Almighty

As a follow up to yesterday’s post (that you can read here), we had a rough night as a family last night.  I know I’ve mentioned in previous posts that this summer has been a difficult one for my family and last night was another one of those nights.

 

It involves a grieving mother, too much alcohol, an overbearing-incredibly-sketchy-almost-ex-step-father, a whole lot of anxiety and a whole lot more prayer.

 

Tonight when I opened my devotional I began to read EXACTLY what God wanted me to hear:

“On some days your circumstances and your physical condition feel out of balance: The demands on you seem far greater than your strength. Days like that present a choice between two alternatives–giving up or relying on Me. Even if you wrongly choose the first alternative, I will not reject you.  You can turn to Me at any point, and I will help you crawl our of the mire of discouragement.  I will infuse My strength into you moment by moment, giving you all that you need for this day. Trust Me, by relying on My empowering Presence.” (The devotional is Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.)

A night that ended with me knelt at the foot of my mother’s bed praying and sobbing over her as she slept, certainly falls within the characteristics of my “demands seeming far greater than my strength”.  Last night, I could have folded under the pressure and given up. I felt sick enough to. The fear was paralyzing enough that I could have, but in the most hopeless of situations, I turned to Jesus and begged. Guys, I begged harder than I’ve ever begged. I prayed and I cried and I prayed and I cried.  I allowed God’s empowering Presence to comfort me, I asked Roman for prayer; I asked my sister for prayer. I asked my aunt for prayer. And I allowed God’s Empowerment to Comfort my Soul. Nothing within my situation changed, but what changed was that in those moments when I was pouring everything I had to God, I felt an overwhelming peace. God doesn’t always immediately change your circumstances, but he absolutely will show you how to rely on Him. I am learning this lesson time and time again. It’s a difficult lesson, but I am thankful every step of the journey.

Back to tonight–After reading the short devotion I went to the scripture associated with the excerpt.

Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you…Psalm 42:5-6

I realized in the very moment that I read that scripture, that God was showing me I’m not alone.  Spiritual “offness” (like I was feeling during the day yesterday) has happened before, there are cases IN THE BIBLE! I am so thankful for a God who takes time to show us we aren’t alone. I am thankful that when I was searching for answers yesterday and I wasn’t sure what I was feeling, God already knew and he already had a plan.

Tonight, though issues are not completely resolved,

I have peace.

I have faith.

I have a God who is all-knowing.

All powerful and

…..ALMIGHTY!…..

This is not a battle I have to fight, God has already won it. 

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Blubbering Mess of a Man Baby

I don’t have children, but my sister has a son. There are days when she’s covered in pee, gone without a shower for days and taken a bath in perfume. All in the name of being a good mother.

So today…

There are some things that require documentation for pure hilarity. Please enjoy the following group message between me and 2 of my sisters.

 

2014-08-25 10.45.01   2014-08-25 10.47.57  2014-08-25 10.48.092014-08-25 10.48.17

 

 

NYC

NYC, in all it’s glory. Eeeekk!

Some points about this trip before I share the pictures:

1. The Fun Bus is NOT fun. The seats are rather hard, and SMALL…don’t these people know that the average size in America is NOT a size 2?! Goodness, I don’t think my body ever has hurt so bad from attempting a good night’s rest.

2. NYC is dirty. Like, seeing cockroaches on the street dirty. I was pretty surprised by that. I’m not entirely sure why.

3. Subways (at least the ones we were on) are surprisingly clean. They are also HOT. and MUGGY.

4. When you attempt to see as much of Manhattan as you can in one 12 hour shift, you WILL have blisters.–Most likely the size of quarters. Be prepared.

5. Wicked performed on Broadway made me cry. It was just that good.

6. When you change in a Thai food restaurant and throw your underwear in the trash can, you know it’s been a successful trip. (Walking miles and miles in August…yeah…those underwear can just stay in NYC)

7. Reading a map takes a lot of effort. I mean, somehow we never found Time Square even though we tried to orient and reorient that map a 100 times. We just wandered aimlessly into it after our Broadway play. Oops.

8. If you want to read on the bus after lights out, you may want to bring a book light that isn’t LED. The looks I got were downright vicious.

9. Pack extra socks. Roman warned me, I thought he was being a little overzealous. I totally regretted it when my feet were super sweaty and my blisters were aching. All I wanted was a clean pair of soocckkkss! Wahhhh!

