August Reflections

I’ve decided to start sharing openly with you on the last day of each month the things I’ve learned and the things I’m struggling with. 

Events in August:

  • Had my used car I bought 2 months previously die
  • Celebrated my boyfriend’s 41st birthday
  • Spent a day at Cumberland Falls
  • Attended Joy in the Journey
  • Experienced the solar eclipse 
  • Joined a new ladies Bible study class

What I’ve learned this month from God/about God:

  • God sometimes has to take things to make us see what we have
  • God did not call me to be like anyone else on earth..but HE called me to me CHRIST like
  • God has given me gifts & talents, some of which I have been too fearful to share 

    What I have learned about me:

    • I am getting stronger every day, by the grace of GOD
    • Some recent lab tests woke me up to a few things
    • I sell myself short, a lot

    What I am praying over/working on:

    • That I fully surrender my hurts, my hang ups, and my pain to Jesus
    • That I get brave enough to sing in church again
    • **For a dependable car**
    • That I continue to carve down the emotional and material baggage in my life
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    Frankenstein Day, and us fragile Humans

    Some of my readers may know by now that I studied American and British literature in College. Among the hundreds of books that I read then (and read growing up, being a perpetual book worm) was Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

    Today, August 30th, is Frankenstein Day, as August 30th was Mary Shelley’s birthday (source: Shelley).

    The Tale

    In short, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a book about a young scientist who seeks to cover his grief in the creation of a creature. The creature ultimately proves to be his demise.

    Many people confuse that the creation’s name is Frankenstein, when in fact Frankenstein is the name of the scientist that creates him. The creature himself is never given a name.

    The Text

    There are far too many beautiful and deep quotes from this story, but I thought that I might share this one

    “What did this mean? Who was I? What was I? Whence did I come? What was my destination? These questions continually recurred, but I was unable to solve them.”

    Are we not all at one time or in one way or the other asking that same question?

    Who am I, and other such questions

    I, like Frankenstein’s creature, have found myself asking ‘who am I?” Am I merely the fiery girl born on a Sunday? Am I the writer, the mother, the employee?

    It is in sovereign Grace that I began to realize that who I am- is who I am in CHRIST JESUS.

    • HE knows my name (unlike Frankenstein’s creature, which had no name).
    • Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me. – Isaiah 49:16, NASB

    • JESUS Loves us (yes, just like the children’s song. HE really does)

     

    But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. -Romans 5:8, NASB

    There are many other verses about our identity in CHRIST JESUS. Here are a few sources for you to delve over:

    Have a Good Frankenstein day. Perhaps mull over a few of Shelley’s quotes, and reflect on the awesome awareness that you are uniquely made, and loved by The GREAT I AM.

     

    Review: Surprizamals

    (Disclaimer: At no point did I or will I receive any monetary gift for my review. The views expressed are simply mine.)

    Over two weeks ago, my blogging partner & current boyfriend Steve (ccf) told me tgat he had been asked to write a review for something called surprizamals. We made part of our date this past Saturday, August 26, 2017, a time for us to share in opening these.

    Packaging

    I loved the large smooth plastic balls and clear printed labels for the surprizamals.  The clear labels, though slightly perforated,  proved to be difficult to remove on some. 

    The Contents

    Each ball contains one small plush animals, each baring a tag with their name and information both in English and in French. 

    Out of the six mystery balls that Steve and I opened, we had 3 Yetis, a black bear, a  blue koala, and a magenta unicorn. 


    Each of the characters were well manufactured,  though I must warn that I would NOT recommend these for small children due to possible choking hazards. 

    What I liked

    I liked the bright packaging, and the adorable factor of the creatures the creatures themselves. I also like that each character had a name and unique personality. Bonus points to whomever designed their sparkly eyes. 

    What I would change

    Now mind you, my review of these was never solicited. But here are the things I would change:

    1. Make the clear packaging more perforated for easy opening. 
    2. Give some animals a clip to attach to backpacks, or belt loops. Honestly, if one if the yetis had a clip, one would already be hanging from my purse. 
    3. Encourage ideas on how to repurpose the red ball containers. We live so much in a throw away world. Maybe have ideas online on how to repurpose or recycle the containers. 
    4. More variety. Okay. So what are the odds of 50% of the balls we opened being yetis, when the yeti is supposedly one of the more rare characters?? Perhaps offer more colors of a a particular animal or even special edition colors (a silver yeti, anyone?)
    5. Pricing. Though the ones Steve shared were sent to him for free, these little guys are priced at a hefty $4.95. There are certainly not in a range where I’m going to be able to afford going to buy very many. Cost is certainly a concern. 

    Overall

    Over all, I enjoyed the Surprizamals and would recommend these to other parents or even other animal lovers/plushy lovers like myself. 

    Learn even more about surprizamals here

    Hop over and read Steve’s review. 

