From My Heart

From My Heart

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Our Fairy Tale...

On this day in 1999, at 3 o'clock in the afternoon in the small Baptist church that I grew up in I promised my love and my life to Cody Churchwell. It has been thirteen years and I can honestly say I am more in love with him and respect him more today than thirteen years ago. It has not always been fun or easy but we both make a choice daily to love and respect each other, even on the days that it is not easy to do.

We met at the county stockshow in February 1997, a mutual friend introduced us. I remember seeing him earlier that day, before we were introduced, he walked right past me. Honestly, I was offended that he could walk right by me and not even notice me, I knew I looked good that day how dare he! So later when a friend, who was a boy, came up to me and said "Hey see that guy over there? He wants to meet you." I was ready to pay him back for ignoring me earlier, I agreed to let him introduce us but I was not very friendly. Cody spent the rest of the day trying to talk to me and I spent the rest of the day ignoring him every chance I got. My mom saw him trying to talk to me and asked who he was but I said just some boy. The next day at the stockshow the friend that introduced us told me Cody drove a corvette (this friend knew me to well), this made me think I could make my best friend jealous if she saw me riding around in a little red corvette, maybe he was worth a little piece of my time after all! So we exchanged numbers that day and met up that night with some friends. We saw each other a couple times during that week and one night as he was dropping me off at home in his dad's pickup, sitting in my parents driveway Cody asked me if I would be his girlfriend. I must say, he had charmed me and I happily agreed that I would. The next weekend was Valentine's day, it was our first real date, he took me to a nice restaurant, gave me flowers, sang to me and told me he loved me (yes on the first date), he says I said "thank you" but the memory of my response has slipped my mind! We were inseparable from that moment on, well for the next five months anyway and then he broke up with me and broke my heart into a million pieces!! As a 16 year old girl I was devastated!!! Well it wasn't too long before he was calling (in fact it was just a matter of days). For the next couple of years we were in love one day and hated each other the next, when we weren't dating each other we were still friends that told each other everything! On December 31, 1998 I was dating a different boy and we had a fight so I called Cody to talk and to wish him happy new year, we decided we missed being together and wanted to start the new year off right. I was a senior in high school by this time and Cody had been out of school for a couple years and was working for his dad. It was a matter of weeks before we were talking about our future and decided we wanted to get married in about a year. I wanted to have a year of college under my belt before we got married. We were engaged before I graduated from high school and the more we talked about being married the longer that year sounded and before we knew it a wedding date was set for November 6th of that same year! We decided why should we wait to get married when we knew we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together so what's the difference between a few months and a year?! It wasn't to long into the wedding planning that my dear, sweet daddy offered to pay for us to elope but we refused, after it was all said and done we both wished we had taken him up on his offer!! Finally the big day came, every thing was perfect! It was the best day of my life! I had in my mind that we were like a fairy tale and we were going to live happily ever after!!
Thirteen years later I can look back and say it has been a wild ride, we have created our own kind of fairy tale, nothing like you will ever see in a Disney movie or well any movie for that matter but it is ours!! There have been some really rough storms that we have withstood together and there have been times that we didn't want to stand together but we made a choice to do it anyway and we have always come out better, stronger and more in love. Before we got married no one ever told me how hard marriage is, they never told me it is a choice you make every day to love and respect each other, I was never told it is a full time job! We have messed up together and learned together and grown up together. We have had more good times than bad times, lots of laughter and many memories! We have lost many loved ones along the way. There have been times I haven't had the strength to carry on to the next day but Cody was the crutch that held me up. He has loved me when I have been unlovable, he has loved me when I didn't want to be loved and he has loved me when I didn't love him back. He is my best friend, my lover, he is the one that God created just for me for my whole life, he is who I will share my mansion with in heaven. Like I said it has been a wild ride and I hope and pray that it lasts for a hundred more years!!

Happy Anniversary Babe, I love you and respect you ALWAYS!!!

God bless,
Denissa

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

6 Years

I am reading Beth Moore's book So Long Insecurity and doing the workbook. I never really thought I was one who struggles very often with insecurity but let me tell you this book is showing me otherwise. I highly recommend reading this book!

My son's 6th birthday is this week and I am so happy and sad at the same time; happy that God has blessed our lives with another year of his sweet, loving presence but sad that he is growing up so fast!!!

As I think back over the past 6 years I can recall so much joy and laughter that Justice has brought into our family but I can also recall a season of fear and insecurity that God has so graciously brought me through.

In December 2008 I found out I was pregnant with our second baby, in that same month I lost that precious baby. At the end of January 2009 I had a very strong feeling that I was once again pregnant, against strong orders from my doctor to absolutely not get pregnant again for at least three months or I would face the same situation again. I was so terrified to even find out if I was pregnant or not that it took me weeks to even take a home pregnancy test and then another week after I finally did to call my doctor and tell him. For the next nine months I lived in fear of losing this baby too. At the time I did not even realize this fear that consumed my every thought. I remember when I was in labor I kept thinking I know everything will be okay once this baby is out of my body. The first words I remember the doctor saying, before he was even all the way born, was the cord was almost wrapped around his neck and the next words were...It's a BOY! (we did not know the sex of the baby before he was born!) As soon as I heard him say that about the cord another rush of fear set in. For the first year of his life I would not go into his room while he was sleeping, instead I would stand at the door trying to hear the faintest breath, cry or anything that would let me know he was still alive, my worst fear was that I would walk in his room and find him dead. Right after his first birthday, in October, he got sick for about 3 days and we thought it was just a tummy bug that he couldn't kick. No one else in the house ever got sick. Then two weeks later he got it again so I called his pediatrician and she said it's just a bug he'll be okay. Two weeks later again he got sick, I took him to the chiropractor this time and once again it's just a tummy bug. This went on until January. I remember opening my email one morning and reading the Air1 verse of the day, it was Psalm 62:8 Trust in Him at all times you people, pour out your hearts to Him, for God is your refuge. That verse hit me like a ton of bricks! I realized I was not trusting in God to take care of the son that HE had given us. I sat in the shower that morning and cried out to God, I poured my heart out to him like never before, I put my very sick baby at the foot of His cross and asked Him to lead me to some one that would help him. I called our family doctor that day, who I had not turned to yet, we got in to see him the next day. I was so relieved and so thankful, I knew God was taking care of it and I did not have to or need to. We ended up going from our family doctors office straight to the hospital for about 4 days and from there to a pediatric GI specialist. He ran many tests and told us the worst case scenario and best case scenario and it turned out we got the best case scenario and with a few diet changes our sweet Justice was on his way to being healthy again.

Now as we are about to celebrate his 6th birthday he is healthy as can be. He has dreams of being a bull rider some day, he loves hunting with his dad, he has a huge heart for others and most importantly he LOVES God with every inch of his being!!!

Reading this book and looking back I now realize it was my insecurity that kept me from trusting God. I was so afraid that something would happen to Justice that I could not control. It's not about what we can or cannot control, it's about letting God have complete control and trusting Him to do what He promises. God wants us to want Him. He wants all of us, every hurt, every fear, every shame, every insecurity and every joyful moment too! God wants you to pour your heart out to Him so that He can mend it and make it beautiful!!

Never again will I let fear consume my life, even if my son turns out to be a famous bull rider someday, I will trust God to protect him and lead him where He wants him to go!!

