To the person who keeps searching for love, YOU MATTER.

Warning: Not a pretty story. MANY ministries are not created out of pretty stories. God takes the ashes and MAKES something beautiful from them.

 

I am writing this for you, Very Important Person, because you don’t yet know your worth. You are worth SO MUCH MORE than you can imagine.

You matter green marker and pencil

I think I always knew one day I’d be moved to write this.

This is that day.

I recently heard someone in church mention a girl he knew from childhood who many called Slut.

Immediately I hurt for her, “She’s broken.”

My heart sank hearing grown up people quietly snicker at this mention of a girl who was trapped in this kind of prison.

DON’T THEY KNOW she was held captive there?

DIDN’T THEY KNOW that laughing about her is part of the problem?

DON’T THEY KNOW their gossip etches their own names on the links in the chains that keep her locked up?

I know this prison.

I lived there.

I remember when I was a little girl and I loved life. I climbed way up in the apple trees in my front yard and ate apples right off the trees.

Honeysuckle grew on a nearby fence. I loved that!

I liked playing, and school, and family, and life was fun.

Then it wasn’t.

When I was nine years old I was sexually molested by someone.

I will write more as God leads me to write. This is its own story and would take too many words for today.

This happened from age 9 to age 15.

At age 15 I was raped at church camp.

I didn’t DARE tell ANYbody for years!

After all, I had snuck out to meet this boy at night (but I had NO intentions of more than kissing.)

And I liked him and I thought he liked me and the thought that he wanted to talk to me and maybe kiss a while made my heart beat a little quicker!

Little did I know that this was part of satan’s plan to take me down.

I did not understand at the time that the enemy was afraid of what I could become in Jesus Christ and I did not understand yet that God’s plan of redemption would use this part of my story years later for His Glory.

I did not tell.

I did not even cry.

Who would care about me?

Who would believe me anyway?

Why did I even think he’d want to meet me to talk a while? Silly girl.

Scarlet A? The letter A may as well have been tattooed all over my body.

When I was 15 a boy older than I was invited me to his house for lunch.

Only …his intentions were NOT to have lunch at all.

Also when I was 15 the town pedophile (or rather, one of them) found me.

I must have had a magnet or target or something.

With the enemy searching for someone to devour, it is very likely truth that there was some kind of invisible target on me for me to have found all the trouble I did

or, rather,

for it to have found me.

Then…

Someone at school told me that my name was written on the boys’ bathroom wall.

I was 16.

The shock and shame that came with this discovery was something that I did not know how to process.

I guess I could have looked at the bright side; that it said I was GOOD at something. At least the writing was positive in SOME way.

My name was written on the boys bathroom wall

The affection and acceptance I was desperately searching for had me tangled in depravity of sin for years because the enemy’s OH, SO carefully crafted trick to strip my belief that I was ANYthing worthwhile was working.

That enemy is clever.

 

I kept searching for “love.”

Boys were generous to offer lots of “comfort.”

After all,

the world, tv and movies, commercials, books, and most of life taught me that it wasn’t really a big deal to kiss or fool around before marriage as long as you don’t have “sex” sex.

Right?

The world is WRONG.

Keeping the marriage bed pure means EVEN BEFORE marriage to keep the marriage bed pure. I cannot IMAGINE what a blessing I would have received if I’d saved all my kisses and all my desire for my husband. And if someone stole something or if we mess up that does NOT mean to KEEP messing up.

 

OH, if I’d only known my value!

But I did not.

I was the butt of satan’s cruel joke.

And people laughed.

 

A friend told me about my name on the boys’ bathroom wall.

Jeff Fisher was my hero that day and I will always remember.

He did what nobody else would do.

He opened the bathroom door

And he let me witness as he ERASED MY NAME off that wall.

 

In that moment

even though he wasn’t aware of how my life had headed this way,

and of course neither of us could know what would happen in the years to come,

he showed me I was worth something.

 

In THAT moment

And

ONLY

for

a

moment

I

believed

I

could

be

worth

something.

 

Years after that I was raped 3 more times while attending a Christian college. (Quick note: Christian colleges are great! People are the people no matter where we go. Jesus is perfect. People are not.)

 

That Last Time.

One boy I’d been out with before called me and asked if I’d like to go see a movie.

I smiled! Aww! That’s so sweet.

“Sure! I’d love to go see a movie.”

He likes me?! I’m so excited!

