From My Heart

From My Heart

Monday, December 26, 2016

The Choices that were Made

As I sit here listening to the sound of my kids playing with their presents from the first CHRISTmas in our house my mind wanders to moments from the past year.

It has been almost a year since we signed papers on our home. So much has happened in this year, not all good but not all bad. We have had so many good, godly people standing around us through those good and bad times. Sometimes the ones that you think will be there holding your arms up are the first ones out the door when your strength is gone. In that moment is when you find the unexpected ones that grab hold of you with all their might, don't ask questions, just pray, love and speak what God lays on their heart for you.

So many days I heard God whisper to my heart, asking if I was going to follow His plans or my own. So many hard decisions that were made. Decisions that did not always go the way I planned. So many moments when I did not want to follow God's plans. Those were the moments God placed people in my path to speak to the dark places of my soul that did not care what God's plan was because I wanted life to be my way.

As I sit here and think about those decisions and choices I wonder did I follow His plan at every turn? When the people around us did not like the decisions we made, was it God's plan? When it felt like we were suffering, was it God's plan? When so much anger raged inside of me, was it God's plan?

It's easy for me to see God's plan when it creates goodness and joy. But what about when it does not? Is it still God's plan?

As I look back on the choices that were made, hard, gut-wrenching choices. Choices that caused hurt to some and ourselves; choices that set our family apart from everything we have known for our entire marriage; choices that family and friends did not agree with. Choices that we questioned ourselves, choices that drew lines in the sand and choices that had to be made at any and all costs. Many of these choices determined the future of our family.

As my mind lingers over each of these I hear the soft, smooth voice of my Savior saying "my plans not yours, be still and know."

God bless,
Denissa

Thursday, April 7, 2016

I Was Lost


I once was lost but now am found, 
Was blind, but now I see.
(Amazing Grace by John Newton)



I was lost... lost in the hurt...lost in the frustration...lost in the fury...lost in my will.


Day after day I wandered in a black forest, seeing nothing, just trying to feel my way through the darkness. Not all who wander are lost but I was lost. I was alone. I was afraid. I was angry. When I looked around all I could see were the broken dreams, broken promises, broken me. I needed help but I could not find it or maybe I did not want it. Maybe I could fix it on my own.

How did I get here?! 
What did I do wrong?
When did I loose myself in this hate?
Where do I go from here?
I did not have any of the right answers. 

I hear a voice, it is calling me. Someone is there but I cannot see them. I do not want to. I want to stay in the forest. I like the black forest. It is my protection from feeling the hurt again.

Lies. Lies. Lies. 
All of it is Lies.

I still hear the voice. Soft, loving, understanding voice. The voice makes the forest seem uncomfortable again. How can the voice show me love when all I have to give is brokenness and hostility?! I notice a glimmer of light through the dark. No. I do not want light. I hear the voice again.  I recognize the voice. It is a familiar voice. A voice I know. A voice I heard daily for many years. A voice I desired to hear at one time. A voice I once was obedient to. When did the voice stop talking to me?

Did the voice stop talking or did I stop listening?

I remember...I was hurt time after time. I grew tired and weary. 

I hardened my heart to the voice.
I decided my will was better. 
I lost control, my will did not work.
I go to the light.
Those are the answers.

The voice, God's voice is coaxing me out of the dark forest. He is picking up all of the broken pieces, the hurt, despair, hate, hopelessness, faithlessness, the broken marriage, the broken family, me. God is putting it all back together, His way. His plan.

I was lost...but now I am found.




God bless,
Denissa

Thursday, December 31, 2015

PLANS

I know the plans that I have for you, declares Yahweh. They are plans for peace and not disaster, plans to give you a future filled with hope. Jeremiah 29:11 (Names of God Bible)

Yahweh (YHWH): Comes from a verb which means “to exist, be.” This, plus its usage, shows that this name stresses God as the independent and self-existent God of revelation and redemption (from Bible.org)


As I sit in the still and quiet of this house my eyes drift to the chaos of life around me, my mind wants to drift to the days past of 2015 but my heart only wants to focus on the days to come. In years past I would anticipate the new year with great expectations but I have since learned that life happens and life is hard. Life can be fabulous but it can also be dreary. Life events do not respect the newness of a new year, they happen none the less, good or bad, regardless of what the calendar reads. 

One of my new year traditions, as many of you know but some do not, is to ask God for a word and verse for the coming year. For 2015 it was Faith, Unless your faith is firm, I cannot make you stand firm. Isaiah 7:9b (NLT). I learned that my faith is weak and at some points during 2015 it was nonexistent. God never left me but at times I left Him. It was a very trying year for myself, my marriage, my family. I do not want to go back to those times. What happened happened...it is done...it cannot be redone or undone...it is done. 