God bless,
Denissa


Happy birthday to my tenderhearted, mutton bustin, 6 year old little cowboy!!! I am so thankful that God gave us you!!!

Monday, October 1, 2012

God is Faithful...All the Time!

I did not realize it has been almost 2 months since I have blogged! Oh how time flies!! The past two months have been a blur of busyness, excitement, nervousness, joy and watching God perform miracles in our lives!! We have been raising money for our Zambia trip and that means countless fundraisers on top of our everyday lives with three kids, spending time with our extended family and throw in our youth kids activities also. It has been a whirlwind of two months but we have enjoyed every busy second of it and would not trade it for any thing!!!

When we were scheduling some fundraisers for the Zambia trip I really felt the Holy Spirit saying to me not to take any money from the fundraisers for my husband and I, for us to raise our own funds to go. So I told the lady that is kind of like our mission trip organizer that even though we would be at every fundraiser Cody and I would not take any money from the fundraisers for our trip, that we would raise our own funds. I did this without my husband being present and without talking to him about it first. So when I broke the news to him lets just say he was more than a little upset!! I said to him if we step out in faith God will be faithful!

Less than 24 hours after the discussion with my husband we received an email telling us that his trip would be paid for in full and that my trip and our daughters trip would be $1000 less than what it was originally! We were speechless and amazed! God was already showing us his faithfulness!!

I make homemade cinnamon rolls for my family, it is one of my sons very favorite foods that I make. I have made them for family and friends and they are always a huge hit any time I take them somewhere. I made some for a youth fundraiser a while back and it did really well. So I told my husband I can sell cinnamon rolls to raise money for my trip. I prayed about it and I asked God to let me sell 70 pans of rolls a month. So I set some dates on the calendar starting in September going through December that I would take orders for five days and then deliver the rolls. The week in September came for me to start taking orders, on the first day, Monday, I was up to 50 pans ordered! I once again was amazed! By the second day I had reached my goal, so in my mind I am thinking okay I reached my 70 pans thank you Lord! I am done! But God had bigger goals for me and my rolls than I could ever imagine!! At the end of the first week, Friday, I had 84 pans of rolls ordered, PRAISE GOD!!! My mother-in-love and sister-in-love came and helped me make 10 batches of cinnamon rolls. I still had two batches to make the following week, by Wednesday I was up to 4 batches! I ended up making and selling 105 pans of cinnamon rolls in less than two weeks time!!! All glory to God!!!

I was hoping and praying that I could just sell 70 pans and I even doubted that I could sell that many! God went above and beyond what my mind could ever imagine! I am so guilty of putting restrictions and limitations on God and what He can do. God has shown me there is nothing that He cannot do, that when we ask for something that we think is too big He will go even bigger. My husband was so upset with me because I said we would raise our own funds, he said to me that we do not have that kind of money, there is no way that we can raise that kind of money on our own. He was right we cannot do it on our own but God can do it for us! If there is something God has laid on your heart to do and you are doubting yourself then let me encourage you to let God take control, step out on faith and let God do the rest. I promise you He will not let you down, He will not let you fail and He will take whatever it is and go way beyond what you ever thought it could be!! Our eyes only see what is in front of us at the moment but His eyes see all the way to the finish line. Step out in faith and GOD WILL BE FAITHFUL!!!

God bless,
Denissa

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A New Season of Change

Two years ago my husband, Cody, was asked if he would start helping teach our youth on Wednesday nights and teach Sunday School on Sunday mornings. Our youth leaders at the time were moving and since he has always volunteered with the youth we agreed that he would help until the church found a new youth leader. After a few months of teaching our church trustees asked Cody if he would be the part time youth leader until they could find a full time youth leader. Once again we agreed to do this. At the time our church was going through some growing pains and we thought once we got through the storm every thing would go back to normal. I was head over the nursery department at the time also and I was very content with my job but God laid it on my heart to quit the nursery completely. He was calling me to stand beside my husband in his new position and completely devote myself to the youth. This was not what I wanted but after throwing a tantrum like a 2 year old I finally agreed to be obedient to what God had called us to as a couple. Little did I know or even expect what all God had in mind when I signed over my position as Nursery Director...

In July of this year we had a meeting with our Board of Trustees and our new Pastor and they voted to make Cody the full time youth leader. Let me stop right here and clarify, he still has his full time job as a plumber. Along with making him full time youth leader they also voted to let us move into the apartment that is located in our church's youth center (and let me add, do not let the word apartment fool you there is plenty of room for our family of 5!) .

Okay time for another pause... We were approached over a year ago by several members of the church, at random times, and asked if we would ever consider moving into the apartment. At first our response was "Well we haven't thought about it" (when we were really thinking this is just a temporary position). One time after we answered the question we were then asked if we had prayed about it. "Um No!" Then we started having thoughts like should we be praying about it, if this is a temporary position why would we pray about it, okay maybe we should pray and ask God what He wants. And so began the prayers! We prayed for over a year about God's direction for our lives, our family, our youth department and our church. We laid our hopes and desires out before each other and before God. It wasn't very long before our hopes and desires began to change right before our eyes. Our dreams began to turn into what does God want for our lives and less of what we wanted. I started to tell God "I only want what you want, what ever that may be and where ever that may take us." A peace began to come over me each time I would think about where God was taking our family. We knew without a doubt it was God's will for us to sell our house and move, we just didn't know when but we knew that He knew and that gave us hope and peace!

When we met with the trustees about moving we laid it all on the line. We told them what we think is God's desire for our family and the youth. They asked us what our kids thought about moving and how it would affect them. Our youth center is not located in what is considered the good part of town, so that was also a concern. We did not have all the answers then and we don't have them all even now but we know that God does. We also learned a long time ago that God is our provider and our protector and nothing will happen that He cannot and will not carry us out of.

It has been about 3 weeks since we moved into the apartment. I have felt like my emotions have been on a roller coaster, crying one minute and happy the next. We lived in our house for 10 out of our 13 years of marriage, we brought all 3 of our babies home from the hospital to that house, we have made many precious memories and some not so good ones in that house and let me tell you it was hard to leave them behind. I never knew how attached I could become to a house until I had to leave that one!! We are excited to be able to be more available for our youth, we love them deeply and we are so blessed that God has opened this door for us to be here for them 24/7!!

God promised me in January that 2012 would be a year of change and He has been faithful to that promise!! When I first blogged about my word for the year I was terrified what it would entail but I can honestly say CHANGE IS GOOD!!! Change has brought me more joy than I ever thought possible!!

We opened our hearts to God and He has opened doors we never imagined walking up to much less through. I know God is not done with this work He has started in our lives and in our hearts and we cannot wait to see what else is waiting for us in this new season of change. We are so humbled, amazed and thankful that we have been blessed by this oppurtunity!!!

God bless,
Denissa

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Oklahoma

My husband, Cody, and I recently took our youth group on a week long mission trip in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. I must say I am a Texas girl, born and raised, but I LOVE that area of Oklahoma!! I even caught myself thinking, God if you decided this is where you want Cody and me then I am ready and willing! We have been home for almost 2 weeks and I still miss the trees, hills and water.

 (Let me pause for a minute and remind you of my "word for the year"...CHANGE and let me also remind you I like to plan things out!)

