Last Spring my husband asked me if I would be interested in moving to Fort Wayne. I said, “Nope”! I’ve got a good job and the kids will grow up and end up where ever. I’m very open with my kids about life and was telling my kids how Byron had an interview up in Fort Wayne but I did not want to move up there. My daughter, in her child like way says, “Mom, you always get promoted wherever you are!” I still was stuck in my way’s and was not going to move!!! After all I’ve moved 9 times in my life! 6 of those in the last 18 years! Fast forward to August, when my husband calls me on a Wednesday night with panic in his voice, “We need to talk, I have an interview in Fort Wayne on Friday.” Uh, okay, tell me more. So, he goes on to share how he received an offer for his “Dream Job”, teaching adaptive P.E. I felt total peace about the situation and knew God’s hand was on it. Byron had a great interview and we waited to hear back. The following Monday I got an unexpected call, my ex lost his job and home as a pastor. Our children live with him. I finally understood WHY God had given me such peace. We are moving an hour closer to our children. God is FAITHFUL and I have even found a new opportunity!
Over the last few weeks I have seen Michael W Smith advertising his album “Awaken” recorded live in Nashville. I was a little hesitant of the album BUT I can’t tell you how much I LOVE this album! It has song’s on it that we all know and the newer worship songs. I have seen Michael live in large in arenas and I have seen him lead worship in his church. He is passionate about leading others toward the throne room of God. I’ll be honest the “Surrounded” album was not what I expected to be but this “Awaken” album is AMAZING!!!! Michael W Smith THRIVES off of the LIVE crowd and experience! This album is fresh and beautiful. As I was driving and listening to it, the word of the song, “Surrounded” finally connected. When he says, “I’m surrounded, I’m surrounded by you!” It made me think that when we are in the midst of a trial, we are surrounded by stuff and garbage but we are also surrounded by Jesus Christ. Here’s a quick look at the songs.
- Set a Fire
- Reckless Love
- King of Glory
- Do it Again
- Washed Away/Nothing but the Blood
- Great Are You Lord
- Let It Rain
- Healing Rain
- Agnus Dei
- Revelation Song
Go check it out!
Growing up, I grew up in a home where my parents taught me how to budget. The importance of tithing and saving. When I got my first job out of high school, the financial opportunities were wide open and that is what filled me up. Forget the drinking, money was my choice. It was a quick fill me up, gave me a high. Oh I wanted those $50 jeans at American Eagle or Gap, swipe the card, I felt good for a few hours. Then the bills came in and I just spent more and more and more. I was in a bad spot financially and could not get out. My parents knew this but didn’t say much, until one day my mom took me and all my bills to a debit consolidator to try to consolidate my debit. This worked for a short time but I went right back to spending more than I made and not paying the bills. Oh but the phone calls from the collectors, well I ignored those. I took my debit into my first marriage. My dad and ex husband paid off all my debit so there was not the responsibility as my debit had been paid. Being in a marriage where my husband took care of the finances left me with no worries. We did fight about money frequently but the card debit never came back.
Then I divorced my husband and there was financial responsibility on my and only me. I went and get a few credit cards so I could live the life style I wanted to but again, got so far in debit that I couldn’t get out. I always took the maximum out on student loans so I could buy what I wanted to. I was NOT RESPONSIBLE. I DO NOT RECOMMEND DOING THIS! I then got to a place where I had to move into a bedroom, yes a bedroom and rent from another lady while trying to make ends meet. I then met my husband who was with me on this journey and knew sort of what I had gotten into.
I filed for bankruptcy. It cleared all my debit away. It provided a new opportunity to get cards. Yes, you can get credit cards after filing for bankruptcy with VERY high intrest. I don’t recommend this either. You see, I got a card for Ulta, I thought, wow I can belong to a place that makes people beautiful. Buying power. I had gotten a few other cards and got the balance fairly high. I applied for a lone to get the balances down. So, I got the balances paid off or low on some of them. More buying power. What I didn’t think about was that I was paying off a loan that I borrowed to pay off borrowed money on credit cards! Crazy, I know but when you are in the middle of pain you do things that give you a high and make you feel good.
So, here we are 2019 and God has been chasing after me hard to get a grip on my finances. This past Sunday our past Chris at Mill Creek Preached on “Money”. What…..they talk about that in church, YES! He made a statement that I could not even write down, my husband wrote it down, “You can not be a FULLY committed follower of Jesus and be financially LOST.” That HIT me like a ton of bricks! I always thought, well, I do this, this and this. I will get into heaven. But man oh man when we put things in this perspective it totally makes me reelvatue where I am and where I am going!
I have made a choice a few weeks back to start focusing on paying off my debit. I was at the kitchen table writing down my list of cards and debit and my mother -in-law asked me if that was a grocery list and I said, “No, it’s a list of my credit card debit.” Once I had the list made, I shared it with my husband who did not yell and scream but rather kindly said this is how we need to tackle this. Today, I paid off my first credit card!!!!!! I am so excited for a pastor and church who speak TRUTH into things in life that we may not always see as sin and that separates us from the love and joy and peace that God can give. I finally get what has been separating me from God’s abundant love and it was anyone else but myself!