I tend to have big ideas that never pan-out in life, as they do in my mind. I make plans that fall through. I calculate every word, motion, breath, God calculates differently than me. I have found my mind many times going over these calculated plans as my eyes adjust to see the unplanned movements happening in front of me. I catch myself, in these moments of uncertainty, asking God "Where are YOU?!" I hear Him answer back "I Am with you. My plans are not your plans." I find myself asking back in anger, "What are YOUR plans?!" My mind whirling, anger surrounding me, I hear..."MY PLANS are not to harm you, they are plans for good and plans for hope. My plans are for hardships that equal growth. My plans are for you." 

Within the last few weeks many times I have been asked "What do you plan to do?" by loved ones around me. I have come to realize I do not know. The plans I had were my plans, not God's plans. The plans I had did not work. I no longer have any plans. 

Today I will walk the path that God as placed before me, one step at a time, one day at a time, some moments one second at a time.  I no longer have plans, it is time for Yahweh's PLANS. PLANS of redemption and revelation.  


I know the plans that I have for you, declares Yahweh. They are plans for peace and not disaster, plans to give you a future filled with hope. Jeremiah 29:11 (Names of God Bible)

God Bless,
Denissa

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Joy

Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!” Nehemiah 8:10b NLT

The Lord is my joy.

Not my husband. Not my children. Not myself. Not my job. Not my paycheck or my husband's. Not anything or anyone on this earth.

My joy comes from my God.

This was a hard realization that I had to come to within the past few weeks. I unknowingly put my joy into everything except the Lord. I would get so upset when my husband or kids made a mistake. I would get angry when life did not go my way. I was headed in a downward spiral fast because of the fact that I was counting on people and things to provide my joy. That is impossible! Only God can provide my joy (If I choose to let him)!

I remember the moment I can to this realization.

My husband had done something (again). He was not filling my joy cup the way I thought he should, he was draining it and at this point it was bone dry. I was mad. He was mad. The kids were not happy. Even the dog kept her distance.  In my mind I thought why can he not just make me happy? That is when I heard that voice that tends to whisper truth at the most perfect moment, it is called the Holy Spirit. The voice said "I am your joy, not the husband." Ugh really!? Again the voice, "The Lord is your joy." Then Nehemiah 8:10 pops in my head. It took me a few days to think this through. I spent days with my mind in rewind going over many situations where my joy was not coming from the Lord. I began to realize it was not my husbands fault that I was not joyful. It was mine. Just because I was choosing to depend on my husband to provide me with joy did not mean it was his fault for failing! My husband is human, he is going to fail me every day just as I will and do fail him daily. We are human, that is what humans do...WE FAIL!! 

After the few days it took for me to come to this realization I had to stop and ask God to forgive me for being so self consumed. From that moment when aggravating situations arise and I start to let them get the best of me I hear that still small voice telling me "where is your joy." Many times I have actually said out loud my joy comes from the Lord not from this person or this situation. (Some times I need to say it more than once or twice!) 

I am a work in progress. But isn't that what matters most?...That we are making progress?! We all need to be a work in progress because if we are not working on progress we are staying the same and that gets us nowhere. 

Some days I long for the day I "arrive" but I know that will not happen until I am bowing at the perfect feet of my beloved Savior. Until that time comes I will be satisfied with being a work in progress. And I will know where my joy comes from...

My joy and my strength come from the Lord!

God Bless,
Denissa

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

FAITH

My word for this year is FAITH.
Unless your FAITH is firm, I cannot make you stand firm. Isaiah 7:9b NLT


My word for 2014 was TRUST.


The definition of FAITH is complete trust or confidence in someone or something.


So FAITH is the same as trust...


I admit, I was offended!


I always pray and ask God to give me a word that I can cling to for the entire coming year, a word that is going to define me and grow my relationship with my King. Why would God give me practically the same word two years in a row!? Did I not trust you enough last year God?!


As 2015 started Satan wasted no time in carrying over his non-sense attacks from last year on our family. As I began to meditate on Isaiah 7:9, I began to look at my FAITH. What exactly does God mean when He says he cannot make me stand firm unless my FAITH is firm? I read my Bible everyday, I pray every day. How is my FAITH not firm?!


Recently our family was hit hard, possibly the hardest we have ever been hit so far. My FAITH was shaken to the very core, and I began to analyze every day of my life for the past eighteen years. I felt as if every thing I had was being ripped from me and I had no control over any of it. I questioned God's will for my life. Why would God keep me in a place of hurt and despair? God began speaking to my heart that He was not keeping me in this dark place, I was choosing to focus on the negative. Many times through this situation I read Isaiah 7:9, the more I read it the more I realized my FAITH was not firm and therefore I was not standing firm. I began to see that my FAITH goes beyond trust, it is more than believing God is going to work things out for our good. FAITH is an act of strength, it is an action that I have to use every day.