    (Steve’s review)

    Tell him howdy while you’re there. 

    The re-purity pledge: Why?

    I found myself looking into the black tunnel of April, and the oncoming lights of 39 were gleaming through. 

    And on the weekend of my 38th birthday, I made a re-purity pledge.

    My virginity

    It’s difficult to talk about. I lost my virginity at the age of 15. I won’t go into the details of it, but it is a tearfilled memory. 

    I would marry my first husband at the age of 20. And sexual sin would creep back into our marriage during our 4th year. Our marriage would end after 12 years, as a result of further sexual sin. 

    I would remarry and the curse of sexual sin would rattle the marriage early and would end the relationship quickly. 

    And then, I’d make a giant mistake. I would enter into a dating relationship that was not honoring to Christ. Countless times, that man would either be given or would take the honor that was not his. 

    So why bother?

    When I began to talk openly this year about my commitment to purity, I was surprised by how many people (including professing Christians) would question why..

    “You’re not a virgin anymore. And you’ve had two husbands, plus a fiance..why should you even worry about purity?” 

    That question hurt and saddened me. Yes, it is true that I can never again be a true virgin. And yes, it is true that I have been in three serious relationships in the years since. 

    But I also know that GOD has forgiven me of those sins, and has cleansed me of them. Since HE has forgiven.. And HIS Holy Word states 

    1 John 1:9 KJV — If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

    And Scriptures also tell me 

    2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV — Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

    So being forgiven and being made new are two precious, big gifts from GOD. I thank GOD for those two gifts. And in my gratitude, I offered up to Christ Jesus the vow to remain sexually pure until I am married again (& if I do not marry, to remain chaste until I die).

    In the days to come, I will share with you the actual re-purity pledge I signed back in the spring. 

    Furbaby Friday: Silly Pet

     

    IMG_20141219_154423063

    Okay, Laugh. But for the good part of about three years now, I have dreamed of the small tiny possibility of one day owning a mini pig.

    Yes, that’s right. A MINI PIG.

    I don’t know where my fascination with these little guys stems from. I just think they are uniquely cute. But OH HOW PRICEY they are. They can range from around $300-$700. WAY TOO pricey for me.

    How about you? Have you ever dreamed of having an unusual pet?

    Unexpected Lesson

    I grew up poor here in the hills of Appalachia. I don’t say that to rally any type of sympathy, but to give you an idea of where I came from.

    I haven’t lived most of my life under the strong Spiritual, Biblical truths that Daddy tried so hard to raise me up in. I’ve messed up. Way, way messed. Messing up messed my life up, two marriages up, and has costs me many years suffering in anxiety and self-hatred.

    It was Sunday 

    I went to attend church with Steve, two hours from my humble home. I was looking forward to spending time with him and also hearing a friend of his preach.

    I remember the pew felt like a coffin as conviction from the Holy Spirit fell on me during the sermon. Without hesitation, when the alter call was given, I went to the front and knelt.

    Lord, I recommit myself a new to serving You. Lord, I recommit myself to studying Your Word more. Lord JESUS, I surrender to comewhatmay. Amen.

    I walked back to my seat, and felt a guilt wash over me. Oh. No. The devil was stealing my peace.

    You aren’t good enough for him. You’ve messed up too much to be his. He’s a good guy- and you are nothing but trash’

    Oh how that naughty devil likes to lie. But he was using the words that I had heard so many other times in my life.

    So crying, I tried to find reason to leave. And crying, I even tried to resist the comforting of my sweetheart.

    Humble and Kind

    I didn’t see it coming. I didn’t forsee the powerhouse fella that I cared about doing what he did.

    Kneeling in front of me, tears searing his face, he told me that he didn’t look down on me. That he too was fallen. That he too had messed up his life like me. And that if I had asked Christ’s forgiveness (and I had), I was forgiven. I was cleansed of those wrongs. And that yes, I was good enough for him.

    His humbleness and kindness startled me. I’ve been so use to harsher reactions. We talked a lot that day, and in the days that followed. And for the very first time, GOD got something through this stubborn head of mine that HE has been trying to teach me for 3 long, painful years:

    WE ARE NOT OUR PAST, WHEN OUR PAST HAS BEEN GIVEN TO GOD.

    Leave it All Behind

    In the weeks since this happened, I have been doing a lot of reflecting on various things that have happened in my life over the last 6 years. Daily, I have been thinking over the lesson that GOD is teaching me through Steve. Yes, it is okay to remember where I’ve been in this fragile life. Yes, it is even okay to remember what GOD has brought me through. In fact, I rejoice over what all that GOD has brought me through. But just because I’ve been through it, does not mean that I should try to drag it into my now.