10. Unforgettable memories were made. The End.

Bus Selfies are a must.

Bus Selfies are a must.

First Selfie in NYC!!

First Selfie in NYC!!

IMG_8972 IMG_8973 IMG_8980 IMG_8983

On the Ferry to see the Statue of Liberty. The City is in the background. So Awesome!

On the Ferry to see the Statue of Liberty. The City is in the background. So Awesome!

There she is, in all her glory.

There she is, in all her glory.

Gold Doors? Why not.

Gold Doors? Why not.

9/11 Memorial.

9/11 Memorial.

This Starbucks just warranted a picture. It looks so awesome!!

This Starbucks just warranted a picture. It looks so awesome!!

Flat Iron Building. Seriously. My favorite.

Flat Iron Building. Seriously. My favorite.

Brooklyn Bridge.

Brooklyn Bridge.

IMG_9079

Top of the Rock.

Top of the Rock.

WICKED!

WICKED!

Beautiful view of the city from the top of the Rockefeller Center.

Beautiful view of the city from the top of the Rockefeller Center.

Undeniable Joy

When I originally started this blog, I wasn’t sure what the purpose would be.

I only knew 2 things:

1.- I like to write, like a lot.

2.- I had a pretty legitimately crazy boss and it needed documented for humor purposes.

Since my original blog post a month ago, I’ve had a lot of changes happen within me. I never intended for this blog to be a spiritual one. I mean, spirituality is very important to me and always has been, but I never knew that this would soon become a place for me to come and share the things God has revealed to me.

Either way, I am thankful, which is recently, a lesson that God has been teaching me time and time again. So, I wanted to make sure I took time today to document what God revealed to me during service this morning.

As pastor John got on the stage this morning and the tech people brought up the power point behind him, in BIG white letters against a black background it said “Homosexuality and the Bible”. I’m not going to lie, inwardly, I rolled my eyes. I even sighed. I was irritated. How MANY times are we going to beat this same issue?! How many times are we going to go over and over the fact that God created Adam and EVE not Adam and STEVE?!Yes, Pastor John, I get it.

Let me just tell you, God had something in store for me that I didn’t even know was about to happen.

There was a discussion about creation and God creating two sexes who complimented each other and then in their oneness, complimented God and gave him glory. There was a discussion about marriage. God takes marriage seriously! This isn’t a thing to be toyed with. Divorce is wrong. It’s more than homosexuality. It’s about sexual pureness. It’s about the sexuality of human beings as a whole and the fact that we were born into sexual brokenness. Homosexuality is just ONE of the MANY examples of sexual brokenness. Ouch.

Alright, so there is wake up call number one. Premarital sex is NO LESS a sin than homosexuality. Roger. I hear you loud and clear, Jesus. How dare I or anyone else walk with our chests puffed up telling others how much their sin SICKENS us?! Are we not sinners in some other way? What?..Your sin is better because it is socially acceptable? Not to God. Not to God it isn’t.

Wake up call number two, and the one that hit the hardest today. Divorce is a sin. OUCH! I am 8 months out from the finalization of my divorce. The marriage itself was a mistake. I was running from a home life of which I was petrified. My marriage was an answer to a problem. It was done for the wrong reasons. I was unequally yoked. I was rash. It wasn’t done out of love or out of honor to The Father. It was simply a means to an end. So, I sat in church, feeling the weight of Pastor John’s words, GOD’S words. Was my divorce really a sin?! Would I be committing adultery by getting married again? Would I be causing my spouse to commit adultery by marrying me? I left service with what felt like 1,000lbs on my shoulders and an ache in my stomach that LITERALLY made me feel like I had to throw up.

I was walking to the car with Roman and I reached into my purse to put my sunglasses on. I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes and I didn’t want him or anyone else to see. “How are ya doin'”, he asked. I legitimately was so heavy and conflicted I couldn’t even use words. I just grunted in response.

As we drove out of the parking lot, tears started to roll silently down my cheeks. I kept thinking: Is there no grace for my mistakes?! Will God not allow me to marry again because I have gotten divorced?! I don’t understand. Was it my marriage that was a sin or my divorce that was a sin? Will I cause Roman to be an adulterer by marrying me? Thoughts flooded my brain and tears just kept coming. Roman sat quietly and squeezed my hand and after a few minutes he looked over to me, “What are you thinking babe?”