A few months ago my SIL/best friend was telling me how God used the story of Peter walking on water to show her some things in her life. That story came back to me a few weeks ago. I felt how I would imagine Peter felt when he began sinking. I said to God, "I do not know when I took my eyes off of you and I began to sink." I felt God speaking to me saying just because your FAITH is firm does not mean you won't go under water but when you are under water is your FAITH still firm? He told me if my FAITH was still firm then I needed to start acting like it, pick myself up and stand firm, even when the ground beneath me was shaking. Just because God called me to go through some rough waters (or perhaps a hurricane) does not mean that I have a right to give up. He began to show me that when my FAITH is firm He will get me through anything.


FAITH is more than trust...


FAITH is my defense against the enemy! FAITH is something I have, and the devil does not have, and cannot have!  FAITH is favor with God!


Lift up over all the [covering] shield of saving FAITH, upon which you can quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked [one]. Ephesians 6:16 AMP


Unless your FAITH is firm, I cannot make you stand firm. Isaiah 7:9b NLT


God bless,
Denissa

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Shaken

This year we have been shaken. We have been shaken by the hand of God, at times to our core. As I reflect back over 2014 I am reminded that we needed to be shaken, we needed to be removed from our cozy box, even our children, so that our TRUST in our Maker could grow.


I knew last December when God gave me the word TRUST that 2014 would not be an easy year, but never in my wildest, biggest imagination could I ever have dreamed that it would be what it was.


Before CHRISTmas break 2013 my son's first grade teacher mentioned that he was having a hard time reading. Soon after the first of the year, 2014, she told me she talked to the Dyslexia teacher and they thought he needed to be tested. Also after the break I went to work as a full time sub in the Pre-K class as the aide for the remainder of the semester. I have been a stay at home mom for 10 years, and although this does not seem that major, it hit me deep! I really do not know how all of you working moms do it!! Things got busy at school and the Dyslexia teacher was not able to start testing Justice until May and during this time we also found out she had taken a job at another school in the town we actually live in. We also lost a very dear family friend during May. Jonny Baby was a great man, he was not perfect but he was forgiven and is very loved. He was my five years old's (four at the time) best friend. There is still a void in all of our hearts that will never be filled until we meet again at those pearly gates. In June it was official our son is dyslexic. We had already been praying about moving our kids to a different school and when we found out about this we prayed even harder. In June God laid it on my husband's heart to resign from being the youth pastor at our church after five years. We had poured our hearts into that ministry and the kids, we lived in church housing, and within minutes it was all gone. We did not understand why God would put us there only to rip us away with nothing to show for it. In July my husband started having bouts of depression. In August after months of praying about changing schools we really felt God leading us to move all three kids. Our oldest daughter was starting 6th grade and she was not happy about leaving the school (and friends) she had attended since Pre-K. There were lots of nerves and tears on the first day of school this year. I could not wait for the kids to get home so I could find out how their first day was. My heart dropped when my oldest daughter got in the Yukon and said it was the worst day ever, especially after the other two loved their new schools! Every day at school got better for Justice and Hartly, but every day got worse for Grace. It was probably one of the hardest things I have ever had to do, sending my daughter to school every day knowing she was not happy and not being able to do anything to change it. One evening when we were talking about her day she asked me why she could not just go back to her old school. I told her this was not easy for me either, in life we need to grow and when we are in our comfy, cozy box we cannot grow so God shakes us out of our coziness. If He did not shake us up every once in a while we would never learn to TRUST in Him. We always have a choice to stay snug and warm or to get out into the unknown, both will be hard eventually, but one comes with a bigger blessing at the end. Boy was I preaching to the choir that night!! In September my husband changed jobs and went back to work for the family business. In October my husband and I began family coaching. It seemed after months of hurt and change we just could not get on the same page and we knew we needed help. It was one of the best things we could have ever done for ourselves, our marriage and our family. At the end of October we found a house to rent and were able to move out of our church provided housing. At this time we also felt God pulling us out of our church all together. I really wanted to stay until the end of the year (Cody said he felt we should leave sooner) but that is not what God had planned. I remember walking into service one Sunday morning at the end of November and for the first time in over 13 years of attending the same church, I felt as if I did not belong. This was the church that I had swept the floors of when it was first becoming a church. This was the same church each of my babies had been dedicated in, and one was baptized in. Our family had began and grown in this church, seeds had been planted in me, Cody and our kids in this church. Even though the people had changed over the years the church never had, it was my home and my comfort, well it had been until that morning and the moment my foot crossed the threshold of the door I knew it was no longer where my family belonged. In that moment I was shaken to the core. I do not remember what our Pastor preached on that morning because I spent every second of the service thinking and remembering all of the moments and the people that had crossed my path in that building. I left with tears in my eyes knowing we would not be back. The first Sunday of December we attended church with my husbands brother and his family. God spoke to us that morning through the message. The kids loved their kids church and youth also. We have since been attending each Sunday service. We do not know yet if this is where God wants us permanently but for this season He is filling us with His word and giving our hearts rest as we wait upon Him to direct us.