    So, I have sat aside a lot of time alone over the last few days, and have found safe and limited ways to reflect back on the relationships I’ve had and other mementos (after all, I am a sentimental person and a memory keeper through my pocket scrapbooking). And Once I have thrown something away this week, I have left it there. No picking it back up.

    Thank You, LORD JESUS, for teaching me to let go and to cling to YOU. Amen. 

    When it Doesn’t make sense

    I hate him.

    Yes, I know. Hate is a really strong word. But I do. I hate him.

    I try to avoid him. I keep myself busy. I pray, a lot. I bury myself in scriptures. I do everything I’m suppose to do, according to experts, to keep him away.

    And yet, there are mornings like today. His hold captures me from my first waking breath and no amount of prayers shake his grasp. He shoves fear into my mind, and rattles my body. 

    Depression/Anxiety. He is brute.

    I look at my world right now, and logically it doesn’t make sense for the grasp of this mental monster to have a hold on me. I love my job, I have my loving Daddy, my incredible sons, and a really awesome Christian boyfriend. Logically, depressed is the last thing I should be. 

    Mental health is a real battle, hurting a body and mind with its cancer-mimicking ways.

    So just breath. Remember God has not abandoned you. And don’t do anything rash.  Rest in Christ. Just breath. 

    When GOD surprises you

    I love to surprise people with little gifts. Though my primary love languages are quality time and words of affirmation, I do tend to express my care and appreciation for people through small gifts. And I giving them to them the most when it is completely unexpected.

    We’ve all been told NO

    I won’t imagine that I am alone in that I have prayed so hard for GOD to move in something or to provide something and HIS answer has been a soft, loving NO. (And sometimes, a firm NO).

    I can think of so many instances when the answer from GOD was ‘NO’.. but there is one that has been my biggest and hardest No. January of 2009, I learned I was pregnant. I was estatic, as I had for so long dreamed of having a little girl. Having had complications with both of my sons, I was sent to a high-risk pregnancy doctor 2 hours away. Using a special ultrasound, he smiled as he refered to the wee one on the screen as ‘she’. A daughter. Prayers answered, right? A week later, I would go back to the same doctor because I was having some health issues. A second ultrasound was done. Immediately, the doctor’s face was pale. I watch as the fluttering of a tiny heart ceased.

    The next morning, I would go through surgery to remove the baby from my womb. The nurse lovingly explained to me afterwards that I would have less than a 15% chance of ever conceiving again.

    I didn’t understand GOD’s no. Wasn’t I a good mom to my boys? Wasn’t I a decent wife to the boys’ dad? I remember asking lots of hard, painful questions in the months to follow. It has only been in the valley of the last three years, that I have begun to see that God’s no was to prepare me. Perhaps some day, GOD will allow me to minister to another young woman who loses a child. Already through that no, I have developed a deeper compassion and concern for those who are in mourning or are walking through grief.

    We do get “yeses”

    GOD blesses us. Oh, how HE richly blesses us.

    GOD gave me a Christian Daddy. My Daddy and Grandmothers had heavy influence on the woman I have become.

    I could list a hundred thousand things that GOD has blessed me with, and barely scratch the surface of HIS goodness. One answered prayer was in my current job. I came to work for my company on September 2, 2014. That very first week in the building, I told my dad that I had found a department in the building that I wanted to work in. I was told by supervisors in my workplace that getting into that department was very difficult, and that it usually took 4 to 5 years to even get a chance.

    Just over a year ago, GOD gave me a great big yes by giving me a job in that department- after having only worked for my company just shy of 2 years. And GOD answered a bigger prayer. Because of romantic relationships that I had been a part of, I had become very very isolated. I didn’t have a single person that I could have called a friend. GOD not only gifted me my dream job within my company, but GOD also placed me among ladies that would become my friends.

    And Then, GOD just might say “Not Yet”. “Wait”

    It is hard sometimes in our flesh to surrender to GOD’s timing. We have read GOD’s Word and know full-well the Word of GOD says:

    For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9, KJV)

    In our flesh, we grow inpatient with GOD’s timing. We start to think that GOD has forgotten. But, no. HE hasn’t. Sometimes HE has us to wait to prepare our hearts and minds for what HE has in store.

    April of 2016, I became engaged. And through that, suffered a great heart ache. A lot of emotional abuse and emotional pain. But GOD was saying NOT YET.

    I would have to walk through pain. I would even walk through tremendous depression and despair.

    GOD was getting me ready. I didn’t know what for. Or I should say, who for.

    I met Steve just as I was beginning to start truly allowing myself to heal from my hurt. And what a surprise from GOD Steve has been. Instead of looking down on me for my past, he has lovingly found beauty in my ashes. I never ever expected to find a kind, gentle Christian man like Steve. I thought men like him were extinct. I thank GOD that my Wait has led me to the relationship I now have with him. (Visit Steve’s blog at http://www.courageouschristianfather.com/)