Thursday, August 11, 2016

What's in a Name?

Special moments should be written down -  and I had one of those moments with Tanner today.   He wanted to join me for an office/errands run this morning and we were having a Mommy/5 year old discussion in the van on the way to the office.

"Mommy, I love you.  You are so pretty." he says from the very back of the van.  Now this phrase I hear at least 10 times a day.   It started about 2 weeks ago - and I'm pretty sure it's straight from the Holy Spirit as I have been walking through my identity lately.   He is constantly reminding me he loves me and that I'm so pretty.  "I love you too sweet boy." I say.  "Courtney said when I was born you had tears of joy.  Did you do anything else?" he asks.   "No, not really.  But I named you." I replied.  "You did? Why not daddy?" he says.   "Because I wanted to, you are my special buddy." I said.   Then he asks, "Why did you name me Tanner?  What is a Tanner?"

It took this mommy a little bit to compose my response.   Why did I name him Tanner?  At the time I didn't have any particular reason aside from I loved the name and Eric tolerated it.  So I told him "A tanner is someone who takes an animal hide and turns it into leather."  I'm not sure he understood that at all.   And then this came out....... "a tanner takes something dead and broken and turns it into something beautiful and useful."

It was a mighty, Holy Spirit,  AHA moment for me.   Now, I do know why I named him Tanner.... God gave me that name for him, because that is exactly what this little, amazing boy has done for me.   He has replaced the dead emotions, broken dreams and sad places with joy, love and wonder.  I no longer remember most of the brutally hard memories of Andrew's childhood, I believe a gift from God. But Tanner is replacing all those "cleared memories" with new ones of all the milestones, affection, and moments between a mommy and son that I was unable to get from my little boy with Autism.  I'll be honest, a 3rd child was not in my playbook - I was too afraid - I was absolutely petrified of going through any of the previous 8 years again - but God knew what was best for me.   God knew "my Tanner" would bring healing, restore the broken places and most of all teach me how to love again.   He cuddles, and kisses, plays with my ear lobes, and strokes my face.   He lays with me each morning and tells me he loves me incessantly.   He is EXACTLY what my mommy heart needed and I know, without a doubt, he wasn't named Tanner just because..... he was given that name because he came into this world to an emotionally dead and broken mommy and helped my heart into something beautiful and useful.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Stay in Your Lane

OK - so going almost a year without a post is pathetic.....obviously writing is not my calling.   But on occasion I feel compelled to jot down what I feel the Holy Spirit is rolling around my head.

I read a devotional tonight - and at the end of each day it usually tells you to do something.  Something related to the insight and scripture for that day.   Today it talked about God giving each of us a lane to run.... and how trying to run in someone else's lane messes up your race and disrupts the race of others around you.  The end response told me to "Tell a friend what lane God has given you."   Now I have found that it's a 50/50 chance I"m even going to be able to answer the questions they tell me to ask myself each night.   Which leads me to a whole other topic, I'm not sure I really know that much about who I am or why I do what I do. Sounds kinda silly, who doesn't know themselves?  Apparently me.    I had a bit of a vision though play through my head as I pondered what lane God has given me.   I feel like I started this race of life and then smack dab in the middle, I stopped, blindfolded myself and started spinning in circles till I was dizzy.  I guess that is where I find myself right now - I don't know what lane I'm supposed to be in - don't know what way I'm even supposed to be pointed.

So the question of the night truly should be - what's my blindfold and how do I remove it?  I am well aware my self-reliant attitude makes all of the things God wishes to teach me beyond difficult.   I'm always reminding the kids to have a teachable spirit.....but I"m sure not very good at it either.   A couple nights ago, the question was " list three things you are good at, and one thing you are passionate about."   Yeah, couldn't answer that one either... I did think of a couple things I'm good at, but I feel like my lack of FEELING has left me with no passion.  How sad is that.  

So, all that being said.  This weeks prayers shall be focused on two things.  That God would stir a passion in me.  Something I can't explain, but is undeniably a passion and second that he would show me what has become my blindfold and why I put it there in the first place.   I want to finish the race - IN MY LANE.  I'm tired of distractions and spinning around.  Man, motherhood makes me feel like I'm actually racing carrying everything that goes with the job.... the diaper bag.... the extra clothes.... the snacks.... the blanket and stuffed animals.... don't forget the baby monitor.  No wonder I'm spinning in circles.   No one can run a race carrying all that junk.   I get it, I get it.... hand the junk to Jesus and keep moving forward.   I feel like God has to remind me ALOT that I don't have to do it all.  Hoping as I get to know Jesus....really know him for who is to me, instead of who I think he is... that I won't be so apt to try and live life like I have to handle it all myself.    I'm grateful I never left the track....but it's time to run with clear vision of the lane that is MY lane.  I don't need someone else's amazing shoes or sleek running outfit, or someone else's coach or fans.  I need to start by thanking Him he chose me to race.

"Thank you Jesus for choosing me to race!"


Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Love is one of those areas I struggle with.  God's love - even more of a mystery to me.   It's really annoying to KNOW something exists, but to not be able to really grasp it.   So after all the kids were tucked away and hubby off to bed - I came downstairs to pray.  I like to sit in the dark, in front of the fireplace, but I wasn't much in the mood to pray.  I dislike one ended conversations, and I'm so struggling right now to figure out intimacy with God.  I decided to listen to a recording of a message I heard in Hawaii in January.  The speaker was the author of a book I read a couple years ago.  It was his biography about his imprisionment in Iran, and it was such a powerful book.  I couldn't wait to get to hear him speak in person and hear more about his story.    The message was one I felt was spoken specifically for me that night. So I was really happy when I found someone who had recorded it so I could listen to it again.   The theme of the whole message was about God's love for us - intimacy - His desire to show us in all circumstances His love.

When I think of love I have several not-great examples pop into my mind.   Unhealthy relationships I was surrounded by growing up, an ex-boyfriend who treated me poorly, each memory left me feeling unloved.  Don't get me wrong - I have the most amazing husband.  He has loved me through thick and thin for the last 15 1/2 years, but he was not the picture of love that my heart was holding onto.

I remembered during some prayer counseling last year that processing this stuff requires forgiving those who mistreated you or who didn't be who they should have been,  to forgive myself for letting it have the control it had, and I asked God for a new picture of love.  One that would be so powerful, that whenever the word was said or seen - this new picture would be what comes to my mind and heart.

The picture I got was not one I expected.  I wanted something with ME in it.  Some grand painting with me as the center.  But what I saw was probably the most intense and powerful moments of my life thus far.   Even though it was two years ago, I remember it like it was yesterday.  Eric standing next to our bed, crying out to God to give breath to our baby boy.  Tears running down his face, pleading in prayer on behalf of our newborn recieiving CPR just across the bed from him.   He didn't even know this little life that was laying there yet.  This tiny being didn't have a name, and had yet to open his little eyes or take his first breath.  Yet, Eric loved him so much, not even a room of strangers in police or paramedic uniforms could keep him from crying out to God with total abandon and passion on behalf of his child.   It was a very powerful night, but instead of the shock and fear I carried from that night - God has given me a picture of love.

Now that I have my new picture, the challenge will be to start seeing God as being that passionate for me.  To stop seeing those who fell short, or who disappointed or hurt me, but to see God's love for me through Eric at Tanner's birth.   I don't know why I have placed walls up that keep me from intimacy, but I do know that I am praying for Jesus to reveal them to me, so I get to that place with Him I so desire. 

Monday, January 28, 2013


Tonight I am feeling worthless, unwanted and alone.
I cry my eyes out on the steps in the shadows.
I come in and cuddle my sleeping baby,
The one I know who gazes at me with love and admiration.
So different from the words and looks of most the others.

I miss my husband, I miss words of encouragement.
I miss gestures that show I have value and am loved.
I know this trip has purpose, this trial has purpose,
But I spend each night in tears, hurting and alone.

Little help with the kids, but plenty of things to be said about them.
So many biting comments, rude looks and fake interactions.
I want real and I want to feel wanted.
God says to me, "I want you - you have value to me."
I will cling to that - four more days.

Friday, January 25, 2013


The last two days have been hard to put it mildly.   Courtney is refusing to put any effort into her schoolwork - and Andrew has turned into his evil alter-ego each night at bedtime.   It is so much harder dealing with them when I am alone, so to speak.  Yes there are 4 other adults in this condo - but none who are feeling like a total failure as a parent right now.

With no where else to go, because all of us are sleeping in one room, there is no escaping Andrew and that is by far the hardest thing for me.  I finally had to leave - just let the kids run/act crazy in the closed room while I go out and walk around the parking lot.  Not exactly the quiet seclusion I need - but the best I could do at the moment.   I put on some music and listened to several new songs Eric had recently purchased.   Sobbing, I sat down on the curb in a darkened shadow of a palm tree and the following song came on.  I've never heard it before - but might as well have been coming from my heart.

"Find You On My Knees"
  Kari Jobe

Troubles chasing me again,
Breaking down my best defence,
I'm looking, God, I'm looking for you
Weary just won't let me rest and fear is filling up my head.
I'm longing, God I'm longing for you

But I will find you in the place I'm in, find you when I'm at my end,
Find you when there's nothing left of me to offer you except for brokenness.
You lift me up, you'll never leave me thirsty,
When I am weak, when I am lost and searching
I'll find you on my knees.

So what if sorrow shakes my faith,
What if heartache still remains,
I'll trust you, my god I'll trust you.
'Cause You are faithful and

I will find you in the place I'm in, find you when I'm at my end,
Find you when there's nothing left of me to offer you except for brokenness.
You lift me up, you'll never leave me thirsty,
When I am weak, when I am lost and searching
I'll find you on my knees, my knees.