When Cody and I started looking at youth mission trips we had originally wanted to go to one that was in Texas, the same week as the Oklahoma trip. We scheduled it and put down our deposit then found out that camp was cancelled for that week and we needed to pick another camp. We decided to change the week we wanted to go but that didn't work with Cody's full time job schedule so we left the week the same. We picked this particular camp in Tahlequah because we thought we would be working at an orphanage and that sounded like fun. God's hand was definetly in this trip the whole time!! When we arrived at the camp we found out we were actually going to be working in a different town, Marble Falls, 45 minutes away from our camp, and for a single older man who needed help doing things around his house that he was not able to do himself. Gerald is a full blood Cherokee Indian and in his sixty's, he has health problems and is not able to drive. He travels around and sings Gospel music, he also has Gospel concerts at his house on an outdoor stage. The house he lives in is the home he and his 11 siblings were raised in, it is small and old. Needless to say, I learned a few things from this old Cherokee, including a few Cherokee words :)!! I do not have enough time or space to put everything on here but I will say I realize that God has His hand in every little detail of our lives, including the things that we do not even think about.

We were at Gerald's house to serve him and to do things in and around the house that he could not do himself. If the projects cost money then it was paid for by the mission organization, so nothing came out of the homeowners pocket. The mission runs on a budget so they ask the homeowners what they would like to have done and then the organization deicides if the funds are available for the project, all of this is done before the youth groups arrive. When we got to Gerald's house we found out that he had requested a new toilet but they couldn't provide that since they didn't have a plumber to install it, until God intervened. Remember I said earlier we had not planned on coming to this camp and did not want to come this week but...  Besides being the youth leader my husband has a full time job as plumber, so when we heard Gerald needed a new toilet we told them Cody could install the toilet. Even though the toilet was not in the original budget there was enough left over funds to be able to get one! God is SO good!!!

You may be reading this thinking I am nuts to get so excited over some old guy getting a new toilet but if you look at the bigger picture God had it planned the whole time, before we did, that we were meant to come to this camp and work at this partcular house. My point is that even when we don't know every little detail or understand every bump in the road God does and it doesn't matter how small or how big we think it is, it's all huge to God!!! I am learning that my plans, or often times lack of, don't matter because God has it all planned out and it is going to go His way regardless of how much I think I have it planned perfectly.

I am being transformed and this trip was just another stepping stone along this incredible journey of life! A piece of my heart was left behind in Tahlequah, Oklahoma and maybe someday God will grant me the priveledge of returning to get it but if not that is okay also, I only want what He wants!!

God bless,
Denissa


Friday, June 22, 2012

When We Hurt

A few weeks ago my 5year old son had his tonsils and adnoids out and tubes put in his ears. The doctors told us it was a simple procedure and he would stay a few hours after, eat a popcicle and go home. This was our first time going through any kind of surgery with any of our kids, we have had nephews go through the same surgeries and they did ok so I thought there really wasn't much to worry about.

The doctor came out after about 30 minutes and told us that the surgery went well and he was in recovery and we would get to see him in a little bit. Soon after we were called back to his room where he was sleeping. It wasn't long before he woke up and started throwing up, he couldn't keep anything down and all he wanted to do was sleep. What was supposed to be a six hour stay turned into a 14 hour stay. When we finally got home we thought he was over the hump and on the mend but then his fever spiked. We called the Doctor and he suggested we keep a close eye on him for the time being. The next morning he got up and felt a little better but then after lunch he started throwing up again, once again he couldn't keep anything down, not even his nausea and pain meds. I called the Doctor again and this time he said to bring him to the ER and he would have him admited. We ended up spending the night in the hospital with my son on an IV. He was so weak when the nurses stuck him for the IV he didn't even move. Before we took him back to the hospital he told his grandpa that he wanted to go to the hospital, that's how bad he felt!!

As a mother I wanted to take the pain from my son and carry it for him, watching him go through such pain and not being able to do anything was very hard. I found myself thinking many times, God I would rather have to go through this myself than stand here watching him go through it and not be able to fix it or make him feel better. I shed tears of hurt for him but that didn't ease his pain any!! After this thought went through my head a few times I heard God whispering to me, "I know how you feel, Beloved!" I began to realize that as much as I was hurting for my son and wished that I could do something, anything for him, God was hurting even more for his (my) son and wanted to do more for him. That's what God does...He hurts when we hurt, He weeps when we weep and the only thing He can do is hold us in His arms until the pain subsides.

As I laid in the hospital bed with my arms wrapped around my son, whispering prayers over him I got a vision in my mind of God sitting in the same hospital bed with us, with His arms wrapped around my son and me, whispering love, peace and healing over us.

So let me say to you when you are going through hurts and hardships remember that God is there with His loving, protective arms wrapped around you, speaking peace, strength and healing into your heart. He will never leave you as long as you call on Him.

He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Psalm 91:4

God bless,
Denissa

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Our Life, Our Choices

My husband and I choose to live a very simple life. In our minds we do not have a lot of worldly, material things our vehicles are not brand new and our house is very average, our kids do not have all of the latest and greatest toys, our clothes are not name brand and we are not wealthy according to the world's standards but we are happy and consider ourselves extremely blessed; we do not go to bed hungry at night and there are not holes in the floor of our house, our vehicles are nice and they get us from here to there, our kids have more toys than I would like for them to have, our closets are full of clothes and our bills always get paid. We pray and we laugh and we love unconditionally and we forgive, we give what we can when we can and sometimes even when we can't we still give.

Some people look at the way we choose to live and question it. Some people wonder why I want to be a stay at home mom, why don't I go get a job and help provide for my family, why don't we want what everyone else has, why don't we want more stuff. 1 John 2:15-17 (NLT) says

Do Not Love This World

15 Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. 16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. 17 And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.

This is how my husband and I have chosen to live out our lives and to raise our children in hopes that they will also live in this way. We did not always choose this life style. We got married very young and did not have our first child for many years so we liked to go and buy and spend but then we were blessed with our first born and our lives changed (we think for the better).

We became unhappy with our lifestyle and I was not happy being a working mom and we spent many months in prayer, asking God what He wanted for our new family, if it was His will for us to continue living this life and me to continue being a working mom or not. When our daughter was 18 months old my husband and I agreed, together, that we were not walking the path that God wanted us to be on so I gave my two weeks notice at work. Many of our friends and even some family questioned and ridiculed our decision but immediately we both felt a sense of peace and of fear all at once. We stepped out on a cloud of faith and the only safety net we had was the hands of God. That was almost 8 years ago, we have added two more kids and zero regrets and God has yet to leave us or forsake us. We have had our "Peter" moments, when we have taken our eyes off of Jesus and yes, we did begin to sink but as soon as we whispered His sweet name, "Jesus", He swept us up and dried us off and said "Try again my beloveds" and that's exactly what we have done and done and done again and will continue to do until the day He carries us to our forever home. 

There are still times and season's that others question our choices. I will admit, it makes me very, very angry and there are some that it is very hurtful coming from, especially when it happens on a daily basis. We are not perfect, we do not live as if we are and we will not ever claim to be, we do not always make wise choices with our money or our kids or our marriage but I guarantee you that we PRAY, PRAY, PRAY before we make any kind of decision especially ones that are life changing!! We have come to a point in our individual lives, our marriage and our family that we are not here to please anyone on this earth, if it is not something that we know without a shadow of a doubt that it is not in the will of God then we are not going to do it. If we make a choice and our family, friends or anyone else doesn't like it then I'm sorry but unless your name is GOD we are not here to please you. We do not need or want your opinion so please do not voice it to one of us or any one else and honestly it's really not your business anyway!!!

