to interview a speaker from last year at my MOPS group.  Kay Levesque and her family came and spoke to our group about the realities of Human-trafficking, Sex-trafficking, Labor-trafficking and child-trafficking.  I had heard Christine Caine with A21 speak on the horrific realities of human trafficking before, so I knew a little bit about it.  I think most of us know that there are modern day slaves.  If you're like me, you didn't really want to know much about it because then that knowledge comes with a responsibility.  It's the sad reality of most consumers out there.  But did you realize how staggering the child sex trafficking trade is?  In this post, I'm going to sum up a little bit of our conversation, but I would encourage you to go to her website Love 2 Hope for more resources.

We talked a little bit about hotspots in the U.S.  A lot of trafficking happens over the border, under the guise of refugees and immigrants.  If you're wanting to know more locations Polaris Project has a lot of resources and an infrared map that shows the "hotspots".

Here are just a few facts I jotted down during our discussion.

30-40 million people are trafficked globally (includes all forms of slavery)
5 million of those are sex-trafficking victims, and is growing every year.
Sex trafficking is the 2nd highest grossing criminal activity worldwide at $150 billion annually.  (second to drugs and right above illegal weapons, with projections to be the number 1 criminal enterprise, thanks to the internet)
women and children who are sex-trafficked have a 7 year life expectancy because of the abuse they endure day in and day out.  No breaks.

The numbers seem almost overwhelming.

So, what can we do to fight human trafficking?

Become involved!  Pray, journal and become educated.  Watch documentaries (True Cost was recommended), read survivor stories, BELIEVE survivors, educate your children about the dangers of pornography, understand that pornography and sex-trafficking and slavery go hand-in-hand. Get involved in local non-prophits.  Follow organizations that fight trafficking and share their content on social media.  Falkirk Center, A21, Love2Hope, Shared Hope International just to name a few.

Now, to fight labor trafficking. First, head to this slavery footprint website to open your eyes to how many estimated slaves you have directly working for you. Download the app, Buycott, you can scan barcodes and find out more about what you're purchasing.  Look for the label Fair Trade on items you buy.  (chocolate, coffee, bananas and clothing have the highest slavery footprint.)  Buy second hand clothing to reduce directly purchasing from brands that exploit slaves, or go to this website to find clothes that are fair trade!  There are many more ways to fight labor trafficking, this is by no means an exhaustive list, but it's a start!

This is by far the most slaves our world has ever had in history.  This human rights issue has no racial preference, and effects men, women and children.  Please,  educate yourself, share what you find and do your part to fight this!

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Nobody said it was easy.

 I'm a big, huge Coldplay fan.  This has nothing to do with the rest of my post, other than this part of their song, The Scientist adequately describes how I am feeling right now. 

Nobody said it was easy
It's such a shame for us to part
Nobody said it was easy
No one ever said it would be this hard
Oh take me back to the start
I was just guessing at numbers and figures
Pulling your puzzles apart
Questions of science, science and progress
Do not speak as loud as my heart
This is just a snippet of this song, but I sat down to write a post about the way I was feeling about this whole Pandemic, and the words, "Nobody said it was easy" came to my head.  I have been struggling the past few weeks how to adequately describe my emotions, thoughts and feelings surrounding this time we are all facing.  I have had moments of absolute peace, severe anxiety, utter devastation, motivation, restfulness, yearning and grief.  

I want to talk about each of these feelings and explain why.  

Let's talk about peace.  For too long, I have felt hurried and rushed.  I already have extreme FOMO (fear of missing out) and tend to pass that onto my children, whether they feel that or not.  I have always thought of myself as an extrovert, but it's partly because I'm afraid I will miss out on something epic and awesome if I don't go to every. thing.  Since the Coronavirus has halted our entire lives and cancelled all of our plans, I have had tremendous peace.  We have slept in, erased our calendar and done life simply and quietly at home.  Soccer was cancelled, Maxine's three-day school was cancelled (and all the things that come with that), church, MOPS, coffee dates, playdates, Sunday lunch.  While I miss a lot of these things, it has made me reassess what we will allow back into our lives when this is all over.  I have felt a lot of peace just simply being with family.  

Yet, on the opposite end of the spectrum is severe anxiety.  I have never been one to struggle with SEVERE anxiety.  Every now and then, I will get anxious and overwhelmed and have negative feelings that seem to take over, but I've always suppressed them.  I don't like to live in a negative place for very long, so what I tend to do is vent out all of my frustrations verbally to someone or put on a good sad movie to cry it all out.  I don't cry easily so it helps to have a jumping off point.  In the past I would drown out my feelings with alcohol, but since that isn't an option, I have been feeling all of my feelings without much of an outlet.  I haven't been able to get away from the kids for breathers and talk with my people to vent things out and have a fresh perspective brought my way.  I have been fed fear-mongering lies from the media that I have been careful not to let infiltrate my thoughts, but the thoughts still come.  I am trying to figure out who I can trust and where we will be going from here.  I have crippling scenarios of "what ifs" going through my mind and waking me up in my dreams.  But, I have that balance of Peace to bring me back down.  The balance of God's word FILLED with promises, knowing that no matter what we face on the Earth, He is with us, and has the ultimate control.  No virus or world leader has the power, only HE does.  

