‘Lead Me’

I first heard this song in 2010. I was in a marriage that left me broken and used. The song convicted me, because I wanted so much for my husband to be a godly partner and father, to be someone who I could freely love and worship God with. I prayed for this for 17 years. It didn’t happen. After years of threats, battering, and manipulation, that marriage finally fell apart in 2011. My worst fear came true and I lost my children, but  God knew what would happen, even when no one else did, and like the ever-watchful Guardian, He’s been there since the beginning.

Two years ago, after my failed marriage, when my world was completely turned upside down, God saved me when I was drowning in sorrow.  He reunited me with my childhood friend Adam.  Adam helped my soul heal.  He didn’t know it, but he was God’s instrument.

Instrument…. that has more than one meaning to Adam.  Adam is a lifetime musician.  Since he was old enough to hold an instrument, he’s played…whatever he can get his hands on. You leave him alone with it for ten minutes and he figures it out. Well, God has left me alone with him for two years  🙂  Over 24 months I’ve seen him grow from out of his own shell, and release emotional pain that has manifested physically.  I’ve watched him survive a stroke and rebuild himself slowly, and have been extremely blessed to watch as he accepted Christ and became a baptized believer, with the conviction of a knight.  My heart was renewed that day.

The Bible says in 1st Peter 3:1, Wife, be subject to your own husband, so that even if he does not obey the word, he may be won without a word by your conduct.  My grandmother told me that verse when I was in my mid-20′s. I was newly married at the time to my (now ex) husband, and I had asked her what to do, a little bit desperate, because my husband was not Christian.  We didn’t share the same beliefs about God.  Very clearly, the Bible gave instruction. I prayed every day during our marriage (which lasted from 1995-2011), for him to be baptized, for him to share time with me reading the Bible at home everyday.  He was jealous of my relationship with God. At first, he scoffed at me for seeking out a church home,and then belittled me when I taught Sunday school, and then he came to accept my doing this, but he never condoned it.

Deep down inside, I knew that my ex-husband and I would divorce someday, not knowing the how or the when or the why, so in faith I continued to serve my husband, and love him. Sometimes that required work. I had to force myself to love him. He was cold and insensitive, and constantly spewed ugliness out of his mouth, sometimes breaking me down, which made me feel worthless.  Sometimes we even fought physically, because I would constantly fail in my husband eyes.

Faith was my strength. In God and in the verses like that one in 1st Peter.  I leaned on God.  I lived in a constant state of prayer. I believed that God was watching and protecting me and my children, even as I was attacked by my spouse, as I lost various freedoms over the years due to his jealousy of my relationships with family and friends.  And when he threw me out in 2011, when he bribed my children to stay with him instead of going with me, I still prayed and leaned on God’s understanding – which is greater than my understanding.

During this time, I’ve been surviving…. and I wanted to do more than just survive, I wanted life.  I longed for the closeness that God, and no one else, gives me.  So I grieved the loss of my children. I grieved the loss of security and self, and let it go. That was a very hard transition.  During this time, God has been building me up to prepare me for discipleship.  I do this with a humble heart.

Even though Adam and I have been a couple now for 2 years, I feel as if we are at the beginning of something beautiful, because we are now both Christians who both love God, and we want to share that with others, in celebration for all that God has done, is doing, and will do. I feel like God rewarded me for my faith all those years, for putting my trust in Him, for giving the life that was out of my control over to Him.

It’s true…my children are still living with my ex-husband. My heart still aches for them. But my heart is healing. Adams heart is healing. What a difference it makes in your life, when you just let Jesus in! Watching Adam be baptized renewed my soul. Sharing bible time together as we both grow in Christ and allow ourselves to be molded, and praying together, is such a gift! It’s such a peaceful foundation to root and grow a relationship.

Thank you God, for everything. For convicting my heart back then, for protecting my children through all that has changed, and for convicting Adam to become a godly partner, molded by You, just for me. You are the Great Physician, and truly the Miracle Worker.

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The Other Side of My Cardboard

God has really worked on me today…this morning I woke up so unable to celebrate the Easter holiday, apathetic and still buried in sorrow from the loss of my children…

My heart is broken. That hasn’t changed. But, I have so many reasons to celebrate Easter. I know that Jesus is my Savior. I love God, but God loves me a lot more.

If I can add to this cardboard testimony….

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Safety

It’s something we want to always feel. It means so much to so many people.

Today’s been such an emotional day. A lifelong friend who was incarcerated two decades ago, walked out, free, and was finally reunited with his family, as of about 9 am this morning. His son, now an adult, snapped a picture of his father this morning and shared it with me. I love their entire family as if they were my own…it’s been such a blessing to have had them in my life the last 27 years.

In my friend’s eyes, I saw such pain and such relief, an almost disbelief…raw, numbness. It made me think of how a person must feel when they lose their legs. When the moment comes, immediately after the crisis is behind them, when they feel so scared because they know the ground beneath their feet will never feel quite the same. When the realization hits them, they think they can never be able to do the things the neighbor down the street with two legs – with a lifetime of never questioned certainty – can do.