“I’m still just processing.” Those were the only words I could get out through my tears. He nodded his head and took a few seconds to think before he responded. “Marti, I think that the fact that you are even feeling this way says something about who you are. Did God even honor your marriage if it was done for all the wrong reasons and he doesn’t have any knowledge of God? I don’t want to put any words in God’s mouth, but I really believe that you marrying him was a mistake in the first place.”

My soul started to quiet some. I still let the tears flow freely, but I started to process what he was saying. The entire time I’m still thinking, Is there not grace enough for this? And then, all the sudden, it occurred to me. This is about so much more than a divorce, or a wrong marriage. My conviction was over the fact that I had never really asked for forgiveness about my divorce OR the wrong marriage. I always felt justified. Well God understands that I just married him because I was in such a horrible place at home. God can respect my decision.

NO. NO MARTI. God wants you to rely on him. To trust in him and his timing. Running to an earthly fix was never in the cards. What I felt in church today was God BEGGING me. Leading me. Convicting my spirit.

“Repent. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, my child, my daughter. I love you, but you HAVE to give this to me. In order to move on, you MUST.”

When I got home I messaged a friend about the sermon. I told her I left in tears with the heaviest heart that I had had in YEARS. I told her, “I can’t remember the last time I felt so convicted.” I cried some more. And then in my heart I felt sorry. In a message I told her “I know I am probably telling the wrong person, but I am so sorry for the mistakes I made with him. I am so so sorry.”

Her response, which has lead to this entire post was this:

“Here is the Joy in God, He knows your heart. So you talking to me, He hears it. :)”

And here’s the thing…SHE IS SO RIGHT! 1.- There is ABSOLUTE Joy in God. Even when he convicts me. Even when I am SO BURDENED by my sin that I think perhaps it is unforgivable, as soon as I accept his forgiveness, there is UNDENIABLE joy. SO MUCH JOY!!!! 2. God knows my heart. He knows my heart and he knows your heart. It is so comforting to me that even through conversation with a friend, God is working.

Today, I feel Joy. I feel Joy for a God who is willing to even love me enough to convict me. I am thankful and overjoyed that the creator of all the earth would take time to speak to my soul and let me know that he wants me to cast my burdens on him.

It’s about so much more than homosexuality. It’s about our brokenness as a human race. We are all guilty and have fallen short of the Glory of God, but he knows your heart and he wants you to feel the joy that comes through forgiveness!

Thankful

Sometimes you just have to stop what you’re doing and be thankful for the people and the things that surround you. The past couple of weeks I have been overwhelmingly thankful for Roman and the joy that he brings to my life. It’s more than joy. Its comfort, understanding, encouragement, love, laughter, kindness, forgiveness, spiritual companionship, friendship. It’s really just so much.

Yesterday he and I went for a quick walk at Dillon Beach before we went to dinner and watched a movie. I found myself feeling content, happy. For a long time I’ve wondered what a happy relationship feels like. People will always say do whatever makes you happy and for whatever reason I was really stumped by that.

Dillon Beach Dillon Beach 2

I enjoy lots of things. I craft, I crochet, I sew, I spend time with my sisters, I tell stories, I laugh, I sing, but those things aren’t overly fulfilling to me. Mostly…I love to love. The issue I’ve always had is that I spend my time and energy loving people who don’t love with the same capacity that I do. The other HUGE factor that has changed recently is my spirituality. I spent several years struggling to be persistent in my relationship with God. Past relationships smothered my passion for Christ and I’m sad to have to admit that I wasn’t strong enough to battle that.

So, I’m ABUNDANTLY thankful for Roman–for the peace, love, joy, encouragement, rest, understanding and laughter that he brings to my life.

I’m also very thankful for my sisters.

SistersRecently I’ve spent more time at home being around them. It’s not always about doing something special; just being in each others’ presence is sometimes enough. Several nights the past month my sisters and I have ended up smashed into my queen sized bed, coloring, watching netflix, telling stories, sharing random vine videos and laughing. Just yesterday Abby and I were on opposite floors texting each other links to funny videos. I could hear her laughing a floor beneath me and I’d chuckle to myself wondering what video she would send me next.

Last week I took Charis to get her nails done for the first time.