Now, let's talk about the utter devastation, motivation and grief I have been feeling.  I don't know when it began, but a few years ago, I started to realize if I thought about someone else's pain and heartache enough, I could actually feel it.  I would begin feeling it on such an intense level I wouldn't be able to shake it from my mind.  Jordan told me that I needed to protect myself from these feelings, so I stopped being informed about the depravity of our world.  The magnitude of it would overwhelm me and I would cry for days on and off and feel pain deep in my heart.  I have realized that separating myself from the pain others face in this way is also not healthy.  We all need to face the truth about our world and the pain and horror others face, or we will stop caring. At the beginning of this epidemic, I was thinking about all of the people who live paycheck to paycheck, wondering how they would feed their families and make ends meet.  I thought about the substance abuse and physical abuse that would be ramped up during this time in the homes of some.  Praying for these people has been a daily priority, as I don't even know what else to do at this moment in time.  

I have watched the daily press conferences that the President has held for the past couple of weeks, just to stay informed.  The other day, he said something and nobody even followed up with a question.  He had openly said that he was going to be fighting the drug cartels trying to infiltrate this country during this pandemic, and had released the full power of the military in order to do this.  One of the reporters asked him if there were other illicit activities these cartels were carrying out.  Trump said human trafficking and sex trafficking.  He went on to talk about it for a couple minutes, and when he was finished, the media went right back to their fear-mongering tactics and president-hating rhetoric.  They completely ignored what he was saying.  As I started to look into this, I saw things that devastated my heart but brought me a lot of hope.  The media refuses to cover any of it, for whatever reason, but I needed to understand more.   In January he talked about completely wiping out these large human trafficking organizations and working to rid it from the earth.  There are literally millions of people suffering in slavery around the world.  Slavery is bigger today than it has ever been in the history of mankind.  

When I started to realize that Trump has been fighting two "invisible enemies" during this time, I wept.  I wept for the callousness of the media and people that don't support him no matter what he does.  I wept for the women, men and children trafficked all over this world.  I wept for a couple days while the weight of it all seemed almost overwhelming.  I was led to Psalms 2-6 and just got on my knees and wept them to the Lord as a prayer.  I have been filled with a fire that has turned my weeping into righteous anger.  I am feeling motivated now, more than ever to get involved in some capacity.  I am praying right now what God would have me realistically do during this time.  (I will be writing more on this topic next week.)

The next thing I have been feeling is a yearning.  We have been spending a lot of time outside and together as a family.  We've been barefoot in the yard planting thigs, playing in dirt and listening to the leaves in the trees blow in the wind.   I have a yearning for slow, nature, connection, friendship.  I know that we were not created to live these fast-paced, consumer driven lives.  I know we were made for much much more.  I'm hoping for a mass revival, spiritual awakening and a real shift in the way people make decisions moving forward.  Not revolving around success, money, fame or the "American dream", but rather for gratefulness, humility, community and spirituality. 

I know we live in a fallen world, full of fallen people, and we will never truly experience the fullness of life God designed for us until the time of the new heaven and the new earth arrives.  But, while we are here, maybe we can give a glimpse of that life to each other, our families and communities and start to value every human life.  It's time to stop turning a blind eye to the cries of poverty, slavery, injustice and human rights all over the world silenced by the Media and Hollywood.  It's time to truly see that this world isn't operating how God intended it to, and move in a different direction.   Let's heal, starting with our own hearts and way we spend the time left in our lives and continue that ripple into our communities and eventually, the world.  

"Nobody said it was easy, Oh let's go back to the start."

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Here's the real: Life is hard, and still good.

When I say The Real Life is Good, I want to say it and mean it.

Here's the truth: Life is hard, life is a struggle, life is unpredictable, life is a gift, life is fleeting, life is precious, life isn't ours, life is overwhelming.  And through it all, Life is Good.  Real life.  Not the picture of life you see happening while you scroll.  Not the life that you imagine for yourself, but the life that is yours.

Through the hard, good can be seen.  Even if just a glimmer.