 

The thing is…

he had NO intention of ever taking me to a movie.

 

As he raped me in his car,

I didn’t scream.

I’m pretty sure I didn’t say anything.

Rivers of tears silently poured down my cheeks.

And I believed

Finally

Without a doubt

That I was

absolutely nothing.

 

I clearly remember lying there in that moment thinking through these words.

 

“This… is all I’m good for?”

.

“…Oh…”

.

“…Okay.”

.

I breathed out as the tears kept falling.

.

“I’m …Nothing.”

 

Definition of nothing

  1. Not anything : no thing
  2. Someone or something of no interest, value, or importance
  3. Me

 

 

I’m certain that if anyone could see that moment in time, they would witness satan dancing on my broken spirit, certain that he’d won, and confident in the belief that his work to bury me forever was complete.

But God says,

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven. Matthew 5:3

 

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. John 10:10a

But that old devil forgot the next part of this verse!

I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10b

My God is bigger.

My God is stronger.

My God picked me up and gave me a firm place to stand.

He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit,out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, Psalm 40:1b-3a

 

Just over 2 years ago God gave me the gift of my confidence back.

I did not even know it was missing.

But the very moment He gave it back I realized it had been stolen with my innocence when I was a little girl of 9 years old.

I did not know to pray for it to be restored because I did not know it had been missing.

I didn’t even know a person could live without something like that.

God restores what has been stolen.

 

I didn’t know I mattered.

And now, I know the truth.

I don’t have to search anymore for affection or acceptance here in this broken world.

(And neither do YOU.)

My GOD IS ENOUGH.

 

And THAT’S why I’m here.

That’s why I’m online.

That’s why you’re reading this.

It’s my purpose.

I will spend the rest of my life telling people they matter.

 

You matter letter beads

 

When satan tries to tell you that you’re nothing…

Remember that Jesus did not defeat death for Nothing!

Jesus defeated death for YOU and YOU are VERY SOMETHING.

You matter post it note

 

Think about it this way.

If you didn’t matter so much, WHY would the enemy work so hard to try to keep you down?

You matter blue chalk

 

My life’s verse

Genesis 50:20

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

You matter. 2

My whole purpose in life breaks down into two words.

You matter.

You matter stamp letters

All the years searching in a thousand ways to find what ONLY God can provide for me has brought me to these two words.

You matter.

You matter small letters

ONLY God can fulfil the emptiness in our broken hearts.

You matter purple crayon

ONLY God can give love like we all desperately crave.

You matter curly pink

How ever I finally learned this and if my life’s story even only helps ONE person begin to heal and to realize his or her worth, it was worth it to help set another free (even when others don’t get it or laugh.)

For YOU, it’s worth it.

Because you matter.

You matter steampunk 2

 

[Of course there are a hundred other moments that taught me I was nothing and I didn’t mention them all here. That would take WAY too many words.

Each one alone may not have been so devastating.

But all together,

They buried me for about 35 years.

While you may THINK whatever you say or do in a moment won’t hurt someone…

I am living proof that all the moments add up and it IS VERY MUCH a big deal. It was enough to keep me hidden for years. And that’s what the enemy wants; to shut us up.

YOU may not realize it but YOU may be the ONLY person who speaks life into someone all year.

YOUR WORDS MATTER.

GOD SPOKE and created everything. (He could have done this any way He wanted to but He spoke and things happened. That is pretty interesting.)

Your words have power to tear down or to heal.

You can either be part of the problem and keep someone locked in the chains or you can help heal and tell her she matters.

Can’t tell her in person for whatever reason?

That’s okay. Pray for her. GOD is ultimately The One she needs the most anyway; not you (or me) and not boys. Pray for God to reveal His purpose for her and His love for her.

This broken world could use a whole lot more praying and praises

And a WHOLE lot less gossip.]

You matter phone calendar reminder

 

 

[Parent Note:

If you’re not talking with your kids, age appropriately and as-a-matter-of-fact-ly and without sounding embarrassed (much like you’re teaching them how to cook or how to do math or read) SOMEONE ELSE WILL. And they may not teach the beautiful truth about how God made sex to be very good.

Let them know it’s okay to ask questions about ANYTHING.

PLEASE be a safe place for healthy answers with no sarcasm.

Please?]

 

YOU MATTER big letters Jo Ann Fabrics

 

[Note to people who say pornography is okay:

Lots of people don’t know their value.