Charis

I watched her make faces as the nail technician used the various filing tools. Amazement…PAIN. (I remember what it feels like the first time.) At one point she jerked her hand back and screamed “Owww!” The nail technician proceeded to tell her “Well, if you’d relax you’d get hurt less.” After we left Charis says to me “That was totally not my fault!” I told her I knew. For whatever reason the nail technicians always make it your fault. These are little moments that seem trivial or irrelevant, but when I take time to reflect, I realize that these are moments I am able to share with each of them that I will never forget, and I will never get back.

August 8th Abby and I will be taking a trip to New York City together.

New York

It is something that the two of us will remember for a lifetime. The 9th is her 19th birthday, which makes it all the more special!! Making memories is what life is all about and I am so excited to be making this one with her. I’ve already bought us tickets to see Wicked and we are SUPER pumped. We’ve had two solid months from Hell and we absolutely deserve this trip.

Abby

She is a fly by the seat of her pants kind of chick; she’s always been adventurous and loves to push the limits. I’m a nervous nelly. Period. Just the other night we decided to look up where our show was in comparison to other places we wanted to visit. There was slight panic (ok more than slight) as she said “Well, it’s on a island”….I go into immediate PANIC MODE! “ON AND ISLAND?! How are we going to get from New York City to an island?! Are we going to have to take a ferry?! OH MY GOSH! We’re only in the city for 12 hours! We will miss our bus home!! Or we won’t get to see everything we want to seeeee!!!” If I don’t come back from NYC, Abby has left me on a street corner because I have stressed her out too much. *Correction- If I come back without Abby, she has decided to make a life without me in NYC and insisted that I go back immediately!

And of course there is my sister Bethany.

Bethany & Eli

There aren’t enough words to express the love that has happened to all of us the past year. She has opened her house to all of us for the past 5 months. My nephew has brought so much joy to all of our lives and we all drop in and invade her space to smooch his cute little face. I remember finding out she was pregnant and I was devastated for myself. I had been trying for several months to have a baby and it just flat out wasn’t working. I will never be able to repay her for the incredible kindness and sensitivity she showed me even in my most selfish moments. Looking back everything has happened for a reason. I quickly jumped on board with the pregnancy, but the first few weeks were difficult and she showed me love and compassion that was immeasurable, and to be blunt she didn’t have to.

Since then baby E was born and I’ve watched my sister become the most loving mother. She is HILARIOUS with her son, which I also love. One of my favorite things to watch is when baby Eli is just throwing and all out FIT and she picks him up, puts him eye level and says “Ohhh my gooodnesss…”, in this weird, silly voice. He continues to scream and she’s just baby talking to him. I’ve enjoyed watching her mother and I’ve loved watching her and Patrick become a little family.

 Bethany and Eli  bethany family

Her persistence with breast feeding even when it was the most emotionally and physically exhausting thing has been inspiring. It’s a role reversal. I’ve done a lot and experienced a lot of things first. I can say without a doubt that I am the one learning from her every day. Parenting is hard. There is no other way to explain it. From an outside perspective, it’s hard. I know there is incredible joy. I know she is the happiest she’s ever been and that love is overflowing, but I also know she has put in the hardest days and nights of her life. If ever I doubted her strength, she has BEYOND proved that she is the flat out bomb-digity. There’s just no other words to say it.

Behind all of the things and the people that I am thankful for, is a woman who has fought to stand her ground all through her life. I get angry, I want to scream and yell and carry on. I want to live her life for her, or ship her out to live her life somewhere else at times, but there is no denying that all of us are who we are because of our Mother.

Mom

It’s where Bethany gets her mothering and her persistence. It’s where Abby gets her curiosity and adventurousness. It’s where Charis gets her sensitive spirit and her attitude. It’s where I get my passion for people and my nostalgia. Life isn’t easy. In fact life is probably the hardest thing we’ve all had to endure, but who we are has a great deal to do with who has influenced us. Without her, we’d be nothing. God gives each of us people in our lives that we are to influence. Her job was to raise 4 daughters. Daughters who have gotten her head-strong gene. Daughters who have learned to challenge authority and think for themselves. Daughters who were encouraged to have minds of their own and to chase their dreams. Daughters who were taught to be creative and innovative. Daughters who were taught to look to God for answers. Daughters who were taught that “sisters are forever”. Daughters who were taught to be kind to one another and to always defend each other. Daughters who were taught to love with a ferociousness that not everyone has. Daughters that were taught to have a compassion for all people. These are all qualities that have been facilitated and given from her. 