I'll use myself as an example.  Here's the hard.  In November, I suspected that the baby I had been carrying wasn't alive anymore. I had stopped feeling kicks and had a gut feeling something was off.  I needed to hear the heartbeat.  I went into my appointment anxious that my suspicions would come true.. and they did.  I went through a rough week and next couple months.  After my hard labor and delivery with Daisy, Jordan and I decided that we were done having children.  I didn't want to go through anything remotely close to that again.  Then I obviously got baby fever again, and we started trying again.  Then after losing the baby in November, I told him that I was actually finally done.  No more, I don't want to experience any more trauma.  I had 3 beautiful babies and was blessed above and beyond with my kids... fast forward a few months and I got baby fever again.  With my due date approaching (April 13th) I have been hyper aware that I am not pregnant.  A family friend who was due around the time as me, had her baby, and right when I saw the precious one's face I unexpectedly burst out into tears.  I should be experiencing that.  I threw the phone across my bed and let myself weep.  Then I heard God tell me, "It's okay to long for what was lost, but it's also okay to rejoice with those who rejoice."  So I picked my phone back up and stared at the sweet face, saying a prayer for them as they enter into this sacred time with their baby.

This week, something beautiful also happened, I took a pregnancy test and a faint positive was shown.  I was pregnant again!  How redeeming!  I had planned to tell my family on Easter (the day before my original due date).  I thought it would be a beautiful way to turn the sadness around into an unexpected surprise!  After 3 positive pregnancy tests this week, I have experienced what is called a "Chemical Pregnancy".  A child had definitely been conceived, but my body had not fully become pregnant, and I miscarried.  I'm disappointed, sad, confused and losing a little bit of hope that I will ever have that 4th child we so desired.  I keep thinking my body is broken, that my time of being pregnant, cuddling an infant, nursing, being sleep deprived and all the things that come with a new baby, that stage of my life has passed.  I'm trusting that this is part of God's plan for my life and the story He is writing.

Sitting here, typing this now, I am watching the children I DO have play, sitting in a comfortable house where every need is taken care of.  The rest of the world is going through a true epidemic, but I am not.  My husband's job is secure, we have plenty of food, nobody is sick and we are protected.  I struggle to allow myself to mourn anything today.  I know that God desires to give his children good gifts, and he truly, truly has.  The glimmer of hope that I see unfolding before me is that I have years of parenting to look forward to with my three.  So many milestones, stages and decades to look forward to of being their mom.

I have started using my voice for speaking up about the realities of life.  With that in mind, I won't keep my story hidden.  I have started sharing and just because this is recent, real and raw doesn't mean I wont talk about it.  8 out of 10 miscarriages are in the first three months.  1 in 4 women experience miscarriage.  A chemical pregnancy is still the loss of a conceived child that was loved and wanted.  These are the facts.  I was chosen to walk through the things I've walked through, for whatever reason, and I will continue to share those things.

"Therefore, we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."  2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Friday, March 27, 2020

Less is More

This morning, like many my Dad said he experienced as I was growing up, "the Lord woke me up." (Maxine's electric toothbrush kept turning on randomly in my bathroom like it was a set alarm clock... okay, God, I'm awake!")  I have had just so much on my mind lately during this "pandemic".  I'm thinking about every person impacted by this.  Whether it be job loss, financial uncertainty, lonliness and isolation, cancelled trips, babies due during this time... it's all weighing on me.  I am somewhat of an empath, so when I think too deeply about any of these things, the feeling is crippling.  I, myself, haven't experienced much loss out of this situation.  We are definitely blessed that Jordan's job is a necessity at this point in time, and if anything he will just end up working MORE if he's needed. And what's funny, is I have always considered myself an extrovert, but I'm discovering just how much I enjoy being home and having ZERO plans.

What will life look like after this?  Will everyone live a slower life?  Will people go back to eating dinner with their families every night and spending their weekends at home and not going from activity to activity?  Will kids get the opportunity to combine home and school in some kind of hybrid school?  Will jobs allow people to work from home more often now that they've seen how much can still get accomplished?  I don't think there will be a great depression following this experience, I think there will be a great awakening and a financial boom!  There are new ways of living, working and educating being explored right now that could transform our very way of life!  We are starting to see what needs to stay and what can go.  The priority shift about to take place will send shockwaves throughout the world, but I don't think for the bad.

God missed us.  He saw how anxious, stressed, overwhelmed, short-on-time, hurried and greedy we were and decided to give us the much-needed break we all so desperately needed.  No way we would have chosen any of this for ourselves, but He said, "Enough is enough.  I AM enough.  What you have is enough.  Those in your 4 walls are enough.  Breathe. Rest. Be."
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” - Matthew 11: 28-30

What God promises us in times of rest is a light burden.  He doesn't want us to pile more and more and more upon our plate that we don't even know where to start.  As a nation, we are in extreme debt.  I don't mean the government, I mean as individuals.  Our need for more, bigger, better will never end.  God created us perfect in a perfect garden in a perfect order... Since the fall, man has been striving ever since to attain that perfection again.  In that striving, we have given up some of the most important things in life in order to have just a little taste of perfection.  

