Friday, November 30, 2012

Thoughts on Christmas coming and the busyness

Memories, holidays, traditions, family…..these are the things on my mind.  So many things bring back the childhood memories that to me are so wonderful.  A child’s memory is an amazing thing.  When I walk into a place and smell Apples and Oranges I am reminded of going to my Grandparent’s house in Idaho during the holidays~I can still sometimes go back there in my mind.  We pull up in the car and the shouts start “Uncle Jim is here, they are here”  We walk through the entry room and I smell/see the boxes of Apples and Oranges, then we are surrounded by family.  My Grandma hugging me.  Someone on the the phone calling the rest of the family who still lives in Emmett, telling them we have arrived and to come over.  I walk through the kitchen and dining room into the next room and get a hug from my Grandfather.  After a 10 hour drive we are ready to celebrate Christmas with family.  There is a big tree in the corner with so many lights and decorations on it, you just want to stare at it for ever.  All the family pictures on the walls and shelves surrounded by dolls and other knickknacks.  A shelve that contains the favorite Christmas movies that I still watch to this day.  Oh and of course the woodstove in the corner that we put our mittens on to dry (sometimes getting them back with burned marks oops). I will never get to be in this home again, it burned down two days before last Christmas.  My Grandfather has passed away.  All the cousins are grown and have families of their own~including me.  My Grandmother now lives in a new home that they finished building it just before Thanksgiving this year. 

Now I have children and the goal is to take some of my family traditions and some of my husbands and mesh them with new ones we create to help my boys have amazing childhood memories to take into adulthood.  I love the look in my boys eyes (even as a teen/pre-teen) when they know we are going to Grandma’s.

As we are preparing for Christmas this year I am being vary careful to listen to them and hear what things are important and have stuck out from the years of celebrating.  From the tree decorating, to the snacks, to the Christmas music, candle light services, the reading of the Bible Christmas story and the night before Christmas, watching Polar Express and Charlie Brown, to getting PJ’s on Christmas Eve, the sausages and waffles for breakfast~  All of this is great as long as the most important thing is remembered and passed down to my boys…..That Christ was born and we are celebrating God’s love for us.  All of the rest brings families together and shows love between us, but we need to make sure that our boys grow up knowing and to one day (possibly) teach their children about Jesus and the reason we have Christmas. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

A new start

After a childhood of people (inside and outside of my family) telling me I couldn’t do things, calling me names, ignoring me…….I started believing the lies.   In my childhood I had one true best friend and I didn’t find her until I was in 7th grade-she didn’t try to change me, except to try to help me out of the pain. I found her in 7th grade but it took me until 11th grade to truly let her in (she is my friend to this day). 

I fell in love at 17 and not know what to do with this new feeling and this guy that loved me in return (never thought that would happen) I ended up having sex just after my 18th birthday and I was pregnant 4 1/5 months later~then married that March. 

How was a broken, self hating, no friends (because she pushed them away or chose all to not see the friends that were there) girl supposed to have a marriage and raise a baby as a teenager?

I continued to push people away and swear that I wouldn’t get hurt again-most of my childhood “friends” only were my friends when they needed something, so I assumed that the people I ran into as an adult would be the same or just wouldn’t like me because of who I was and what I had done. I started to become invisible-because in my head invisible people don’t get hurt.

I also pushed God away.  He had been my closest friend from age 8, he was there when no one else was, but I (in my broken state) figured if people didn’t want me why would he.

My pastors and mentors helped me to find healing.  I thought that we had gotten there because when I was 28 I finally started to let people close to me and found another best friend.  I was walking with my head up and had accepted ministry responsibilities.  I figured I was finally whole and didn’t need any more fixing.

We joined a Church plant and I was then thrown into a new situation and the old Stephanie (the completely broken one) started to show back up.  The lies started coming back…. these new people will never like you, your Pastors don’t need you, just stay quiet and you will be invisible ~ the sad thing is I listened to these lies.  I sat as quiet as I could and became invisible and was unable to be used in the manner that God wanted to use me because I had put the walls (stronger this time) back up.

A year ago I decided I had had enough of being lonely and I started to do something about it.  I got myself back into the Word, the way I should have been and in my prayer times the Lord started directing me to share my story. This was a scary thing to me.  I didn’t understand why He wanted to put me (a nobody) into a situation where no one would care what happened to this girl in her past.  Even with this I was obedient  I went to a connect group at our Church and I met new people and we had to share our stories.  I could have taken the easy way out, but I decided I had done enough hiding and it was time to share ALL of my past.  There was freedom in this and the amazing thing to me is that I didn’t loose any body. I actually gained friends and gave God the freedom to continue working in me. 

After this I was obedient and I got my self going in the direction God was telling me to go by approaching a leader about the possibility of joining her ministry and I wasn’t rejected.  My voice came back and I was able to speak and pray for people like I was supposed to be doing. 

I also started setting up times to get together with people I knew and didn’t know…making friends and finding that I wasn’t being rejected.

A few months ago I was given an opportunity go to to a conference and I used my voice again….people didn’t run the other way, they embraced me and wanted to hear what I had to say.  Then I joined a few ladies at a women’s night out.  The speaker was talking about finding and using your voice and being in the season that God has you in. Permission to be in the positions God has gifted you to be in. Changing and embracing those changes of seasons.  I had been feeling that God is about to move me, but for fear of hurting anyone (and because there is comfort in staying where you are) I have kept quiet.  For some reason the enemy likes to use that tactic on me.  If he keeps me silent I wont move or allow God to move in/through me.

Then the next weekend I was given the opportunity to go to a healing conference.  This was an incredible weekend.  I finally found healing, freedom and peace with who I am and who God is making me to be.  The past is in the past, I can look forward and allow God to use me with no fear.  I am no longer the scared little girl who is starting at yet another new school, wondering who will it be that decided to hurt me this time. I am free!  I am the Lords and I am ready to move into His will for my life.

Thank you Lord for never letting me go!