Even in the darkest times, there is no denying that we are who we are, because God gave her a specific mission and she accepted it wholeheartedly.

I am thankful.

Saving Lives in High Water Yoga Pants

This weekend we had a family yard sale. Big shindigs like these when done with family can get quite messy. The random bickering about where to place things, exactly what prices should go on what, discussions and/or insinuations that one person or another has done more work and then the fact that we ended up $20 short in the end, made this yard sale a success. It has also caused complete and utter exhaustion.

The event took place Friday and Saturday and we had to determine how to feed everyone as we took shifts manning the pre-owned junk that scattered the yard. On Friday we made our family-favorite cheeseburger soup and Saturday it was decided that one of us would run into Kroger to grab lunch meat, chips and other various snacks. That “one of us” ended up being me.

That morning I was startled awake by my mom pounding on my bedroom door; I had slept through my alarm and had 10 minutes to get dressed, pull my hair into the highest, messiest looking bun and run out the door. The outfit I chose was AWFUL because I was in a hurry and I figured I was only going to be sitting behind a card table all day so it didn’t matter. So, off I went to Kroger in my black spandex, high water yoga pants that gave me the biggest muffin top (what’s the pastry bigger than a muffin?…because THAT is the kind of blob that was hanging off the waist of these yoga pants) EVER, my navy blue flip flops, and my greasy messy bun.

As I walked through the produce section I could literally feel my pants smacking into my ankles with every gust of wind. I thought if I walked faster the trip would be over sooner and I wouldn’t have to suffer through shopping in this hideous get up as long; however, that plan was thwarted by the fact that the faster I walked, the more wind my pants caught and the harder those puppies flapped around my ankles. I just pictured the looks I was getting as people looked down and saw these pant legs flapping in the wind. Legitimately I think people took my pants as a warning of a second great flood. After they finished their grocery shopping, they went directly home to draft up plans to build an ark.

So I continued my journey, trying INCREDIBLY hard to keep my head down and my trip fast. BUT WOULDN’T YOU KNOW, the harder you try to do something like that, the more it just doesn’t work. I bumped into a little girl from preschool and her father…HOW EMBARRASSING. Then as I’m buying lunch meat, the lady standing next to me strikes up a conversation. 

Me (to the guy at the deli): Yes, I’d like one pound of turkey and half a pound of the bologna that’s on sale.
Random Lady: Have you ever tried the bologna that (insert random brand name here) makes?
Me: No, I haven’t. I assume it’s good?
RL: YES! My boss from Florifinos…he used to live in (insert the state here)…absolutely loves this bologna…comes highly recommended….grew up in a Jewish neighborhood…should realllllyyyy try it….Granville Market sometimes has it….a little pricey….worth every penny…I tried it at a party he had…wife is wonderful…bologna is better than….It is so incredible…

This is the point where I am staring into space inwardly cringing as I imagining all of the random customers who have now seen my ankles peeking out from under these HIDEOUS YOGA PANTS. I imagine they opened a box of plastic spoons from the aisle and proceeded to gouge their eyes out with them.

RL continues: What about Hebrew hotdogs?! They are kosher, I mean I’m not Jewish, but these hotdogs are SOOOO DELICIOUS! Sometimes they are on sale here 2 packs for $7…they weren’t always here….grocery stores don’t always keep them in stock…IGA…Dryden Road Grocery…

I am trying so hard not to look other shoppers in the eyes as I watch them rush to finished their shopping so they can go directly to Lowes to purchase the lumber for their arks…the pants are screaming DOOM.

I finally cut her off.

Me: They sound delicious, maybe sometime I’ll have to try them. Have a good day!

I walk away quickly, so quickly that I forgot the case of water and the pop and had to RETURN to Kroger to shop again wearing the same outfit. When that shopping trip was over, I went directly back to the yard sale, I took those pants off and I stuck a price tag on them. I want someone else to feel the same shame I did when I walked through those aisles.

Okay, not really. I went home and proceeded to wear those pants the rest of the day. I mean, I had to let all of the yard sale customers know to expect the flood!–I was a walking public service announcement.

Simply put, I was saving lives.