We clean and decorate our homes based off of a Pinterest perfection that isn't sustainable.  We cook our meals comparing them to cookbook pictures and Pinterest food photographers who work on their craft YEARS before achieving the perceived perfection.  We turn in our paid-off vehicles that need occasional maintenance for an upgraded version that will look the part and never need new parts.  We send our children to school 40 hours a week for others to raise as we spend our days working to pay for the things we don't need and can't afford.  We grieve the time spent away from them but don't see how we can do life any other way.  We click the link under what she's wearing because those jeans need to be in my closet.  We starve ourselves so we can then fit into those jeans... they don't fit perfect quite yet. We skip church on Sunday mornings because it's the only morning of the week when we can sleep in.  Somethings gotta give, right?  

We are constantly going, constantly measuring and weighing ourselves and finding ourselves wanting, when God has said over and over again that we are enough.  Just as we are, with what we have.  He will provide.  1 Cor. 9:8 "And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." 

2 Peter 1:3 "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires." 

The bible verses about Provision and rest are endless.  

My hope in writing this post is not to throw guilt on any person, but to start the wheels in your head turning.  Jordan and I live in a comfortable house, we have an extra vehicle "just in case", we have 3 healthy children, our pantry is stocked (and toilet paper supply), we have running water, climate controlled house, comfortable beds, clean clothes (a plenty)… and yet I have found myself wanting more, needing more, feeling restless, trying to fill the gaps of imperfection with counterfeit perfection.  I find myself wanting a bigger house, a cleaner back yard, a perfectly organized house, a the best school-choice, upgraded vehicles, a part-time-job to give myself some kind of false affirmation, a new hair style, an extra pair of shoes (although I have enough).  I find myself going down this spiral and I have to remind myself the lifestyle we have chosen to live cannot realistically attain all of these things.  I compare what we have to what others have, instead of being grateful for the wonderful life God has provided for us.  I tend to look at it as an itch for change, but in reality, it's an itch for more.  

God is saying to everyone in this moment in time, "Less."  

I pray each of us has less from here on out.  Less worry, less stress, less comparison, less sleepless nights, less debt, less on our plates.  

Just, Less.  

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Podcast Episode 2 - Carmen Needham Interview - resources

Hey yall!  If you're here, that means you're wanting some resources that Carmen mentioned in our episode!  Thank you for listening and I can't wait to share more with you!

First:  R. Keeth Matheny -

Second: Parenting with Love & Logic:

Third: The Whole Brain Child: Dr. Daniel Siegel

Below is an example chart like the one we discussed in the episode.

Identify your time of struggle:

Ex: Bath time

What is the plan:
Jobs we can help to engage the little people?

How do we know if we are starting to escalate?
De- Escalation Techniques


Kid needs to get cleaned

What is your goal?

Get him cleaned

What is your fluff that is not important?

It doesn’t have to be a bath, it can be a shower.
Get rid of the toys that cause him to want to stay longer and cause a problem.

Are there any distractions?
Get rid of the phone.

Give Jack a shower instead of a bath. Get rid of the toys in the bath tub so they are not a temptation or discussion for a longer shower. Get him cleaned and then to bed. 5-7 minutes top.

Have him wash his own body with the loofa. Help him put his own shampoo in his hair.

Triggers? Yelling from the toddler

Physiological Responses?
My heart starts racing

Is your phone in your hand?
If it is, let it go and drop kick it sister!

·         Create a signal with your child that you need a break
·         Do not speak. Or say your empathetic one liner, but don’t engage.
·         Put your hands behind your back to avoid physical contact with your child.
·         Remove yourself from the situation
·         Move it or Lose it: Jumping Jacks, Yoga, Stretches, deep breathing technique (Breath-in 4 seconds, hold 4 seconds, Breath-out 4 seconds, hold 4 seconds- Repeat), meditate, pray
·         Avoid your phone

Identify your time of struggle:

What is the plan:
Jobs we can help to engage the little people?

How do we know if we are starting to escalate?
De- Escalation Techniques


What is your goal?

What is your fluff that is not important?

Are there any distractions?


Physiological Responses?

Is your phone in your hand?

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Overcast skies and Downcast spirit

It's so odd when I go outside and the atmosphere matches what is happening within.  There are sunny happy days where the birds are chirping and I am feeling bubbly and excited about life.  Then there are days like today, where there are clouds hovering above me literally and figuratively.  The rain drips from the skies as the tears drip from my eyes.  This isn't a sobby journal entry, rather, it's an expression of human nature.  God created us with complex emotions and struggles.  Relationships seem to bloom and flourish one day and the next seem to be wilting and the growth - stunted.  Jobs can be successful one day - and the next be swept out from under us.  Emotions can over-take us and in turn make us lose our focus on the Lord.  For a personality type like myself (enneagram 7, thank you Carlin...) my  mood doesn't stay down for long.  I do not enjoy wallowing or even being slightly sad.  I enjoy being happy and upbeat so when these days come, I tend to look for the silver lining or purpose for these feelings.