I’ll never forget the first time I had an encounter with the NDWBB program, it was the fall of 2000 and Ruth Riley had come to speak to the junior high students at our youth ministry at Granger Community Church. One student asked her what her favorite movie was and she said, “Hoosiers.” I had never seen this movie but later in the basketball season would see a real life Hoosier movie play out. I had no idea who she was but as I watched that season I soon found out who she was. One of the students asked her, what was her goal for that year and she said to, “win the National Championship.” And that she did! I watched faithfully on t.v. that year as they beat teams time and time again. I was working at the South Bend Airport for Delta, the day they beat UCONN and being on the team bus taking them out to their flight, you could hear a pin drop. Not a single word was heard. I watched as they proceed to the National Championship in April 2001 in St. Louis. I watched as they battled their way to the top against the in state rival of Purdue. This was a true life Hoosier movie playing out! There was just a few seconds left in the game with Purdue ahead and Purdue fouls, Riley is at the line and makes both shots bringing home the National Championship for the first time in Notre Dame history! I watched this again while at work at the airport. I got off just after the team had landed and knew there was going to be a party on campus. I headed over and joined in welcoming the team bus back to campus. I had no idea of the rich tradition and joined with the students in singing the Notre Dame fight song. I was not a student at Notre Dame but just a local who felt part of a community that night. From that season on I have been a fan of Notre Dame Womens Basketball.
Notre Dame Women’s basketball stands for all the young girls who dream of playing one day for the Irish. It represents the hours that young girls spend shooting hoops to perfect that 3 pointer, it represents the countless driveway pick up games in neighborhoods across America. It represents that Women can succeed at a sport that has mainly been dominated by men. Go to the Joyce and see the crowds that go and support these young women faithfully every game. We try to attend 2 games/season and each time we are in the cheap seats but those cheap seats provide life lessons as all around us are dads and daughters young and old watching the game and learning from the plays being made on the court. They cheer loud, the cheer proud because here come the IRISH of Notre Dame!
As a girl growing up in Indiana I had dreams of one day playing basketball on a team but that never transpired due to lack of coordination and do you know it really takes talent and a lot of work to shoot a basket! When I watch the Notre Dame women I am living a dream through them. A dream of wining!
This past Sunday we had the opportunity to attend the Boston College game and after the team had a singing, it was icing on the cake, these young women just played their hearts out for 2 hours and now they are up meeting fans. Fans that have a dream of one day being like them. That is respectful! Same with their Head Coach Muffet, she was walking out the door and some fans including myself asked if we could get pictures with her, she took her coat off and obliged. Such genuine, real people who make up this team.
I have started on this journey about a week ago. I am going to be the first to tell you that I have NOT stayed on task but you know what, that is OK! We all know that life can get busy. I have found the best time for me to chew on the nuggets of truth in this book is at night just before bed. The main take away from this past week has been when we read through 1 Samuel 17 and examined the things that David had been called when he choose to take on the giant Goliath! He was called conceited v.28, wicked, young v.33. I don’t know about you but I do struggle with the lies the enemy feeds me. That I am not good enough. I doubt myself and my ability. How many times have you, “heard a lie, you treat it like truth, and it begins to define you, like a label. And then you act out of that label.” (p.15) Satan wants nothing more than us to be defined by HIS label so that we don’t do God’s work that he has designed us to do. So, be encouraged to be brave as you go through this next week. Don’t let the enemy tell you that you are not good enough because you are already more than enough!
When you read that word, what comes to mind? Scandals? Unfaithful? Cheater? Worthless? Anger? Leave them now!?! Many thoughts can cross a persons mind. When I think of this word it brings shame.
One month ago today, I found out that my husband had used the internet to look for other women to talk to. Gasp you say?!?!?! I was filled with anger and hurt and feelings of being unworthy and not enough. I wanted to run as far away as I could from him. He had done the unthinkable and hurt me. I didn’t make it very far as I called and talked to two trusted people who told me to turn around and deal with the situation because running was not going to resolve the issue. I am BEYOND GRATEFUL for those wise people!
I went through emails and read the lies. He pulled down his profile, and closed out the email. You might ask, can’t he do that again and YES he can do that again. However we have hunkered down hard and made the choice to turn towards Jesus. In the days following God’s timing is perfect! We had planned a trip to Florida but did not go. Instead we spent the next four days, with each other. Mostly phone and tv free. He knew there was a problem and we dug into God’s word, and a wonderful book that walks through the affair of a pastor and his wife. It brought hope and even brought healing as we forgave each other.
Wait, each other???? You were in the wrong too? YOU BETCHA! When I moved to Indiana, I signed up for classes at Ivy Tech. It was about 45minutes away from where we lived and I found friendship in a professor that as I look back on was an emotional affair of the heart. There was NEVER any physical unfaithfulness throughout that, however I was getting my emotional needs met through the professor. You see, I didn’t tell my then husband about all the times we had met for coffee or lunch. We connected and had a special bond. Not a typically friendship bond. This bond we had, we laughed and would talk for hours. We got each other! He knew me….he knew when I was having a rough day. He dated other women but always kept me on the side. I met each of his girlfriends. They knew about me but his realtionships with the girls never lasted. Later he stated it was because of me. As I look back this made me feel used.