I want to tell my friend, you can make it, and it’s OK to feel like you can’t move during the days ahead when you don’t know how. Half of your life has gone by and the view hasn’t changed out your window. Your legs and feet knew every step of the shadows. It must have felt like an eternity. Minutes feeling like hours, and hours feeling like days, which turned into decades, and for that eternity, your family’s love for you never changed. You have such a support system. Your family, your good friends, have never stopped praying for your safety, for your health, and your freedom. We who knew you before the dark days, wept for you then. The tears of joy are here now, across the miles!

I want to encourage you to write, to sing….to cry…to scream. Cry and scream! It will feel so good. You’ll find your feet, feel the ground in a new way, and your body will move, and your mind will free itself from the last two decades.

You’re safe now. You hear me? God’s got His arms around you. He always has. Keep your eyes forward. Don’t look back, and live everyday knowing you’re treasured.

A Hard Lesson In Reaching Out

Monday of last week, I drove to the house of a friend to visit. It was about 30 miles away. I was almost there, when I turned onto a country road and passed by a young man waking the other direction (towards me, heading out to the main road). He was visibly shaken….crying. I didn’t stop to ask him if he needed help, because he was being followed at a snails pace by a man in a truck. I figured it had to be a family matter. People around these parts are country, quiet, and value their privacy. Still, he made eye contact with me as I drove by. And I’ll never forget his eyes. I saw hopelessness in them. And I kept on driving. I spent a couple of hours with my friends and then drove home in the dark, the same way I came.

I read the news today, and found out that the next day, a young man named Cody, I found out, was reported missing. I recognized his picture as the young man who I had seen on that road just a few hours before. The news went on to say he had been found dead on Saturday, just a few feet from that road. They think he died from exposure to the elements.

I can’t help but want to blame myself. I could have stopped and asked him if he needed a ride somewhere. He might have said no, but I’ll never know because I didn’t stop to ask him. And why? Because I was afraid of stopping, because he was being followed already by what seemed to be someone he knew.

I doubt I’ll ever ignore an indigent soul again because of this.

I hope you watched the video. As you go through your day, and come across people who seem lost and angry, bitter, scared, shunned, and searching for hope…be brave enough to look with caring eyes.

Friendship Found in Music: Crossing the River

Saturday we came to Huntsville, Alabama to see family. It felt like another retreat after the flood, the being in limbo as the trailer gets repaired – it’s been a strange and long, drawn out two weeks, but we take everything day by day. Love gets us through – Love for each other, and from our family and friends.

Many good things have come from the flood. Just one, is that Izzy Miller got to meet Adam. As soon as he learned about what we had been through, he asked Adam if he had lost any instruments or recording equipment in the flood, or if he needed help getting anything replaced. Adam didn’t, by some miracle the water didn’t get high enough to wet the equipment – but just the idea that Izzy was willing to help him replace his instruments – holy crap. Anyway, they’d been hoping to meet each other and jam together for about a year, and the timing was freakishly right on Saturday, at Dads house – despite Huntsville getting hit with some equally freakish snow – southern style of course (about half an inch, and gone by noon).

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Within just a few minutes of tuning up side by side, Adam and Izzy were strumming together like they’d known each other for years, and the music didn’t stop for hours. I’ll have you know, that rock star has a country heart of gold, and his bluegrass roots run deep. The food went fast and the energy was great. It was high time for a day like that.

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Two “new” friends, kicking back and playing every song they loved, except their own.

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One thing I never thought I would see until a short while ago – a rock star,  in my Dads kitchen.

It was such a wild hoot, and good food for the soul. About two weeks ago I blogged about how I was still in that river? Well, I’m out of it! I’m all healed up and ready to keep going. Being at dad’s house helped as much as the music did. Hearing my aunt Margaret cackle like a hen at the thought of having to go to church twice the next day to make up for the fun she was having right then made me realize how much I love my crazy little family!  We’re a bunch of mixed nuts, but if we know you well enough to invite you home for the cookin’  – we love you.  Next time, it should be warm enough to crank up the grill – and this southern girl can’t wait!

A tribute to the Lord of the Rings, and J. R. R. Tolkien

Ramble On was originally written by Led Zeppelin, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page. It’s a tribute to The Hobbit. If you grew up in the 70’s like me, you might have been lucky enough to read the book, and you were thrilled as an adult when the Lord of the Rings movie came out in 2001. Over the years it was followed by The Two Towers and Return of the King, and finally, followed by the prequel to the story – The Hobbit, in 2012.

Adam Carr’s rendition of Ramble On is a moving piece, so when I made the video, i let the lyrics and music lead its design.

Warner Bros. owns all the video copyrights. This is just a tribute, given with a full heart for The Hobbit tales, the Tolkien family, from both Adam and myself.