I was reading about Jacob today in Genesis and what I read was interesting for my feelings this exact day:  (and please don't skim over these verses, like I sometimes tend to do... read them)

Genesis 32:24-28
"So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until day break.  When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob's hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man.  Then the man said, "Let me go, for it is daybreak." But Jacob replied, "I will not let you go unless you bless me."  The man asked him, "What is your name?" "Jacob" he answered.  Then the man said, your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and man and have overcome."  (In case you missed it, God is "the man" in this)

God recognized his struggle against Him as a good thing, as something that made him into the man He had intended him to be.  He changed his name from Jacob, meaning "to follow behind, supplanter or assailant" to Israel which means "Struggles with God, God prevails." He looked at it as something to reward him for, not punish him for.  God doesn't want us to stay safe in our faith but to wrestle with it.

Sit in the discomfort.  Squirm in the uncertainty.  Run your fingers through the questions.  Wrestle with The Word (which could be scripture or God Himself). Nothing you could yell at him about will stop him from loving you or even calling you Righteous.  He is not easily offended and keeps no record of wrongs.  He can take it.  He can withstand the unrelenting doubt or questions and will strengthen YOU through it all.  

Later on in the same chapter in Genesis, Jacob names the place he wrestled with God "Peniel" which means The face of God.
"The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip." vs. 33:33 This is a picture of what happens to us in life.  We will encounter struggles which leave us with emotional scars or visible reminders of our choices and seasons of doubt.  He wasn't cast away because of his struggle, but blessed and used in a mighty way.  We will be left with scars and possibly even visible wounds, but God promises to use those in a big and mighty way.  We don't go through our experiences left without bruise or blemish.  Embrace it.  Walk with a limp.

So on days like today, when my soul is downcast within me, I look at it as a refinement period.  Just as David writes in the Psalms:

Psalms 42:5 "So then, my soul, why would you be depressed?  Why would you sink into despair?  Just keep hoping and waiting on God, your Savior.  For no matter what, I will still sing with praise, for living before his face is my saving grace!  Here I am depressed and downcast.  Yet I will still remember you as I ponder the place where your glory streams down from the mighty mountaintops, lofty and majestic - the mountains of your awesome presence.  My deep need calls out to the deep and kindness of your love."
(The Passion Translation - Italics added)

I have a deep sense of Joy waiting to emerge from behind the clouds.  Like the sun peeking through the clouds after a storm, revealing a rainbow that is His promise.

Psalm 18:17-19
"He then reached down from heaven, all the way from the sky to the sea.  He reached down into my darkness to rescue me!  He took me out of my calamity and chaos and drew me to himself, taking me from the depths of my despair! His love broke open the way and he brought me into a beautiful broad place.  He rescued me - because his delight is in me!"
(The Passion Translation - Italics added)

If only we knew the depth of His love and comprehended it.  We would come to Him with our doubts directly instead of talking behind His back.  We would ask Him the question directly and go where He leads.  We would feel secure in ourselves and let go of our shame and earthly shortcomings.  We will never be enough in earthly eyes - but we are EVERYTHING to Him.  Our human mind cannot fathom how he could possibly keep track of every living person or even understand how he finds value in every living person, but He does.  He dwells among us and within us.  He created every man and woman and child in his image.

If we look hard enough, we will see the sun peeking through the clouds.  We will welcome the warmth it brings and turn our face towards it.  We will shed the layers we have put on ourselves of ill fitting clothes, and put on the righteous attire He has laid out for us to take, woven together, fitting each individual person perfectly.

I pray that we discover who God has created us to be and start to use the gifts and talents he so graciously bestowed upon our souls.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Not sure how to follow that up...

I've spent the last few days re-reading my previous blog post, kind of surprised I posted it.  If you know me, you know that I'm an open book and I will literally tell you anything... but that post?  That was tough.  I have been wanting to talk about it for the last 18 months, but it wasn't something I had gone through, it was still something I was going through.  I wasn't on the other side of it yet. 

{If you're not sure what post I'm referring to you can find it here.} 

One of the reasons I shared that story, is because I want others out there to not feel so alone in their failures.  We ALL fail.  Possibly not as epically as I did, but we do.  I was reading a Joyce Meyer book this morning called Healing the Soul of a Woman.  If you're struggling from past abuse, self loathing or living in a constant spiral of shame, this book is for you.  Today, I read something so profound it almost quite-literally blew my mind.  

She writes, "A rattle snake, if cornered, will sometimes become so angry it will bite itself.  That is exactly what happens when we harbor hate and resentment against others - we "bite" and poison ourselves.  We think that we are harming others by holding on to spite and hate, but the deeper harm is actually done to ourselves."  

