from tatters to tapestry

Natalie Grant’s song, “The Real Me” says these words:

“You’re turning the tattered fabric of my life into a perfect tapestry.”

Wow. That is exactly what I have been watching God do for a while now.

Several months ago, Jesus called me to renew my relationship with HIm. He changed my heart in a new, fresh way. Now He has begun to really work on my mind, on the thoughts that ¬†lead my actions. I am learning how to let His word transform my mind. The old “tapes” that have resided in my mind for so long can no longer stay! Some have been removed already, but I am seeing now that there are many that have been hidden so deep- so many that I are like old familiar friends but that have been poisoning my relationship with Christ and others, that I am in need of a complete mind renewal. So, that is where I am now. Asking God to show me the lies I have lived by for so long and the truth of His word- seeking emotional and mental wholeness like never before. And it is exciting! I truly feel like Natalie says, He is taking the tattered pieces of my life- all the heart break and hurt and lies and bondage- and He is turning them into a beautiful tapestry! It is a journey- and sometimes a very lonely one, but He is always with me. Plus, I know what lies on the other side: complete and utter freedom ūüôā Thanks, God!

Add a comment July 6, 2013

Peeling an onion

I am an onion. Yep, an onion. 

Have you ever tried to peel an onion? It’s a painstakingly long process, and the layers are too numerous to even count! On a consistent basis, (sometimes daily, sometimes every couple of days), God is gently and lovingly peeling away another layer of “stuff” from my life revealing more and more of His truth. ¬†Although my complete healing is done in the spiritual realm, in the natural, it is a layer at a time as it works its way outward. It amazes me how blind I have been these many years- how many layers have covered my spiritual eyes! I am so very thankful for Jesus, who is gently releasing me from this blindness! Today, a friend told me I am on an Exodus from Egypt heading to the promised land. All that I have lived out of- my past- a victim mentality- fear- anxiety- my personal Egypt, God has delivered me from, and He is bringing me to where He has always wanted me to live with Him. I don’t want to be like the 10 spies who panicked; I want to trust Him completely to take care of any “Jericho walls” that try to keep me from claiming HIs best for me, and walk on in. I love this journey. Even though at times it can be lonely and painful, it has made me realize my need for God (not just as savior but as Lord) to lead my every step. It has also made me so much more aware of the others around me who are hurting desperately and who need Jesus to save them- both from sin and from themselves. So peel away, Lord, peel away, for I know that when YOu finally get all the junk removed, all that will be left is YOU. I love You.

-Shawna

Add a comment May 11, 2013

In the trenches

LORD,

This has been a week. DId you ever get tired of people needing You? Sometimes I do, LORD. Sometimes the constant needs can start to overwhelm me. I thank You that are teaching me to look to YOu and speak the life-giving Word, but sometimes it still gets tiring as I live in the trenches of parenthood.

Like when Jer wants to cling to me- while I’m eating, while I’m driving, while I’m cleaning, while I’m sleeping and his head is rammed into my back. Like the endless paper trail that has to be dealt with-permission slips, school pictures, homework, diabetic sheets, absentee sheets… Yeah, you know God. You see it all, so you know. LIke when Jer just has to mess with buttons and now I can’t figure out how to fix the tv back, and the kids are clamoring at me to fix it… but I don’t know how, and my attempts just aren’t working. Like the tattling, LORD, that seems to never stop. Hannah tatttling on Jer- Jer tattling on Hannah. The fighting and bickering. The “Mom, he/she did, said…!” LORD, did you ever just want to run away and hide when people tugged at you all day? I do, I won’t lie. When I start my day with people needing me (Mom, I need breakfast, Mom I need toilet paper, Mom I need my shoes untied- oh by the way, my friend tied them in a HUGE knot…, go into school to hear many many needs (I need a pencil, Mrs Collick, my dog died I need a hug, I need paper, I need a new bel l ringer…” and then come home to hear the constant cries of “Mom, I need….!” “Mom, can you…?” sometimes I just want to hide. Then, LORD, when all the cries are silent, I face the mess and get ready for it all again the next day. Yes, You and I have wonderful times together in the quiet, and truly those and the prayers of my loved ones are the only things that allow me to face the new day and do it all over again. I want to have endless compassion and do everything in love, and you are teaching me that. I snap less and less (went all day yesterday without snapping – yay God!), and last night, it touched my heart so much when Jeremiah said as I tucked him into bed, “Mom, you’re so kind. I’m so glad to have such a kind Mama like you.” Thank you, LORD, because I know You are changing me, but I know I still fall short. So please keep changing my heart- ¬†making it more like Yours. And help me to remember that I can do all things through You who gives me strength- ¬†Keep filling me with Your love so I can pour it out on those around me. And LORD, thank You for never giving up on me.¬†