If you’re viewing pornography then you clearly do not value people in the pictures as God intended.

And very likely you do not know your own worth, either.

The world has made it a profession to take what God made to be good and mess it up and then pass it off as no big deal to anyone who will buy into the lies.

The world has taken sex which God made to be beautiful and VERY good and twisted it and corrupted it into pornography.

And pornography has NO place in anyone’s world.

Ever.

NOTHING you can say will change my mind.

Pornography is NOT love.

Pornography is slavery.

From the “actors” to the producers to the consumers, PORNOGRAPHY is a VERY REAL HELL on Earth and EVERY view supports this prison, whether in print, video, or any other way.

Be careful, little eyes, what you see, for The Father up above is looking down IN LOVE.

TALK to HIM. He’s listening and He breaks chains that keep us from really living.

OH how God LOVES YOU!]

You matter pink and brown

 

 

[Note to Dads:

OH, DADS!

PLEASE hear me.

What you say matters SO much.

What you DON’T say matters SO much.

If you are not giving your daughter healthy, good kind of love that God intended for a father to bless a daughter with, there are LOTS OF BOYS who are GLAD to offer her anything in the name of affection.

If she already knows her worth in God and with you, Dad, she won’t have any need to accept this from the boys.]

You matter.

 

[Note:

-I wrote this from my life’s view. I do know that guys are molested and raped also and I pray God gives them courage to speak out and to heal also.

-Some people told me that I SHOULD hate sex now because of what has happened in my life. What kind of messed up thinking is THAT?!  WHY in the world would I want to give the enemy ANY more moments of my time by hating something that God designed to be VERY good? Sex is fun and wonderful when experienced the way God designed it.

-I also know some families do not include Dad for many different reasons. While that is unfortunate in my opinion, there are many father figures who are God-fearing, God-loving men who (may not ever fill Dad’s shoes but) can help heal a girl’s heart.

-And I also know that some dads are not healthy and cannot seem to give love the way God intended. This is most unfortunate. I pray for you now and some day I pray you know how much you matter.

-If you’re mad that I believe dads have so much influence, that’s okay. It’s okay for people to have different opinions. God made man the head of the house. It’s HIS design. Not mine. And He’s big enough for you to question Him about it. Lots of things God designed get messed up when we try to change what He made and make it how we think we want it to be. God made us for different purposes but our souls are equally valuable. Just ask Jesus.

-And YES it’s also VERY important what moms say AND what they don’t say.

-People who are looking for an argument and want to hate on me for writing, God has such a bigger purpose in this life for you. I pray He leads you to find it. And also, you matter.]

 

You matter etched

 

[MOST IMPORTANT NOTE:

If you have been molested or raped,

IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT.]

 

You matter brown cream

 

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He told me not to bother God with stuff like that.

During my college years I was visiting a church and they asked if anyone had any prayer requests. I raised my hand and said something like, “I need it to not rain on Tuesday because I’m moving.”

And then the teacher said something I won’t forget, “God doesn’t listen to the little things like that.”

I told him it was a pretty big deal to me. It’s my life and it’s where I live so it wasn’t a little request to me.

He told me not to bother God with stuff like that.

It had been raining and raining for weeks (which I LOVE) but I really needed a day without rain to move because my lease was up and the new apartment was ready.

When we were back in class the next Sunday he asked about prayer requests again. I said I have a praise. “God answered my prayer. Not only did He give me ONE day – He gave me TWO days without rain to move.”

And after I moved – it rained AGAIN for a few weeks.

I’m sure some would say it was coincidence.

Some could say the rain was already going to do that on those days and prayer had nothing to do with it.

So… it just happened that my lease ended, the new apartment was ready, my boxes were packed, and everything else just happened to be the same day (two days) as no rain… and it just happened that I prayed about the specific day and all that?

Maybe…

(And it even could be that I wasn’t the only one praying for no rain on Tuesday.)

What I know is that my God is very big and He absolutely DOES care about every detail of our lives. He listens to our prayers and He is a detail God.

If we don’t believe God hears us and will answer when we pray… then why pray?

[Note: EVEN IF I had not received a day (or two) without rain, I’d STILL praise God and would have moved (with soggy boxes) but I may not have felt moved to write about it. There are many prayers God answers in ways only He understands. I will trust Him no matter what.]

Because of Stephen (a very special kid)

God calls us in different ways.