God is our focus and our desire. All we want for ourselves, our kids and even our family and friends is to lay down your own needs, wants and desires at the foot of the cross and let God do the rest. I promise you will be amazed and forever changed when you do this on a daily basis. And I will also guarantee if you do it whole-heartedly God will not leave you or forsake you either!!

I want to leave you with a promise from God,  Take delight (aligning with the Lord's way in order to enjoy Him) in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the LordTrust him, and he will help you. He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun. Be still in the presence of the Lordand wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes. Psalm 37:4-7 NLT

God bless,
Denissa

***Please do not misunderstand my words, if God has blessed you with a lifestyle to be able to have a lot of stuff then that is great and I am genuinely happy for you but I want everyone to understand that we do not need to live that way just because someone else does or says that we should!***

Friday, May 11, 2012

A Childlike Faith

This morning my 5 year old son got up, was almost ready to go to school and he started throwing up. So back to bed he went. Every morning before our kids leave for school we circle up, hold hands and say a prayer to start our day, so this morning we prayed in his room so that he could still be included and we also said a prayer asking for him to feel better.

After my husband and daughter left I passed by my sons room and could hear him talking so I paused to see if he was calling me but before I could ask him what he needed I realized it wasn't me he was calling on, it was God! He was not asking God to make himself feel better but he was asking God to keep his best friend/cousin from getting sick because they were together yesterday at school. His prayer continued by praying that his aunt and uncle and other cousin would not get sick either because they were all around each other. As tears began to well up in my eyes (I must stop for a minute and say I had tears because it was one of those parent moments when you realize that maybe, just maybe you really are doing some small thing right!!) I could hear God whispering I want your faith to be more like his. At that moment time seemed to pause and it became less of a proud mommy moment and more of a humbling and repent moment. In that instance I was reminded of the verse in Matthew chapter 18 that says, And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." (verses 3 & 4, NIV). Anytime one of the kids is sick, no matter what kind of sickness, my first thoughts are I hope nobody else gets it because we have plans and they will miss school and pretty much anything else that is going to inconvenience my schedule but when my son is sick his first thought is to pray, not for himself to get well but for others that he was around before he was even sick. I think we all could take a page out of his book and apply it to our own, I know I sure could!!

My children and my husband are some of the greatest blessings I will ever receive from the Lord!! Our kids make me more aware of my actions and reactions and they make me want to be better so that they will be better than I was or am. Many times as a parent I think that I am the teacher and my children are the students but the older they get I have to wonder if I am the student as God is using them to show me the areas of my life that need to be changed. I am so thankful for that!!!

God bless,
Denissa

P.S. As I am about to publish this my son is up, eating, drinking and talking non-stop!!! Isn't God just too good!!! I praise you, Father!!! :]

Friday, April 6, 2012

Isaiah 53

When I was reading through the book of Isaiah I got to chapter 53 and I had to stop and read it again then I looked it up in The Message translation and it was even more amazing. This was several weeks ago that I came across it but today, on Good Friday, as Easter is approaching I find myself once again turning to this passage. When the book of Isaiah was written Jesus Christ had not been sent down to earth but His coming birth and His death are foretold in this book. I want to share this chapter with you today as a reminder of what this weekend is ultimately about. Yes our families get together and celebrate and the kids have an Easter egg hunt but greater than all that is the fact that Jesus was crucified and rose again all for us, no other reason, just for you and me and just because God loves us that much!!! I don't know about you but that gives me chills!!!

Thank you Father God for sending your son, Jesus, to die blamelessly for my sins! Thank you for the love and grace and mercy you show me on a daily basis when I am so unfaithful to you but yet you still hand it to me openly and freely as soon as I ask for it! I thank you and I praise you for your son Jesus!!!

Isaiah 53 The Message

Who believes what we've heard and seen? Who would have thought God's saving power would look like this?
The servant grew up before God—a scrawny seedling,
   a scrubby plant in a parched field.
There was nothing attractive about him,
   nothing to cause us to take a second look.
He was looked down on and passed over,
   a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand.
One look at him and people turned away.
   We looked down on him, thought he was scum.
But the fact is, it was our pains he carried—
   our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us.
We thought he brought it on himself,
   that God was punishing him for his own failures.
But it was our sins that did that to him,
   that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins!
He took the punishment, and that made us whole.
   Through his bruises we get healed.
We're all like sheep who've wandered off and gotten lost.
   We've all done our own thing, gone our own way.
And God has piled all our sins, everything we've done wrong,
   on him, on him.
He was beaten, he was tortured,
   but he didn't say a word.
Like a lamb taken to be slaughtered
   and like a sheep being sheared,
   he took it all in silence.
Justice miscarried, and he was led off—
   and did anyone really know what was happening?
He died without a thought for his own welfare,
   beaten bloody for the sins of my people.
They buried him with the wicked,
   threw him in a grave with a rich man,
Even though he'd never hurt a soul
   or said one word that wasn't true.
Still, it's what God had in mind all along,
   to crush him with pain.
The plan was that he give himself as an offering for sin
   so that he'd see life come from it—life, life, and more life.
   And God's plan will deeply prosper through him.
Out of that terrible travail of soul,
   he'll see that it's worth it and be glad he did it.
Through what he experienced, my righteous one, my servant,
   will make many "righteous ones,"
   as he himself carries the burden of their sins.
Therefore I'll reward him extravagantly—
   the best of everything, the highest honors—
Because he looked death in the face and didn't flinch,
   because he embraced the company of the lowest.
He took on his own shoulders the sin of the many,
   he took up the cause of all the black sheep.


Remember the real reason we celebrate this weekend, take a moment, just a fraction of your time, and just say thank you, nothing else, just, thank you Jesus.

God bless,
Denissa

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Audience of 1

Everyone is busy! Everyone has someone or something pulling them one way or the other! We cannot do everything or be everywhere!

This is a hard concept for many of us to understand, myself included. I want to do everything and be everywhere but it is absolutely not possible to do! In my perfect world I am always on time, I never have to say no, my house is always spotless and my laundry is always washed, folded, put up and never piled up!!! My world is not perfect, in fact it is FAR from it!! I have a tendency to let the things on my to-do list get the best of me, I start to feel guilty because my laundry isn't done or I missed someones birthday or, or, or...
I get caught up in all the busyness and I forget about God! He is the one person or thing that isn't pulling me in all different directions, yes He is there watching, protecting and guiding but He is also waiting, waiting on me to recognize His presence in all of the busyness, and ironically He is the only one that matters in all of it!!! He is the one that even when I forget about Him He doesn't leave me or hold a grudge against me. He is the one that really loves me without limitations. He is our audience of 1 and He is the only one we need to make happy!!!