Love,

Shawna

 

Add a comment April 18, 2013

Oh LORD, I am sliding down the blade of Your Truth- Your sword. Oh God, how closed my eyes were to the truth. The Truth is slicing lies and roots not from you, from me- is opening my eyes to what I have done and who I have been.  How much like Eve I have been. How selfish I have been. Oh LORD, I am broken, so broken over my sins. It takes my breath away when I see my sins through your eyes. YEs, I know you love me, but YOu love me too much to leave me this way. OH Father, change me- keep changing me- never stop. 

Add a comment April 17, 2013

a call

I got a call today. It wasn’t a call I was expecting. I thought it was the nurse from Hannah’s school. I didn’t look at the number close enough. It wasn’t the nurse. It wasn’t a call I wanted. It wasn’t a call from a friend. It wasn’t a call from a family member. It was a call from a stranger. And she had a purpose. One I want to avoid like lice- and if you don’t know me, I absolutely detest those things, so this purpose was not good- not at all.

With one call, my life was once again turned topsy turvy. I’m so glad God is guiding this ride, because I get motion sick- bad- and all this flip flopping around in my life is enough to make me toss my metaphorical cookies about now!¬†

But the call had a purpose from God too. And that was to make me face some facts. Some that I have really been trying to avoid. 

You know, I believe that Hannah will be healed of diabetes someday- with all of my heart- but I don’t stop giving her insulin in the meantime. I don’t stop checking her sugar or keeping up with her carbs. ¬†So I believe, but I trust God to use all of these other things to help her thrive in life until the healing is complete- however and whenever He chooses to do it.

So, what does that have to do with the call? Well, it made me realize that the children God has blessed me with need more than Chris and I can give them alone. They need prayer and compassion, structure and stability. But they need more. I see clearer than ever before that they are broken, and they need TLC in the form of some choices I haven’t been thrilled about pursuing. So I am praying for wisdom and seeking God’s heart on this matter. ¬†And I hear Him whispering to be at peace and to trust that He will protect them and heal them through whatever comes, in HIs way, and in HIs time.¬†

The toughest part of all this is that the Enemy looks at me and tells me that I have failed as a mom and a Christian. That I just didn’t pray enough. Didn’t believe enough. Didn’t trust enough. But those are all lies. A parent does what is best for their child, and this is what is best for the children God has blessed me with.¬†

So I’m going to trust that He will provide all we need; people we need, programs we need, finances we need. Whatever He feels we need to grow and heal as a family. And especially whatever the children need to be all that He has for them to be. And most of all I am believing that one day our family will be whole again, and it will be a beautiful testimony of what God is able to do with brokenness: Turn it into a beautiful mosaic of His grace and healing.

Be blessed friend, and please keep us all in your prayers as we continue on this road of healing.

-Shawna

1 comment April 13, 2013

Shiny Leaves

“And seeing in the distance a fig tree [covered] with leaves, He went to see if He could find any [fruit] on it [for in the fig tree the fruit appears at the same time as the leaves]. But when He came up to it, He found nothing but leaves, for the fig season had not yet come.” Mark 11:`13 amp

Last night in the Bible Study I attend we talked about shining up our “religious” leaves. We’ve been learning about the three images we have (from John Bevere’s extraordinary life Bible Study). The three are 1) our projected image (the way we desire others to see us), a perceived image (the way others see you) and an actual image (who you really are). (Bevere)

In my own life, I’ve been focused on shining up my leaves (the projected image). I was so desperate for people’s approval that I concentrated on my leaves instead of the fruit God wanted to grow in me. I proclaimed the name of Christ (shiny leaves), but in my personal life, I continuously quenched the Holy Spirit’s goal of growing fruit in me. I lived according to my feelings instead of God’s word.