Lisa was one of my roommates from college. She was called by God.

God gave her 3 healthy kids, 2 miscarriages, and Stephen. Because of her experiences she can help people in ways I can’t even begin to know how to.

Stephen is a very special kid with very special needs. He’s been diagnosed with multiple disabilities due to severe brain damage from birth because of preeclampsia; He is deaf, blind, epileptic, has a feeding tube, a shunt for hydrocephalus, non-ambulatory (meaning he can’t walk or sit or feed himself,) and Cerebral Palsy.

~~> When God calls you

it usually turns your world upside down. <~~

People are in their house all hours of the day (and sometimes night.) There’s no privacy.

Some of their house has been turned into a hospital ~ for Stephen.

People stare at him because he’s… different.

He’s a very beautiful “different” with a contagious laugh.

He’s here for a reason. God did not make him by mistake.

God has connected many people together because of Stephen.

If Stephen wasn’t Stephen, the nurses, doctors, therapists, and hundreds more people wouldn’t have been connected with Lisa and she wouldn’t have had this opportunity to share her faith with them.

She COULD have cursed God. But she didn’t. She COULD have said, “No. God, this is too much for me.” (…Because sometimes it feels that way.) But she didn’t. She accepted the assignment that she was called to be his mom as a gift and she loves him.

She accepts help from people she doesn’t know (medical and personal help) because caring for him is a full time job.

I cannot comprehend the faith and energy it’s taken her and Kevin to learn all they’ve had to learn to be his mom and dad. And I praise God for all the people who have been there to help love on Stephen and get to know his family.

I’m writing this ~ because of Stephen.

The truth is we ALL have special needs. Jesus is the answer to them all.

~
Notes from Lisa.

8 1/2 years ago my world was turned upside down. Fear was the theme for the day. I was afraid for my life as well as my unborn child’s.

It was too early, but apparently, it was time.

Some in this world would say it was a tragedy. I call it a true gift. It has brought unimaginable joy, heartbreaking pain, laughter, tears, patience, and humility.

Stephen Sanders was given as a blessing not just to me, but to the world. I would move Heaven and Earth to change things for him, but I would never change him for me.
~
I am thankful for my children in general.

David for being friendly and outgoing.

Micaiah for being willing to work hard even when she doesn’t really want to.

Stephen for teaching me patience by throwing me into the fire.

And Nathan for giving me a fresh look at the world.

God, bless my children as they walk their paths through this life and please take care of my two babies who are already in Heaven with You.
~
Monkey, You are such an amazing little boy. There aren’t words to describe how much I love you. Your strength inspires me to go on when I am worn down. The smile on your face makes me laugh through the tears. And the way you tell me you love me without uttering a word reminds me of what true love is really about. I am so blessed to be your Mommy.

 

3T7B1491 2 website

Are you living every day feeling like something is missing? Maybe it is.

Nobody but God can qualify you for the work He has for your life.

Nobody can take away your job but God. If you turn your back on Him He may let you have your way though. But remember His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and His ways are higher than our ways. So what I know for certain is that if you walk away from your calling, you’re missing out on what you were created for which leaves you feeling pretty empty.

And as for people who do evil saying it’s in God’s name – all I can say is I’d hate to be standing in your place after this earthly life ends. I’m glad I won’t have to see what happens to you for claiming to be a Christian or using God’s name to steal, kill, and destroy.

Contrary to the way the world has taught us to believe, you do not need a thousand hours of college or hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt to do the job God’s got for your life.

A degree does not make you more valuable in God’s eyes.

You are valuable just because He created you.

I’m writing this because I know many people who feel held back and for many it’s because they didn’t finish college so their lives are passing them by because culture told them they were “less than” and they are believing that lie.

Believe it no more.

I’m not saying college isn’t important for some things. It is. Surely there are some good things about college but many times we’re just aimless young people who haven’t had people in our lives helping us discover our talents and guiding us in the path God has for us. (I do know many people who spend college years studying the art of partying more than other subjects. You can find anything you’re looking for in just about any situation whether it is sex, drugs, stuff, pain, or wonderful friendships and other healthy things.)

Do not write me a hundred pages saying I’m a college hater. I’m not.

I went to college.

I went to a Christian college.

That does not make me a Christian.

It does not make me better than someone.

It does not make me smarter than someone who did not go to college.

That means I can pay money to sit in classes and listen to teachers for many hours.