In this play, that we call life, God is the director and we are His actors, we are just a spit in the wind when it comes down to it. We have a short time to recognize and obey our creator. I was told by a wise teacher in high school "There are no small parts, just small actors". Isn't that how our lives are on this stage, Earth? God created us with the plan that we would all worship Him and glorify Him in our daily roles, we don't always live up to that part though! I fail miserably, daily!! But God doesn't care, He still helps me up, holds me in the palm of His hand and loving says "It's ok my child, try again!" When I think about God doing that I also think who in my life says that to me. A few characters come to mind but then I think if I hurt them over and over and over on a daily basis, like I do to God, would they continue to love and forgive me? I don't think they would, they may say they do but deep down in the honest places of our souls that hurt lingers and probably will eventually find a pathway back up into our minds, maybe the next time we are hurt by them. God isn't that way though, He deeply loves us and deeply forgives us and there is no pathway to be found after we earnestly seek that love and forgiveness.

So if God can love us and forgive us in such an inconceivable way then why are we not more concerned about performing better for Him and less for the people and things around us when they will NEVER be able to do the unimaginable in our lives the way God can and will?! Why do we care about the audience of many when we only need to worry about the audience of THE ONE?!

I listen to the music on my iTunes a lot, I put it on shuffle and it plays random songs but the past couple of weeks there is one song that has been playing more than the others, in fact many times it is the first song that plays when I start it. It's called Do Everything by Steven Curtis Chapman, I do not think this is a coincidence at all that this songs plays often, I think God is reminding that He is my audience of 1 and He is the only one I need to please. If I please Him above all else the other stuff will fall into place!!!

I want to share the song with you to remind you also!

God bless,
Denissa

Thursday, March 15, 2012

"Never Change"

I ran into an old friend from school this past weekend. We talked briefly and then went on our way. This was someone that I spent lots of time with during my Jr. High and High school years. We cheered together, played basketball together, went to track meets together, passed notes in class and laughed together, a lot, I looked up to her during school and I always thought that she had her life in order. After we talked for a few minutes and then parted ways a thought popped into my head...remember when you would get the new yearbooks in and everyone would pass them around to let everyone sign it, almost everyone ended their wishes with "stay cool" or "never change". This memory got me to thinking...

I started to think back to when I was in school and the kind of person I was and then I started thinking about my friends writing that to each other. Was it something we just wrote because it sounded good or was it that we really thought that person was so great that they really didn't need to change??? I think I wrote it to some people because I thought they really were that great but on the other hand maybe to someone else I just said it to say it.

I was fortunate enough to grow up in a very small school where everyone knew everyone, literally, and my kids now go to that same school with many of the same teachers that were there when I was there and some of the kids in their classes have parents that I went to school with. I consider this a huge blessing in many ways but many times it also is hard because I see the people that knew me when I was younger and honestly I was not always a nice kid growing up.  I am guilty of letting the past come back and haunt me along with the shame and guilt and then I want to avoid them and then it comes off to some like I am still not a nice person. I am so thankful that God has taken me and changed me and shaped me into so much more than what I used to be. This is one time I will say CHANGE IS GOOD!!!

I have been wondering this week what if I "stayed cool" or "never changed" as so many put in my yearbook, year after year?! I have caught myself wandering back into my past and coming across those life changing points, some good and others not so good, some hard times and some even harder and some really great, really happy moments, they all play a part in who I have become. There have been stumbling blocks in my life and during those moments I questioned God as to why I have to be the one to go through this but when I look back now I see those stumbling blocks as more of changing blocks and yes I still think it was hard to get past it but since I made it to the other side and I can step back and see the whole map, I see that it was so that I could be one step closer to God 's finished product. I have to say if I was still the person I was in school, if I had not been through what I've been through then I do not believe I would have the relationship with God that I cherish today. I have learned because of change that I need God more and more each second of every day.

I am thankful for each person I have ever had in my life, good and bad, they have all played a role in my life story and also because they remind me of who I was, who I am and how far I have come. Even though some people still might not like me because of things I did or said when I was young and dumb that's ok, God loved me then and He loves me now, I am forgiven. He is still changing me and molding me into something beautiful and thankfully that will continue until the day that I will kneel at His feet as He sits on His throne in heaven!!

God bless,
Denissa

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Stepping Into Change

For the past seven weeks I have been doing Beth Moore's Bible Study about the book of James. I have done several Bible studies in the past and each of them opened my eyes to something new but this time not only were my eyes opened wide but my whole world was shaken and laid broken around me. I feel as if I have been made new again!! I do not like to sugar coat things when I am talking to others and I also do not like things sugar coated when they are spoken to me. Well James was not one to sugar coat by any means (my kind of guy) and often times I found myself looking down at my toes to make sure they were still there!! I even wondered at one point in the lessons if God had told Beth about me!? I'm telling y'all this Bible study, for me, was life changing!!!

A few things that really spoke to me were CHALLENGE = CHANGE, Satan wants my faith and Keep looking for 1 small rain cloud because the rains will come!!!

I am challenged every morning when my feet hit the floor. My challenges may not be as big as your challenges but we all have them and we can either give up or face them head on. It may seem easier to give up at some moment in time but really in the end it probably makes life harder. I love a good challenge and I LOVE to win!!! But change is not as easy for me to accept sometimes. God requires us to change so that we can become what He designed us to be. I want to be what God wants me to be, even it that does mean change on my part!!!

"Satan wants my faith." Think about this for a minute, maybe even say it again out loud. This is powerful and true!! Just to think that Satan wants any part of me makes me realize that he wants it for a reason. If it wasn't going to injure his pride in someway or exalt God in some way then Satan would not give it a second thought but if he wants it, it must be something worth having, something GRAND, something that I need to hold on to!! I pray that I remember this next time I am going through a challenge so that I do not just throw the towel in and you do the same!!

"Keep looking for 1 small rain cloud because the rains will come!" This applies to our land and our life. Do not give up, keep on keeping on because I know that I know that I know that God will send the rain, whether it be healing rain on your heart, soul and spirit or thirsting rain on our parched land. God is a faithful God and He loves us and wants what is the ultimate best for our lives. He never forgets about you and He will never stop loving you! It makes my ears burn and my heart ache when I hear people say "God is punishing me", REALLY because you must not serve the same God I serve!! My God is a loving, gentle God and yes we will have hardships and droughts but it is not because God is angry with you! It is because God wants us to want Him, He wants a real relationship with each of us and He wants to build us up and make us strong so that we can speak of His goodness to others. He wants to see good changes in all of us. There have been areas of my life recently where I am between the rains but I am holding on to God's mighty promise that He will send us an amazing rain, in fact, I think I can see some rain clouds rolling in!

There were many more things that Beth Moore said during the past seven weeks that chipped away at my outer shell and caused some cracks, actually the first session of the study caused a lot of cracks and each week it continued until huge chunks were plummeting to the ground around me! Remember in one of my past blogs my word for this year...CHANGE...well after the past seven weeks I can say that I have taken some major steps in that direction.

And just in case Beth Moore ever does stumble across this blog post... Thank you my dear, sweet friend for your obedience to God in writing exactly what I needed to hear during this season of my life. You truly are a God-send and you will forever hold a special place in my heart!!

God bless,
Denissa

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Memories of My Grandmother

Today marks the seven year anniversary of the day my grandmother went to meet Jesus. She was known as Mom to all of us, and she and my grandfather, Pa, left behind a beautiful legacy.

On February 13, 2005 I got a call from my grandfather. He had taken my grandmother to the hospital and said that we all needed to come quickly. I called my parents and we all went. When we got there the doctors told us that her cancer was back and she might live 3 days but they really didn't expect her to make it through the night. For the next nine days I spent every day getting up early and taking my mom to the hospital and coming home late at night. During these nine days I learned some things that are very precious to me now.