What does Bevere say about this? Here it is: “If we choose to focus on our projected image, we will forsake the blessing of being changed into the image of Jesus Christ. We will be deceived and incapable of pleasing God and living an extraordinary life.”

That was me. I wanted everyone to pat me on the head and tell me what a great Christian I was. I looked for their approval of my projected image. But under my shiny leaves, I was basically fruitless. Sure, there were a few pieces here and there, but they were not at all what God wanted them to be. 

I don’t want to be fruitless any more! I don’t care about shiny leaves- I just want others to see the fruit so that they will want the LORD in me who makes the fruit grow! God says in His word that He wants us to be¬†abundantly fruitful (Colossians 1: 10). Not just a little fruitful. Not abundantly¬†leafy. Abundantly¬†fruitful. Bursting with Him and His fruit that His spirit grows in us.¬†

Today, Oh Father, oh Jesus, Oh Holy Spirit, make us abundantly fruitful. Remove anything that would try to choke out Your work in us! Remove the limbs that have died, the fruit that is rotten. Dig up and pull out the roots that cause us to grow unhealthy fruit. Graft into us roots that produce Your holy and healthy fruit. Fertilize us with Your word so that the good fruit that grows can be abundant and not small or sickly. And most of all, may YOU get the glory as our wonderful Gardner!

Add a comment April 4, 2013

transformation

“What if your blessings come through raindrops, what if your healing comes through tears. What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near. And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise.” (from the song Blessings by Laura Story).

A month and a half ago I sang this song in church. I sang it with passion and gusto, but I really didn’t understand what I was singing. See, my heart was hard. Really hard. All I could see was a glimpse of what the song really meant.¬†

Just a few minutes ago I heard the song on my Internet radio and it hit my now soft heart, hard. I understand now- at least, I am beginning to understand. 

Six and a half months ago I made a decision to end my marriage. NOtice I said my. Everything was about me. It had been for a long, long time. I’m not going to say there weren’t real issues, there were. But oh, how God has revealed to me over the last month and a half that my attitude, my lack of a mature walk with Christ-contributed to so much of the destruction. I cast all of the blame on my husband and I focused on his sin. My eyes were veiled to my own sins- sins of manipulation and lack of love, jealousy, and anger out of control. I truly could go on and on! Most of my marriage (again, there it is- my) I walked around in long robes and cast stones at my husband (metaphorically speaking) like he was a nobody. I was SO much holier than him (so I thought)! I judged him mercilessly and hurt him over and over. My children too. They could never do right, and in my heart of hearts, I didn’t want to spend a lot of time with them. It hurts so badly to write this, but I want people to understand what really happened. ¬†I went and worshipped at church, but then I came home and tore my husband and our children down with a super critical spirit and anger that came across in a variety of unhealthy ways. When things didn’t go my way, I pouted and made everyone’s lives miserable. I was up and down and all over the place, unable to focus on anything and always searching for the next big thing to give me a lift. Not to mention the secret sins I struggled with. Oh LORD, it hurts to even recall it. But I don’t want to give glory to the devil; I want to give it to God. So let me move on to what happened a month and a half ago. God got a hold of me. After a day of verbal bashing of my husband, I got so sick I could not talk or walk without help. I stayed sick for over two weeks. During this time, my kids brought me an article about marriage that my Aunt Betty had written a long time ago. It was about her marriage to my Uncle BIll, and how, no matter what, she stayed with him and he stayed with her. My aunt is now deceased and struggled with mental illness while she was alive, but my uncle never left her. I also saw a picture on Facebook of an elderly gentleman caring for his elderly wife with alzheimers. My heart was pricked. Finally, I received confirmation through the mail that my divorce had just been filed. That was it. I didn’t want this! I realized I didn’t want to give up! I wanted to fight! So I typed in online about marriage restoration, and I found rejoice marriage ministries. The founders were separated once a year practically throughout their marriage and then were divorced for 2.5 years before God brought them back to gether again, they remarried and stayed married for 23 years before his death. I started reading the testimonies’ pages of literally hundreds of marriages that had been saved- some before and some after divorce. Then I found stop divorce radio and I tuned in. This is a station that plays all kinds of Christian music and sermons that promote marriage, Christian parenting, Biblical principals of finance, Christian maturity…. the list goes on and on. ¬†I started listening and reading the scripture like never before. Scripture about what it means to be a mature Christian. Scripture about what Christ has truly done and who He really is. Thus began the transformation. Oh friend, I wish I could share with you all that God has done, but I can tell you for sure that He has changed my heart! He has delivered me from a “me”mentality! I don’t care about getting anymore. He’s put in my heart a desire to give and love unconditionally. HE’s broken the curses that have followed my family over the years. He’s delivered me from a spirit of Jezebel that used manipulation to get her way. He has set me free from the need for stuff, for approval, for appreciation even. HE’s changed my heart, and every day he continues to change my heart. Where once I was running around trying to find the next “thing”, now God has put in my heart a spirit of contentment to stay at home and pray and care for the children he has blessed Chris and I with, and to serve and love them unconditionally. He also has put in my heart a renewed love for the marriage and husband He allowed me to have- even if it means dying to what I want. It’s ok. I want to die, because I am learning that as I die, I am growing. And I am falling more and more in love with God like never before. ¬†Nothing is too much for HIm to ask from me. He gave everything for me; how can I dare to keep anything back from HIm?? It all belongs to Him anyway! And I love HIm so much, I WANT to give it all to Him.¬†