The are a few things that stand out to me here.  I have made them quite obvious.  Think about that for a minute.  We poison and harm ourselves when we are angry at the hurt that others have caused us.  We "bite and poison ourselves" when we feel cornered, like we have no way out.  We don't face the situation in the face, we become so entangled with the problem that we can't possibly see the solution.  The only thing we can harm in this situation is ourselves.  Obviously if we are angry with our children we don't hurt them, we don't hurt our husband or that friend.  We don't retaliate against them because we are decent human beings.  We, instead, mistreat ourselves.  To me, when I think about this, that was me.  I felt like I was trapped inside myself taking on the roll of "just a mom".  Getting through the endless piles of laundry, dishes, screaming kids, working husband and finding time for myself.  I coiled up in a corner and poisoned myself.  Every day.  I was so blind to what I was doing and I even justified it.  I didn't look at it as poisoning myself, I looked at it as an outlet.  As a way to ease the situation.  I used it to feel more relaxed, or to be a little bit sillier, maybe even to give me the courage to have that conversation that needed to happen (alcohol was never helpful in that situation).  

Like the snake, I needed a release and that release would only come when I had just enough to drink.  My "bite". 

Did that drink ever help?  Maybe for a few minutes.  But my anxiety and need for more only became worse the more I used.  I say "used" here because Alcohol is a drug.  It has actually just recently been listed as the most dangerous drug on the market, taking more lives annually than cocaine and heroine.

That scares me to death.

In tears days before I decided to give up alcohol for good, I told Jordan that I keep having this whisper in my ear that if I continue trying to find a "comfortable" place for alcohol in my life, it will eventually be the reason I die.  Whether it be from one of the seven forms of cancer it causes, liver disease, a car accident, alcohol overdose, dementia... the list of alcohol related deaths is extensive.  I refuse to let that be the reason, to be a statistic.  God will take me when He is good and ready, but it will NOT be correlated to alcohol in any way.  More and more young moms and women these days are believing the cleverly conceived lie that drinking in excess is the norm and you will not survive motherhood without it.  Women on Instagram are free advertisers for the alcohol industry!  They don't need to pay 5 million dollars for an advertisement during the Superbowl, because chances are, your wine rack is already stocked.  

Don't believe the lie that you need to poison yourself in order to relax, have fun, forgive, sleep, conversate, vacation, throw a kids birthday party, calm down, reminisce, chat with a friend... Honestly, what events do people NOT drink at these days?  

I write this knowing that I will probably rub some people the wrong way.  My intent here isn't to call out those people who have the occasional drink or don't have a problem with dependency on it.  My intent is to hopefully give the person who needs it a gut-check.  I got way too many gut-checks before I finally listened to it.  I have countless moments I could list where I said to myself, "Never again.  I will never drink again.  This was the final straw."  There were a lot of those moments.  More than I care to admit.  Maybe this will be one that can be added to one of your personal gut-checks.  If it is, don't let the list get too long, life is too beautiful to live one more day of it wasted.  Literally.  

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

It's time I tell you my story.

Ok, so my heart is pounding and won't stop. Usually that is an indication I need to do something that will take courage to do. I need to share my story. This story will be long, but whoever takes the time to sit down and read it are the people meant to. This story starts a way long time ago, but I can't start from there, I have to start from about three years ago. I have shared some of this testimony out loud with my MOPS group, but since then more has happened. I am saying out loud to myself as I type this, "Practice what you preach!" I have talked a lot about sharing your story. Emphasis on the word "YOUR". I tend to be extremely idealistic about what I am capable of, and leave myself out of the group of people I am speaking to. I hold others to a higher standard than I hold myself, and that's where this story begins. How will I encourage anyone to speak boldly about their life and story if I hold parts of mine in my own heart? 

My story starts with the day a friend of mine spoke out loud the words that had been running through my mind for months, "You should probably stop drinking." She spoke these words, knowing they were heavy, because she said them in a hushed tone. Jordan and I had been trying to get pregnant with our third for a few months to no avail. I had heard God directly say to me, "If you want to get pregnant, you need to stop drinking." To anyone who has never made drinking a part of their daily life, they'll say, "Obviously!" Obviously, I shouldn't drink while I'm trying to get pregnant. Obviously that is extremely selfish and possibly dangerous to the baby. Yes, Obviously. I knew this in my head but didn't act on this conviction. I kept on drinking. This was in the stage of my life that I drank the heaviest. My heaviest drinking wasn't when I was single, living the "good life" going out partying every weekend. No. My drinking was heaviest when I had a 4 and 2 year old at home. I drank every single day, without fail. For some reason, it seemed completely normal to me. Maybe it was all the meme's saying things like, "Mommy needs her wine" with some funny image of a 50's housewife with a robotic smile doing chores with a screaming baby in the background. Or maybe it was the fact that most of my friends drank. I spent time with a lot of people who talked openly about having a drink or two or 5 like it was normal. I didn't really think I had a problem with it. 