At some point during those nine days my grandfather told me that they would have been married for 55 years in just a few more months. I watched him love on my grandmother's almost lifeless body and realized that even after 55 years of life together and being in their 70's it was still possible to be deeply in love with each other. My grandfather said to me a few weeks before he passed that he missed and loved Mom so much still, that was after she had been gone for six years.

When I was pregnant with Grace, we made the decision not to find out what we were having. I wanted a boy so badly and convinced myself that was what we were having (boy was I surprised!). Before I had her my grandmother gave me a gift one day, it was a box full of baby quilts that she had made. They were ALL pink except one. I laughed and told her I hated that I wouldn't get to use any of them except the red, yellow and blue one. She smiled and giggled also!! This is one of my favorite memories of her! :) She loved Grace!! Anytime we were with them no one else got to hold Grace and Grace was perfectly content to sit in her lap, even when she was able to run around and play she still stayed right there with Mom.

When I was a freshman in High School my grandmother was diagnosed with bone cancer. The doctors said she might live for 3 to 6 months. I remember praying, asking God to just let her live long enough to meet my children. Her cancer went into remission and she lived for nine more years. Grace turned two a month before she went into the hospital for the last time. During the last nine days of her life God reminded me of my prayer and even though she didn't meet JC and Hartly God did answer my prayer. Grace still remembers Mom and still sleeps with a stuffed pig that Mom gave her. The day before she passed we got approval from the nurses to bring Grace in to see Mom, even though she was unconscious, I felt the need for Grace to say goodbye to her. When we brought Grace into the room Mom opened her eyes, looked at Grace, smiled and shut her eyes for the last time.

As a child and even as a teenager I would go and spend many weekends and some weeks during the summer with my grandparents. I still have many fond memories of going to their house and  spending Christmas together. Every Christmas Mom would buy herself a gift, wrap it and put it under the tree. It was always the kids job to pass out the presents and I still remember laughing when I would get the present that said To: Mom, From: Mom. I do not remember a Christmas without one of these presents! Since I have my own kids now I, too, buy myself a gift every year, wrap it and address it To: Mom, From: Mom and stick it under our tree!!

I am thankful for the memories that I have of my grandparents but more importantly I am thankful for the legacy of love, kindness, unselfishness, and faith in God that they both passed down to me and that I will, in return, pass down to my own kids and grand kids. I know that they are in heaven singing with a choir of angels and I look forward to the day when I will see them once again!!

Mom and Grace, December 2003


Pa and Mom
This is one of my favorite pictures of them together!!
 God bless,
Denissa

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Blessings

I must say that I do not like to live in this region when the dirt blows!!!  I have said many times if I was on the beach or in a beach house the wind could blow all day long every day while I sit and watch the waves crashing into the shore but then I have to wonder if I did live in that environment would I wish to live somewhere else?!  Most likely I would still complain about the wind or something or someone else.  That's just how we are, right?

I have been wondering the last few days if there is more to life than I wish and I want.  God did not intend for us to be unsatisfied with the blessings He gives us.  Umm, I think I just called the wind a blessing!?  But maybe in some God-given way it is.  Maybe He is preparing the parched ground for something that we do not know about and the only way to do that is to make the wind blow at 60+ mph so that it can receive what He gives.  I believe we go through circumstances so that we will come out on the other side stronger and better equipped for our future.  I believe God wants what is best for us and there are times He has to clean out our closets in order to show us the treasures that are hidden inside ourselves.  I believe that God calls us not to be comfortable with life but to be uncomfortable so that we will know that need for Him.  I also believe that He wants us to be satisfied where ever we are and with what ever we have.  I am always saying when this happens or what if this or that, I do not believe that is where God wants my thoughts to be!   God wants my thoughts to be here and now, in the present, focused wholly on Him and the many, many, many blessings He has bestowed on me!

I think we as humans are so guilty of getting caught up in the things of the world and we forget the things of the Kingdom.  Man oh man I am SO guilty of this!!  I let my anger and frustrations get the best of me too often.  I forget that God loves and forgives me so that I will love and forgive others.  Who exactly do I think I am to look at someone and judge them, whether it be because they used foul language or they have on dirty clothes or their hair is fixed crazy or they do things different than me.  We went to the Rock and Worship Roadshow this past weekend and there were some teenagers sitting in the row in front of us, they began to make fun of someone, that was a few rows down, that was fully and completely worshipping God in their own way.  These kids went so far as to pull out their phone and video this man's worship to the Lord.  This act completely broke me!!!  I have begun to question myself, wondering how many times has that been me!  I cannot remember any exact times when I have pulled out my phone and snapped a pic or video but maybe I have posted gripes on facebook or twitter or even grumbled under my breath or went home and told my husband or another friend about an incident whether it be griping or making fun, I know there have been far too many, and I saw the need to repent of my awful judgements.  It makes me question why we, as human beings, feel the need to put others down, and not only do we feel the need but often times we get satisfaction from doing it!  Is it because I am not satisfied with something in my own life?  Is it because I am feeling low about myself that I feel the need to put someone else down in order to make me feel better?  Is it because I am feeling superior to someone else and I need to feed my own ego?  Why can we not acknowledge the immense blessings that our gracious, heavenly Father has bestowed upon us and be content with just that?  That is what I want to strive for in my life.  I pray that God will make me aware of my blessings and also content with them, and make the worldly things obsolete, that I will see good in each and every person and situation, no matter what kind of mood I am in!!  I am far from this but it is an obtainable goal through Christ Jesus, my Lord and Savior!!!  (And thankfully, I get a fresh start each time I fail!! ;))

I pray you recognize more of your blessings today and less of the worldly speed bumps and that you are content with what God blesses you with!!!

God Bless,
Denissa

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

February 12, 1999

On Friday, February 12, 1999 my life was changed forever.

I was a senior in High School. That night, like most Friday nights, I was with Cody. It was almost time for my curfew so I started home. We lived about 10 miles out in the country. I was almost out of town when I came upon a one car wreck. It had just happened, maybe a couple minutes before I got there. There was someone on a phone outside of the pickup, I assumed they were calling 911. There was a pickup that was sideways in an old building. Most of the pickup was covered with ruble from the building collapsing on top of it. I couldn't tell very much about the pickup because it was damaged and, like I said, covered up, but there was one very distinguishing part of the paint job on the pickup that I immediately noticed. The pickup belonged to a very close friend of mine and my brother, I'm talking brother close!! His name was Jeremy, we called him JC, he was 19.