When I went through my divorce he walked with it through me. My ex accused me of having an affair with him. I DENIED it because I did not see it as such. In my mind an affair was sexual. I am BEYOND GRATEFUL that God opened my eyes to see what was happening! One night he and I were walking while I was going through my divorce and he asked me when I would be ready to date and immediatly said in a year but I always said I didn’t want to date him because I enjoyed what we had and didn’t want to ruin it with a dating relationship.
Byron met him and tried hard to find something that he could pin point that an affair was going on but at the time he couldn’t. Again, God peeled back the dirt from my eyes to be able to see my own sin during a time when my husband was struggling. I have asked for forgiveness from my ex husband and my husband in regards to the affair of the heart and emotions I was having with this person.
I am grateful that God is in the restoration business and is allowing Byron and I to turn something broken into something beautiful. Stay tuned for more.
Matthew West has a way to take a story and write something beautiful! This is what I have been listening to this week. This songs is my heart beat.
It’s been over a year since I have posted! So much has happened in life! Currently life is in a good place. God has provided us with an apartment MUCH closer to our jobs, which leaves a lot more time for life living! We were driving 1 hour and 30 minutes EACH way to work. Both of us! Let’s just say, we functioned! Now we are living life!
I am blessed beyond measure with an husband who is not afraid to speak truth when it is needed. Since end of May, I have been trying to let go of a friendship I had for 6 years. It was HARD!!! That person had been through the highs and low of various parts of life. They had been there through losses and cheered through the victories! But as only my husband can do he spoke truth, it was hard for me to swollow and let that relationship fully go. Oh, how freeing it was though!
Now, we are building new friendships in our community! I had not ridden a bike in 12 years and 2 weeks ago rode 15 miles! I have people cheering me on as I work to get healthy and focus on a 5k in May 2018. We are living life and it’s a beautiful thing! I am grateful to be where we are at in life.
Weekly I am meeting with a group of ladies for dinner. It’s a beautiful thing to have a community of people to live life with.
While I have been a college graduate for just shy of a month, I wanted to share some thoughts on the things I have learned from going back to school as an adult.
- Know your Learning Style! This is so VERY important! I learn best by classroom interaction and conversation. I show what I learn best by writing a paper or doing a project. I do not test well. I was very fortunate to have professors who worked WITH me and allowed me to write papers instead of taking tests. They knew I knew the information. Thank you Dr. Spaulding! Stretch yourself in how you take classes. During my first semester in college I took courses with underclassmen who were just fresh babes out of high school. It was refreshing to see things through their eyes but I was also able to bring my life experiences into the classroom. I then went to my co-hart and adult classes, one night a week in which I thrived. Once I got married I lived a little too far to drive to campus once a week and I took classes online. I knew this would be a challenge as I am NOT an online learner!
- Come expectant and ready to be stretched because YOU will be stretched! I didn’t have a clue what to expect coming into college as an adult. All I knew was that I would receive a piece of paper that would enable me to have other career opportunities. I am so glad that I finished and went OVER the mountains that at times seemed impassable.
- Having at least one person if not more in your life that has your end result at hand will keep you focused on the end result is VITAL! I can not tell you how many times I wanted to give up! I am grateful I had my husband to kick me in the butt and keep me focused. My kids motivated me, my parents motivated me and my friend Kevin motivated me! I would not be where I am without the pushing of all these people. My advisor pushed me and told me I could do just when I thought I couldn’t. Do NOT isolate yourself!
- You have to give up to go up! Yes, there are times where you will have important deadlines and you will have to choose between an activity or the assignment. My advisor actually told me that sometimes you have to prioritize and if that means missing a Sunday in church to get your homework done then do it. School is for a season.
- Reach out to your professors WHEN you are struggling. I will not say IF but WHEN because you WILL struggle. Going back to school as an adult versus a young person is totally different. Your professors WANT you to succeed! They are for YOU! I saw Grace more time than I care to count by professors who were FOR me! Grace in action is beautiful!
- Finally WALK ACROSS THAT STAGE!! Yeah it may cost you some money for the cap and gown but it is SO WORTH IT!!!!!!!!
Over the past few years God has showen me Grace through different people in my life. You see when I divorced my ex, I was filled with shame despite the freedom that came. I was shameful because I was leaving the extended family. But my ex’s extended family has been quietly cheering me on. The first Christmas his Grandmother who has since passed set me a Christmas card and I knew she still cared. But what amazed me is, my ex’s Aunt Vicki and Uncle Ralph and his Aunt Bev and Uncle Mo who have reached out to me over and over again each year and are celebrating with me as I complete the course of attaining my bachelors degree. They STILL Love me despite the circumstances. It breaks me each time one of them sends me a card or a message on Facebook. This is what LOVE and GRACE looks like.