Looking back on it, I went out of my way to drink during the week. If Jordan was at the fire station, I would make random little trips to the grocery store, throwing a bottle of wine (or two) in the cart like it was an afterthought (and not at all what I actually went there for.) To back track, I did not grow up in a house where drinking was normal. My mom and dad did not drink in the home while we were growing up, and if they had alcohol at all, we didn't know about it. It wasn't until I became an adult that the generation of Christian women who started normalizing drinking every night and possibly the occasional instance where they took it too far. It was funny and relatable. Because of the culture I surrounded myself with, I felt like I had a very healthy relationship with alcohol. Until I didn't. I woke up too many times with a head ache or a hangover. I woke up too many mornings sorry for things I said to Jordan or checking my phone to make sure I didn't post some ridiculous rant on Facebook, or even see who I had been texting and what I said. I woke up too many times in a panic that I had done or said something that would mess up my life. I started to realize that alcohol was making me a worse version of myself, not a better one. 

I was a worse Mom. Sometimes I would sleep so hard that Jordan wouldn't be able to wake me up in the middle of the night. Most times, I would slur an evening prayer hastily so that I could go binge-watch the latest series on Netflix until 2 am, only having to wake up because - SURPRISE I had kids who woke up early. I was a worse Wife. I picked fights with Jordan pointing out his flaws and shortcomings only to completely ignore my own. I would disrespect him and would then wonder why we were in a rough season. Sometimes I would remember things I said to him and other times I woke up completely unaware of an argument I had started. I wasted so many days and hours of my life inebriated. 

When my friend said those words to me, it was as if she was in my head. I knew I had a problem. It took a month or so after that of me battling with it until finally I just stopped drinking. Cold-turkey. That was in January of 2017. 

During this time, the phrase "His face shines upon you." Rang out in my mind.  I heard it in songs, read it in scripture and it seemed to be following me around. I didn't understand the phrase at the time... In March, my pastor, Joe Champion at Celebration Church spoke a message titled, CROSSROADS.  It was about being at a place in your life where it was time to make a decision.  Choose the direction your life will go.  We are given a choice and it is up to us to act.  After that service, he came directly up to the row I was sitting in (in a church of 2500 people), shook hands with people exiting the row and then stopped me and the group I was with.  He asked about a couple of us and then looked me square in the eyes and said, "Now tell me about you." I sputtered a couple random facts about myself, "My name is Lisa." "I like this church" you know, small talk.  He then placed his hand on my shoulder and said that he was going to pray over our group.  He started praying and I could tell he was praying specifically for me and my situation.  He was saying things that I had been saying the past few months to myself.  I don't remember the exact words, but it was, as we say in church- talk, "A God Thing." He assured me that what I'm going through is necessary and that I will grow from it.  He didn't know anything I had been going through or really anything about me, but spoke to me like I had been seeing him for counseling.  I started to understand what "His face shines upon you" meant.  God had a spotlight shining on me.  He had favor over my life and was aware of my struggles and pain.  He wanted me to feel seen and known.  

In May of 2017 I found out I was pregnant with Daisy. I spent that pregnancy completely transforming my mind and my physical body. Yes, my body was already going through changes due to pregnancy, but I was on a mission to be the healthiest version of myself. I went plant-based and I kept getting affirmation after affirmation from God that drinking should never again be a part of my life. During that pregnancy, I have never felt more like who I was supposed to be. I truly felt great! My mind felt renewed and my body as well. I noticed many changes in my appearance. My skin became less inflamed and I seemed to be glowing from the inside out. I blame pregnancy hormones, my plant-based diet and complete absence of alcohol... a trifecta of transformation. 

The last month of my pregnancy was hard, to say the LEAST! The traumatic birth that followed the hardest month of my life didn't help. The birth story is too long to add in here, I'll just say this: I thought Daisy and I were going to die and I replayed the terrifying moments of that birth over and over in my head for months. I don't like to throw out the term PTSD because I feel like it is disrespectful of me to put myself in the same category of men and women in uniform who have truly seen and come out of situations that I can't even imagine. However, PTSD is the only way I know to describe it. 

Let me just say, I had ZERO plans to reintroduce alcohol into my life after Daisy was born, but I did. There was a day a few months after I had Daisy where I felt like I needed to just get out of the house. You know those days... you just want an hour or so to not hold a baby or help a child do something. I needed to clear my head and give myself a break. I didn't have a lot of money to spend, so I couldn't go shopping or anything. I decided to just go walk around the square by myself. I got to the square and saw some people walking around drinking pints of beer from a local restaurant. (You're allowed to walk around with alcohol on the square in Georgetown). I decided ONE beer couldn't hurt. It had been so long since I had a drink, I'm sure it wouldn't effect me like it used to. I slowly sipped on that beer while I walked around the square window shopping and people watching. . I got a flood of memories about why I used to drink. I felt relaxed, at-ease, like my old self and I liked it. This was the start of me trying to re-incorporate alcohol into my life. I thought I could just have a drink here or there, which is what it started out like, but after a few months one drink, two drinks, even three didn’t give me the relaxed feeling that I remembered from that first beer. I was beginning to become desensitized to it again. It took more and more to make me feel relaxed or like I was getting a buzz. 