Panic set in almost immediately! I knew that my real brother, Clint, was supposed to be with him that night. I didn't know whether to stop or to go home and tell my parents, no I did not have a cell phone, I also knew that there was no way they could be alive. I decided to go home and tell my parents because they needed to know so that they could call JC's parents and we could get to the hospital. I do not remember driving home, all I remember is crying so hard the entire way home that I could not even see. God must have encamped His angels around my car that night. When I got home I remember that I couldn't get my key in the door to unlock it, my parents were already in bed, my two nephews were there, and when I finally got the door open I burst in the house screaming hysterically, I couldn't even talk, my parents were trying to calm me down so that they could understand what I was saying. When I finally could talk the first thing I yelled was ""WHERE'S CLINT?', then all I could say was "JC, JC HAD A WRECK!!!". I vaguely remember begging them to call JC's parents and my dad calling someone, not sure who, to find out what happened. I remember them saying Clint had a change of plans and didn't go with JC that night and then they rushed out the door to the hospital. I stayed home with my nephews. At the time I was so upset that I didn't get to go to the hospital but now I realize that it was probably better that I didn't. I cried the entire night and I held the phone in my hand waiting for it to ring. I begged God to spare JC's life. I'm not sure exactly what time it was when the phone rang early that next morning, Saturday, Feb. 13th, maybe around 7? It was my best friend, Tiffany. I don't remember much of our conversation, really all I remember is hearing her say "Ness, he didn't make it". At this point the entire night seemed like a dream. I remember collapsing to the floor and screaming like I had never screamed in my life, I don't even know if I ever hung the phone up. The next thing I knew my parents were coming in the house and all I remember is them telling me they tried to get home before I found out from someone else.

The next few days are very hazy. I remember sitting at a friends house listening to JC's parents, my family, some other families and his closest friends planning his funeral. I felt like I wanted to die. I was so angry and hurt and hopeless and devastated. That was the longest and worst weekend of my entire life!!! I believe now that the fact that God had a plan for my life is the only reason I did not curl up and die because for the first time in my life I felt like I did not deserve to live. JC was a good person, he was tenderhearted, he was caring, he was respectful, he loved to do things for others, he was a hard worker, he loved life, he wanted to live life to the fullest. He was a cowboy who loved his horse. He loved his family and friends unconditionally. I thought if God could take such a good person from this world who were you and I to still be here!!! I hated people I didn't even know, just because they were alive and JC wasn't!!! During this season I was not a good person.

My brother, Clint, and I, in recent years, were not very close, but we gained strength from each other in the days and weeks to come, I probably got more from him than he did from me. I realize now, that is one good thing that came out of this. I remember the morning of the funeral going into the sanctuary with Clint and sitting in the pew with his arm around my shoulders, pressing my face into his chest and bawling my eyes out. It was the first time in years that we had shown each other any type of kindness, much less love and it was exactly what I need at that time. For the first time in years we were brother and sister and there was no hate or dislike of any kind between us. I will forever be thankful for that.

Every day for the remainder of that school year as soon as the dismissal bell rang I would get in my car and drive to the cemetery and sit and cry and talk to JC and tell God how angry I was with Him.

This year will be 13 years that JC passed. He enters my thoughts on a weekly basis. We have our own JC and he reminds me so much of both of his namesakes, JC and Clint. I am no longer angry with God, although I don't think I will ever understand why He took JC so soon. I still feel sad around this time of year, infact, Valentine's day is my least favorite holiday, I would just assume pass over the entire month of February altogether!

Cody and I have been trying to have Grace baptized since this summer and it just hasn't worked out but a few weeks ago we talked to our pastor about it and off the top of his head he set the date of her baptism for February 12th. I have been doing Beth Moore's Bible study about James and in the third session she talks about anguish. One thing she says is "anguish and joy can trade places".

For thirteen years I have felt anguish on the days leading up to this dreadful weekend but this year God is giving me a piece of joy on the same date that, 13 years ago, brought deep sadness. For the first time since February 12, 1999 I am looking forward to this day!! God knew this summer when Grace asked Jesus into her life that He would use that to bring me joy on Feb. 12th, and better than that, on Feb. 12, 1999 God knew that on Feb. 12, 2012 my anguish would trade places with joy!!!

I am so thankful for God's love for me and His desire to mend my wounds. How amazing is He!?

God Bless,
Denissa

Jeremy ~ JC

Justice Clint ~ JC



Wednesday, February 1, 2012

My Way or God's Way???

I am a planner. I like to know when, what and where. I want to know what is going to happen and at what time so that I can be prepared. I am so much of a planner that when I am going to a meeting or having a confrontation with someone I plan out our conversation in my head. I know, call me crazy, but this is a fact about my personality!

I went to a meeting this week with a group of women to plan something. I was not the leader, just an attendee. I had spoke with the leader of the pack prior to the meeting and she had asked me to do something, so being the planner that I am, I had my game plan ready in time for the meeting.

At the meeting we are discussing and planning and throwing ideas around the table. The task I was asked to do finally came up (and I was excited because like I said I already had the WHOLE conversation planned out!) but then the conversation veered off of my path quickly. This was my reaction...WHAT??!! NO!! THAT IS NOT WHAT I PLANNED!!! The rest of the meeting I could not think straight, I was shaking, my heart was pounding and I seriously wanted to throw-up!!! I was asked to something I did not want to do!!

With out going into too much detail, the meeting was about planning a teen girls conference with other churches in Brownfield. I had already told God what I was going to do and how. I told myself that it was what God wanted because I prayed about it and this is what came into my head immediately. Boy did He SMASH my plans into smithereens!!!

This is the conclusion I have come to... I can throw myself on the floor kicking and screaming or I can do what God has called me to do, be faithful to His plan. This was a tough decision, I really wanted to throw a fit like my 2 year old often does, and I will admit I was mad and pouted for almost a day! But now that I have had some time to talk to God, well, actually LISTEN to God I see that His way is the best way. I am not 100% confident that I can do what He is calling me to do but I know as long as I keep my eyes and ears tuned into what He wants then I will some how be able to climb this mountain that has come into my path.

Now that the dust has settled and I can see things a little more clearly I realize I have been in a place of comfort, I get up each day and spend time with my heavenly Father and I daily ask for His guidance and I pray over my husband and kids and others that He lays on my heart, but there is not really anything that has got me out of my comfort zone lately. We need that more often than not. If we never get out of our comfort zone then eventually we will loose the need to seek God's guidance and counsel, we will become self efficient and then when we are blindsided we may forget where to turn. God needs to keep us on our toes, He needs us to need Him!! God is our maker and He knows every fear, He knows when we feel inadequate or unworthy. That is how I was feeling, that is why I did not want to do what I was asked; that is when I heard the sweet whispers of God's majestic voice saying to me "I will make you worthy, trust me beloved!"

We pleaded with you, encouraged you, and urged you to live your lives in a way that God would consider worthy. For he called you to share in his Kingdom and glory. 1 Thessalonians 2:11-13 NLT
All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him. 2 Corinthians 3:18 MSG

God Bless,
Denissa

Monday, January 23, 2012

Grace

Since Grace's birthday was a couple weekends ago I am going to dedicate this week's post to her!!! In my last post I shared a little about how she became so today I want to tell you a story about her but first I decided to google the word grace, here are a few things I came across that really hit home for me:
Grace is the only thing that gives us power to stand
Grace is a free gift
a special favor: privilege
These three statements sum up our Grace but today I am going to focus on the first statement: Grace is the only thing that gives us power to stand.

In December 2005, Grace was 2 almost 3 when I had a miscarriage. Grace was my reason for living during these weeks and months that followed. When I look back now I truly believe if not for Grace I literally would have laid in bed and mourned myself to death. She was the only reason that I got out of bed in the morning. I am not trying to take anything away from Cody, he is my husband and I love him but during this season of my life I knew he could manage without me but Grace, on the other hand, relied on me for everything because I was her provider during the day. If it wasn't for the fact that she wouldn't eat or drink that day if I didn't get up and do it then I wouldn't have gotten up. It wasn't my lowest point in life but it was definitely one of them!