My prayer is that I don’t want to just speak out words that say “Christian”, I want to LIVE a life that ¬†shouts CHRIST! I want HIM to be glorified like never before in the life He’s given me! I don’t want a drop of phoniness in me. I want no more to say one thing and live somethign /else. I lived with blinders on my eyes for so long, and I praise HIM that He has removed them.¬†Just a short while ago when I got to share some of this with Chris he said to me, “But Shawna, that’s not who you are.” And he is right. That’s not who I’ve been. I’ve been a spoiled brat who loved to play the victim and loved to get my own way. But PRAISE GOD, it’s who Christ is making me into!¬†

So yes, I am beginning to understand the song now. When everything fell apart, God used it all to bring me to a new place- a wonderful place of Love For HIM, and for that, I will alwaybe thankful for the pain that I had to endure (and will likely endure more of in the future at times). 

 

Add a comment April 2, 2013

Humbled by parenting

Tonight I watched my 9 year old daughter grow up in front of my eyes. I saw a little girl begin to turn into a young woman and my heart was both bursting with joy and aching for her to always stay my little girl. As I walked away from her bedroom after tucking her in, I felt such a feeling of inadequacy come over me. “Oh Father, ” I prayed silently with a full heart, ” I want to help the children you have blessed us with, and I feel so unable to do it. I have messed up in so many ways, but please help me. Teach me how to be the mom they need- the one who will help point them to You.” See as I am following the Shepherd, I realized like never before, that they are following ME. ¬†These are HIS kids- I’m only borrowing them, and they are ultimately following Him… by following in mine and Chris’ footsteps. My throat closed up thinking of how precious these children are and how inadequate I am to help guide them closer to the Shepherd. One thing I know for sure, it makes me want to stay right behind the Shepherd, so close to Him that I can hear everything He says to me. I have two little lambs following me and I DO NOT want to cause them to stumble. Oh LORD, keep changing and cleansing my heart, cleanse my mouth, cleanse my hands- just douse me LORD- daily. Then speak to me and fill me with Your holy words that I may share them with Hannah and Jeremiah. Shine Your love into my heart, so I can let it flood over my children bringing light and peace. I’m walking right behind you, Gentle Shepherd. I see now, like never before, that doing so is the only way to point these precious children to You.