As I type this today we are finally feeling settled into our temporary home. We have overcome a lot over this past year. Our kids love their new schools, Grace is very involved and is thankful for the change, Justice has made tremendous progress with his reading and Hartly loves Kindergarten. There have been many times this year I have thought my TRUST has failed God miserably but no matter what He has loved me through it all. There have been many times I have thought I cannot wait for 2014 to pass but I know now that 2015 might not hold the same challenges but it will hold new ones, some may be easier than the ones we faced this year and some may be more difficult but regardless God will see us through it all as long as we have faith.


God Bless,
Denissa 

Monday, December 30, 2013

TRUST...2014

TRUST (trst) n.
1. Firm reliance on the integrity, ability, or character of a person or thing.
2. Custody; care.
3. Something committed into the care of another; charge.
4. a. The condition and resulting obligation of having confidence placed in one.
b. One in which confidence is placed.
5. Reliance on something in the future; hope.
TRUST v.
1. To have or place reliance; depend: Trust in the Lord. Trust to destiny.
2. To be confident; hope.
(definitions from www.thefreedictionary.com)
 Synonyms for TRUST: confidence, faith
 
According to www.answers.yahoo.com the KJV Bible says the word TRUST 181 times.
 
It was just a few days into the month of December that the thought of a new word or verse for the upcoming new year began to creep into my mind. There have been so many times this year that I have clung to Psalm 105:4, Search for the Lord and for his strength; continually seek him., that I was not ready to replace it with something new, the year still had several weeks left and I wanted to used every last day with my verse to the fullest; so immediately I pushed the thought out of my mind. This continued for a few days until I finally put my foot down with God and told Him I was not ready for a new word or verse so He just needed to hold off!!
 
On December 16, 2013 I was doing some CHRISTmas shopping, when a checkbook cover caught my eye. I had been looking for a new checkbook cover for some time now. As I picked it up I noticed it had a small silver plate on the front with a word engraved on it, my first thought is it says hope or faith just like most things. It said TRUST. I was so surprised that I almost dropped it! A feeling I cannot describe came over me and I knew instantly TRUST was my word for 2014, then Proverbs 3:5-6, TRUST in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths, pops into my mind, but my stubborn self once again said God I am not ready for a new word. (I bought the checkbook cover by the way!) :) The very next day my sister-in-law and I were walking through the mall. We turned a corner and I am staring straight at a sign that says TRUST in the Lord...Really God, did you not hear me!? From that point on it seemed like every where I turned, every song I heard, every verse I read, everything was about TRUST. So I gave in and I accepted my new word and verse for the coming year!
 
I just could not understand why God was giving me this word. There have been so many times that God has called me to step out of my comfort zone and I do (after lots of debating) but I always end up doing it! Why this word?! Honestly I was a little offended to think God thought I do not TRUST Him! As I thought about the word God began to reveal areas of my life that are lacking in TRUST, places where my faith is weak, places that I tend to keep hidden and buried, things that I do not like to deal with. All of these began to surface over the next few days and I realized I wanted to control and fix and bandage and hide and I could not do it. Things that I thought were okay, were not; things that I thought I had dealt with I had not; places I thought I trusted God I did not. I felt as if my world was spinning out of control and the only way to stop it was to grab onto this offensive little word and hold on with all my might!! So that is exactly what I did. I began to repeat Proverbs 3:5-6 over and over. I made a choice to say I TRUST you God with our bank account; I TRUST you with my husband; I TRUST you with my kids; I TRUST you with the election; I TRUST you with my hearts desires; I TRUST you when every thing within me is coming unraveled by fear, hurt and uncertainty; I TRUST you with every part of me, my life, my family, my future. I TRUST YOU.
 
Each time I choose to say I TRUST you God, the pounding in my heart is lessened, the turning in my stomach subsides, the worries in my head become less. Every time I open my word and spend time in God's presence my TRUST grows and every thing else shrinks. I am so guilty of missing what today holds because I am already planning tomorrow or next week or next year, but I have started to notice that maybe I do this because I do not TRUST God enough to just enjoy this moment. Every year when I get my "word of the year" I tend to think oh no what does this mean I am going to have to deal with this time, what hardships am I going to face that I need this word. These thoughts immediately began to resonate in my mind again this time. I let them fester for a few days, but as I sit here pouring my non-trusting self out to all of you I realize I do not need to look to the year in advance instead I need to TRUST God with what today holds until tomorrow arrives.
 
I do not know what tomorrow holds but I know who holds tomorrow... so I will TRUST God with today.
 
Happy New Year!!
 
God Bless,
Denissa