I was painfully aware of my drinking habits and swore to myself I wouldn't let it get the way it used to be. I did NOT want to go back to that place again. I spent the summer of 2018 trying to find a comfortable place for alcohol in my life. I really did believe that I could become the "casual drinker" I so envied. I wanted to be able to have a drink and not immediately want another one. It had to be possible, so I kept trying. Inevitably, every drink I had made me want another. 

Finally, I thought I came to a healthy place. I decided that I wouldn't drink while I was at home and I would save drinking for when I went out to a restaurant or to someone's house. This seemed like a great happy-medium. 

The day that changed my life forever arrived. 

I was feeling a kind of overwhelm that sends me into almost a panic-mode. Jordan had been gone working overtime at the fire station for a few days, and was about to leave again for another long shift. I broke down in tears telling him that I needed a break before he left again. What I had been doing to relax was sit in the bubble bath, watching Parks and Rec on Hulu. The show always put me in a better mood and the bubble bath helped me relax. Obviously, that wouldn't be relaxing this day because the kids noise and knocking on the bathroom door would leave me feeling anything but relaxed. Jordan suggested I get out of the house. 

I texted a friend to see if she wanted to meet up last minute for Happy Hour at a restaurant near my house. We got to the restaurant and hung out for a few hours drinking margaritas. Over those four hours I had a margarita per hour. The time together was just what I thought I needed. I vented, she vented, I cried, she cried and we drank.  I felt like I deserved these drinks.  I had put in some hard work to make sure I wasn't making drinking part of my daily life again, so these drinks were well earned ( I told myself.) 

Finally, I looked to see what time it was.  In an almost panic, I realized I needed to get home to get Daisy to bed. (She didn't go to bed very well without nursing to sleep.) I had ran out of pumped milk so my only option at that point was to go nurse her.  I wasn't planning on having that much to drink but there was nothing I could do about that now.  I would have to nurse her and cross my fingers that the alcohol I had consumed wouldn't effect her.  

My friend seemed a little tipsier than me, so I offered to drive us home.  It was dusk, where the light is just starting to fade and the night is setting in.  I pulled on to my street  a mile from the restaurant and a police officer noticed my headlights were off.  He followed me a few feet and turned his lights on.  I immediately noticed the lights, panicked and pulled sharply to the curb, running into it and driving my car slightly up on the curb.  (Not a good first impression.)  The police officer came up to the side of the car.  My window was broken so I had to open the door, hitting the officer in the process.  As soon as I opened the car door, he asked where we had been.  I answered him.  He asked if I had been drinking, and because I'm a terrible liar, I said that I had one margarita.  Without saying anything else he asked me to get out of the car.  When I got out of the car, my friend started throwing up outside the passenger's side door.  I still though that I was going to get out of this.  I went on to fail the sobriety test.  

As he placed the handcuffs on me, I was hit with a shock so intense I felt like I couldn't move.  I started crying and pleading when I was put into the back of the police car.  I tried to explain to him that my husband was a fire fighter and needed to go to work in the morning, that I had a 6 month at home who was exclusively breastfeeding.  To add insult to injury the officers comments were gutting.  "Your husband is a fire fighter and you're driving on the road risking lives?  You should know better."  and the real kicker was when he came after my motherhood.  "Oh, you were planning on going home to nurse your baby with your contaminated breastmilk?  What a great mom you are."  Ya'll I have never felt lower in my entire life.  This was by far the lowest I had felt and his words choked my very soul.  Yes, I was planning on going home and feeding her my contaminated breastmilk.  What kind of a mother am I?  What was wrong with me?  My kids deserve better.  

I won't go in to the details of that night, but I will say I have never felt the kind of evil presence I felt while sitting in that jail all night.   It was the worst and longest night of my life.  My shirt was sopping wet with breastmilk by morning and I was so struck with self-loathing that I couldn't even muster the strength to cry.  I didn't deserve to be sad.  I had brought this destruction upon myself.  But my kids, my husband, they didn't deserve this.  

I could hear God saying to me, "You're done now.  Alcohol has no place in your life.  Move on from this."  

Over this past 18 months I have had a breathalyzer in my car.  They save that for people who's BAC (blood alcohol content) was above .15 (almost double the legal limit).  I have had to go about my life with this daily reminder that I failed. I let my family down, I let myself down, I let people who I have "preached to" about alcohol use down.   I have had fleeting moments of trying to find a place for alcohol in my life again over the past 18 months, but it is obvious to me that my life is so much better without it.  

I want to share this part of my story because God calls us to use our stories to help others.  I did not go through this to suffer in silence.  I share now because I can truly say that this season is behind me.  Alcohol has no place in my life.  Alcohol promises all these things to us and never delivers.  

Jesus follows through.  He delivers.  He sustains and remains.  

Please reach out to me if you need someone to talk to.  If you are struggling, whether with addiction or not, please talk to someone.  If not me, find your person.  I know that I am no where near qualified but to quote Christine Cane, "God doesn't call the qualified... he qualifies the called." 

Please feel free to share this post with someone you know who is struggling.  People need to know they're not alone.