When my hope is gone, when the fear is strong
When the pain is real, when it's hard to heal
When my faith is shaken and my heart is broken and my joy is stolen, God I know that

You lift me up, you'll never leave me searching,

Find you in the place I'm in, find you when I'm at my end,
Find you when there's nothing left of me to offer you except for brokenness.
You lift me up, you'll never leave me thirsty,
When I am weak, when I am lost and searching
I'll find you on my knees.

 As I sit here and write this - things are no better.  Andrew is being beyond difficult - and I have no means of making it better.   But I know I'm not alone, that peace and patience come from Him and since I have asked, He will provide.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

God's Love

Hawaii 2013.....  for those of you who know me well, you know Hawaii is my place of spiritual rejuvination.   And though this is something that I desperatly need right now - I have my three children with me this time and am living in a three bedroom condo with 11 other people.  Not exactly the restful, reflective atmosphere that I usually have when I come here.

Homeschool duties, cooking, constant cleaning up, bedtime battles.... the list of duties is endless and there is rarely a moment to myself.  I just kept asking myself "How am I going to find God in the mayhem, when I can't even get alone for 15 minutes to read my bible and I'm beyond tired by the time the kids go down?"  But last night, a friend of my sister/brother in law was speaking to a group of older people down on the YWAM campus.   I had read this man's book about his experiences being imprisioned in Iran.  I loved the book and my mom offered to take the kids so I could go.

Yay, finally an hour or so of time to get away and maybe, just maybe get a little spiritual refreshment.   My prayers regarding this trip have thus far focused on my being able to develop intimacy in my walk with God, an ability to feel his love and his presence.   So what do you think this talk was on.... his story intertwined with God's love and desire for intimacy with us.   We talked with Dan ( the speaker) before he left for the meeting and my brother-in-law Kory asked him what he was talking on.  Dan said he didn't know yet - God would take care of it.    So when that topic thoroughly weaved itself into his message- all I could think was "Thank you God, you did this just for me.  You knew my time was limited. You knew my time with you is sparse, and you gave me just what I needed."

At the end of the message he asked those who want more of Jesus, to feel real intimacy with Him, to stand so he could pray for them.   I shot up like a cannon!  I've learned that when I'm here, there is no hemming and haaaaing about throwing yourself into what God is prompting you to do. Do it, and he will answer.   It is what I want - it is my prayer for this trip and though I can't say I had any immediate feeling of  change.  I did cry out to him, surrender, and ask the barriers I have to be broken so I can walk closely with him in a new and amazing way.

I believing that starting last night, my walk with God will only grow deeper, stronger, and more intimate! 

Monday, October 1, 2012


So I realize it has been a really...really...really long time since I have posted anything.   The thought has crossed my mind maybe twice since then that I should post an update, but just never got around to it.

I can honestly say life is pretty chaotic right now.  Between homeschooling Court, chasing around Tanner (whose favorite phrase right now is "I tooted"), dealing with dietary issues for all three kids, keeping up with housework, working through life changes and heartaches of friends, and feeling all around exhausted almost every minute of every day - I'm not left with much to say by the end of the day.   But I shall try to think of something profound to share with those of you who actually continue to check

The last 12 months have been really hard in some ways, and so full of blessings in others.   Eric has become such a strong spiritual leader in our home this year and I am so proud of him for the man of God he is becoming.  I know that our family will be impacted in soooo many ways, by his obedience and heart for the Lord.   He went to Israel in April with my dad, brother and Kory (bro-in-law) and loved it.   Recently we decided that he would be going to Swaziland, Africa in December on a missions trip with our church.   One of the reasons we chose River Valley (and there are many), was that they offered at least one mission trip (most overseas) each month.  With so many opportunties, you don't really have an excuse not to find one that draws you in.    We threw around me taking a trip in 2013 and I was interested in China or Spain.  No real good reason, but sounded interesting.   However, I recieved a text this afternoon from a close friend who saw God orchestrating her to go on the trip to Cuba in March and she asked if I wanted to come along.   I got goosebumps - not sure if it was because I was so excited to see what God is doing in her life or if it was because I am indeed supposed to go.  But Eric and I discussed it - or rather Eric said - let's sign you up 3 seconds after her text - and we decided that I would go.  This has been a crazy week.

I spent the weekend at our church's Women's Coference called "Sparkle" and I could have stayed there for a month if they ran it that long.   I have been so dry and wiped out, that being there, worshiping with 1000 other women felt like standing in a rolling river and I just wanted to keep drinking it in.   If anyone wants to hear 3 amazing, amazing messages you should check them out at - media page.  There will be a banner for Sparkle - Charllotte Gambil.    I was with two other women - both at really hard stages of life - completely different from my own, but equally touched and renewed by the experience.   Anyway, part of what I came away with is that I have to step out of my comfort zone and go do.   It helps my hubby is almost pushing me out the door - but I'm actually not afraid - I'm excited and I know these trips will only lead us closer to God, and spurn us to do more, love more, take care of others more, and do so many of the things that we aren't doing enough of.

Go do my friends....go do!