I remember one day we had been somewhere, we had just pulled up to the house and for some reason I started to to cry again. I don't remember what would set off my tears but I remember it seemed like that's all I did. It was just the two of us and I remember laying my head against the steering wheel and crying uncontrollably and then all of a sudden Grace says "Mommy, Jesus is holding our baby in his arms right now." When I looked back at her all I could see was the peace of God surrounding her and I remember picturing Jesus holding our unborn baby in his arms at that very moment! I know Grace did not completely understand the entire situation and she for sure did not understand what I was going through but in that moment none of that mattered. She did not know what I needed but God did and He knew the only way to get through to me was to use Grace to do it. Through her God gave me power to stand and to get through the rest of that day and the next and then week and then month and then months until I felt like I could function and live again.

Grace is everything opposite of me and some days are a huge struggle when it comes to us getting along but I try my best to remember that season in my life when I got my strength from her each day. I get busy and I often forget that she is a special favor to us from God, she was my greatest desire and my answered prayer. I need to remember, each day, to thank God for her, I need to be oblivious to her weaknesses and imperfections, I need to look past all the wrongs and show her the love she showed me when I was the most unlovable.

God has a plan for our special favor and as I see her grow each day I cannot help but wonder what He has in store for her life, it makes me excited and nervous all at the same time. I know her road will not always be smooth but I pray she holds tight to God along the way and I pray that she will give many others the power to stand just as she did me on that day!

God Bless,
Denissa

Monday, January 16, 2012

One of THOSE days!!!

Does anyone, besides me, ever have one of those days where you just do not like being a mom??? Please, someone agree with me!!! Sunday was one of those days for me!! My three kids could not get along at all, it was constant arguing, tattling and crying from each of them! On top of that the house was a disaster and I was beyond exhausted!!

Grace's 9th birthday was the day before so we had a skating party for her. I am still amazed that we have a 9 year old!! I can still remember how excited we were to be having a baby...

Cody and I got married when we were 18 and 20 years old (I am younger than him, just to clarify!). We had been married for almost a year when we babysat for one of Cody's cousins and decided that was fun and we wanted a baby of our own. I look back now and wonder what we were thinking and I thank God that His timing is perfect! I did not get pregnant until I was 22 and I turned 23 a month before Grace was born. There were times we were so discouraged that I hadn't gotten pregnant yet. I prayed and questioned God daily. All I wanted was a baby and I just could not understand why I was not worthy enough to be a mom. We decided to buy a bigger house in hopes that we would have a new baby to bring home to it soon. Well we were right and God is faithful! One month after closing on the house I had a positive pregnancy test! Can you say EXCITED!!! I still think back and giggle because God had it all planned out from the beginning and I didn't even realize it!!

Now fast forward nine years and add two more kids to the mix. Our house is loud and chaotic and unorganized and it seems to have shrunk a lot!!! There is not a day that goes by that I do not thank God for our three blessings but there are also some days, very seldom, that I wonder why did I want this job again!? Grace is 9 going on 16 and I am already dreading the teenage years!! Justice is 5, all boy and very level headed!! Hartly is 2 and well she is just Hartly!!

My life is very busy and it is very easy for my focus to veer away from God. Everyday I am guilty of letting the "needs to be done" become a weight on my shoulders. Sunday it was more like a bizillion pounds caving in on top of me!! On days like that it is so hard for me to hear God's voice beckoning me back to Him. Thankfully I had a women's Bible Study to go to and it helped put things back into perspective. I realized that on days like that is when it is most vital to look for joy. Most days joy is all around and I don't have to look for it but there are days when it is not as visable to me. It's kind of like the sun on a very cloudy day; the sun is still in the sky we just cannot see it because the clouds are covering it up. I realize that when I have to search for my joy is when I am changed. In other words when I face struggles, really face them and not try to hide from them, that is when I grow into who God has designed me to be. God never promised that if we walk with Him our journey will be easy but He did promise that if we walk with Him, He will guide us through the deep waters. To me that means there will always be joy in every situation but it's up to me to discover it and to accept it!!!

I adore my family and my life. It is not ever perfect, we have our fair share of mountains to climb, as you all do, but I know that my God is a lot bigger than any mountain!!! :)

Dear bothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. James 1:2-3 NLT

May your days be filled with joy, even if you have to search for it, God bless,
Denissa
Waking up to birthday cake!!!

Good...

cRaZy!!!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Made New...

I read my Bible every morning as soon as Grace and Justice (JC) leave for school. I used to open it and flip through it to different books and verses and then one day it hit me...I'm not really getting anywhere... So now I read an entire book at a time. I also check off the books I have completed on the contents page at the front. It is my goal to read every book in the Bible before I die!! :)

Right now I am reading Isaiah. I'm only to Chapter 13 but already I can relate my life, especially my past, to the Judians. In chapter 1 Isaiah is preaching about religious hypocrisy...

I grew up in a christian home, I accepted Christ as my Savior when I was 8. I went to church with my family every Sunday morning and night and on Wednesday evenings. I knew without a doubt that God is real and that he cared for me. I knew he was there whenever I wanted him to be. As I got into high school I was a super christian when I was at church, around my parents or other "churchy" people. I was a chameleon; I could change personalities in a split second!! When the "churchy's" were out of sight (or hearing range) I went back to being a foul mouthed, mean girl. I realize now I was religious hypocrisy.

My study Bible says "They fasted, said prayers, celebrated holy days and brought sacrifices to Jerusalem. Yet the people's worship was not from the heart, and it was not accompanied by the personal holiness and social justice that God requires (Leviticus 19:13-17). Religious hypocrisy can result from selective obedience, from lip service to God's law without changes of heart and life to back it up. People who parade their piety for others to see often have little desire to truly obey God. Instead Jesus calls us to be authentic before God and with others, to obey his entire word, and to go beyond mere formalism and appearance in our devotion to God. (NLT Study Bible, Tyndale)

Wow!!! I look back now and I realize that described me perfectly; I claimed that I loved God and sometimes I acted the part but when it came down to it I had no clue who my amazing creator really is! This makes me sad for myself and for the people that I was mean and hurtful to. Seldom a day goes by that I don't wish I could hit rewind and get a do-over, oh the things I would do differently, but that is not how life works! I may not can go back but I can go forward and learn from my mistakes. Even though I may not be able to go to each person individually and ask their forgiveness, I can go to my heavenly Father and confess my mistakes and ask his forgiveness. Isaiah 1:18 (NLT) says "Come now let's settle this," says the Lord. "Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool." That, my friends is grace, God's grace!! But, on the stipulation that we are sincere, we have had that heart change and we are authentic where ever we are, who ever we are with and even when we are alone. He offers it to each of us and I will take it, receive it and hold on to it with all my might!

I am still a work in progress and each day I pray that I am authentic in every thing I do and every where I go. I have a wonderful church family and godly friends that help keep me accountable. But above all else I now know that God is my refuge and even in those moments when I stumble he still loves me unconditionally and he is waiting for me to turn to him and ask, not beg, just ask for him to make me new again! And let me tell you, he is faithful every single time!!!

Is there anything you need to settle with God??? Do you need to be made white as snow???

God is waiting...


God Bless,
Denissa