-Shawna

 

Add a comment April 2, 2013

Walking quietly behind the Shepherd in peace

“I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date!” (said the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland).¬†

It seems that has been my refrain my entire life. Always rushing. Always running to the next “thing”. And rushing makes you tired. And rushing leaves you empty once you run to the next thing and find that it doesn’t fulfill you like you thought it would. Until recently, it was as if there was a motor inside of me, always pushing me to go go go! Or as if there was a monster behind me, snapping his jaws and cracking his whip- keeping me on the run. I see this in my children and my heart breaks. I see their need for approval- just like I had to have. ¬†I see their desire for the next “thing”. Oh LORD, how I repent of my modeling this for them!¬†

The last six and a half months have been a lot of ups and downs and craziness, but through this, God got a hold of me and he released me from this drive for approval, for rushing, for the next “thing”! And I praise Him! He has set me free and is teaching my heart to wait before Him, and it is so refreshing. No more am I the sheep running ahead of Jesus shouting that I know where the best watering holes are! No more am I the child running, but having no idea where I’m going. For the first time ever in my life I am content to walk behind the Shepherd and follow in HIs footsteps quietly, going where He leads me. I want to shout! If you’ve never had the drive to do and go and be and then suddenly found rest, you won’t be able to understand, but it is peace like never before! My Father is caring for me and He knows the way and that’s all that matters. So I can be at peace. ¬†And I am praying that soon so will my children.¬†

1 comment April 1, 2013

Stuck on a ladder: II Peter 1: 5-10

So, I have a secret some of you may not know: I have always been afraid of heights.  And ladders have always especially frightened me. You know those giant ladders firefighters use? YEah, those that look as if they stretch and stretch to the heavens? My legs start shaking if I even attempt a regular ladder, let alone one of those! But in reading the scriptures tonight, God made a connection in my heart that I want to share.

Peter says in chapter 1 verse 5: For this very reason…employ every effort in exercising ¬†your faith to develop virtue, and to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge self-control, and to self-control, steadfastness, and to steadfastness, godliness, and to godliness, brotherly affection, and to brotherly affection, Christian love.”¬†

This is kind of like a ladder, don’t you think? A ladder that leads to a close relationship with God- way up there ¬†(remember His ays are hjgher than ours)? So what does a woman who is afraid of heights do with this ? She stays on the first rung of course!¬†

See I have been wondering why it is that I haven’t been growing as a Christian. I’ve been wondering why I have stayed so broken for so long. But now I know. The minute I dared to even lift my leg the slightest bit to get to the next rung, the enemy would distract ¬†me and flat out tell me I just wasn’t virtuous enough, so how dare I try to move. He would remind me of the danger of falling from higher rungs if I ¬†tried to get prideful and move up. And I believed him. So I would spend so much time trying to be virtuous that I would make lists adn lists of how I needed to change to be more virtuous. In the mean time, I had no time to spend studying the deeper scriptures because I had my lists to work on. So I could not move to knowledge. The rungs of self-control and steadfastness were so high to me that the enemy would taunt me- you’ll never get there- this is just who you are! Look how high those are! Suppose you try to go up and you fall- you will never make it! ANd again, I believed him.

So I continued to lose my temper with my family and act like a little girl when things didn’t go her way! I flitted from one thing to another- trying to reach at least a hand up to the rung of steadfastness. ANd I continued to try to be “virtuous”. And the enemy would keep me bound up with secret sins and whisper to me that I would never be virtuous enough- I should just forget it and get down off the ladder for good! Brotherly affection was about me. How I could feel good. SO I stayed on rung one- defeated. Way up high was Christian Love (I Corinithians 13 kind of love) and I could barely see it! And I SURE did not live it!¬†

I could not make myself go up the ladder no matter how much I wanted to;I was just too scared! Scared I would fall! So, when my life came crashing down around me six months ago, God began teh trek down the ladder to me! He took my hand and together we started climbing. And I know that He is going to stay with me keeping me safe, every step of the way!

Add a comment March 29, 2013

Pages

Blogroll