 

What I AM saying is that college did NOT qualify me for the calling God has put on my heart.

 

Your mom doesn’t qualify you for your calling.

Your dad doesn’t qualify you for your calling.

Of course they can encourage you (or, unfortunately, hold you back) but God qualifies you.

Teachers don’t qualify you.

Your best friend doesn’t qualify you.

Many times preachers or elders at church aren’t even realizing (or supporting) the talents you have or the calling God’s laid on your heart.

Your husband or wife can’t even qualify you but you can be supportive of each other as you serve God in the way He’s planned for both your lives.

Time and time again all through the Bible God does not call the “qualified” but He qualifies the called.

Are you living every day feeling like something is missing? Maybe it is. Ask God what’s missing. He is THE ONE to ask.

He restores what was stolen. In my life it was my innocence and my confidence one evening while playing hide and seek when I was 9 years old.

I did not even know my confidence had been stolen until He gave it back to me about one year ago. I lived about 35 years without my confidence. I know we can go through life missing stuff and not realize it. I’m living proof of this.

Ask God to restore what was taken from you. You may not even realize what is missing yet. He and only He can restore this for you.

There’s a great big world who needs you to do the job God created you to do. He will pick you up and give you a firm place to stand. He will give you all that is needed to do the job He’s called you to do and He opens doors that no man can shut and shuts doors that no man can open.

Is He calling you? You don’t have to wait for anyone else to validate you. Ask God what He wants you to do today. And keep asking every day. He will lead you.

 

 

Important Stuff

I’ve been thinking a lot about “education,” intelligence, experience, and even God-given talents and how sometimes we seem to feel like someone is “smarter” than someone else… when maybe our view cannot see the big picture.

When we get to Heaven, God may not be all that impressed with how many diplomas we have, how much is in our 401k, where we went to college, or if our kids went to public school, private school, homeschool, or whatever.

I do know God is going to ask each of us what we did with the talents He gave us. I hope we hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

And I know some people aren’t sure God is real or if Heaven or Hell is real. I hope we don’t wait and find out it’s too late to ask Him. If you’re not sure, ask God to show you who He is. He does this. He’s okay with us asking Him questions.

What are you looking for?

I went to a Christian college.  That does not mean I’m perfect.  That does not mean I’m good or bad.  That means my parents wanted me to have the opportunity to get to have teachers and friends with hopefully a strong moral compass that would help lead my life toward Heaven.

We’re all sinners.  ALL of us.

If I looked for the kids who were more like me (the “black sheep” of the family) I found them.  If I wanted to find people with stronger character who were not afraid to show their faith, I found them.  I loved all of the people I met.  Some hurt me.  Some did not.  I wouldn’t go back and change anything because God has used each situation in my life and created something altogether good out of it.

Whatever you are looking for in any situation you will find.  You want to find the problems, they’re there.  You want to find the blessings, they’re there, too.  The very same situation can provide both.  Want something to complain about?  You’ll certainly find it.  Want something to praise God about?  It is there.  Always.

What are you looking for?

Prayers always welcome here (We feel God’s calling our family to Alaska to open & care for a homeless teen center.)

You know when someone says they feel called to adopt a child and so people pray for the adoption but sometimes we forget to pray for life AFTER the adoption. Then you hear people whisper, “Well, what’d they THINK was gonna happen?!”

Do not think for a second that the adoption wasn’t God-led. It was. But satan didn’t like it one bit. Sooo… there’s drama sometimes.

~
You know we pray all the time for our kids to finish high school and college but sometimes we forget to pray for AFTER high school and college. “Well just look at the crowd they fell in with.” Well from our experience with most churches, a kid leaves for college only to return to their home congregation to find they’re suddenly not welcome in the high school group anymore.

Then churches cry and say, “Where have we gone wrong with the 19 to 30 year olds?”

We have an idea…

~
You know how we prepare for the wedding but sometimes don’t spend as much time praying over the actual marriage. You sometimes even hear of people placing bets on marriages to see how long they’ll last.

REALLY?

PRAY over their marriage. Please don’t bet it won’t work.

~
We are moving to Alaska. We get crazy looks all the time. All we know is God is moving us there to love on people who are hurting and we’re a pretty good choice for this so I can’t figure why anyone would doubt it but that’s beside the point.

I came personally online (blog, Facebook, Twitter) TO find prayer warriors, connections, financial, and any other support we can find for this move.

If you pray, please start praying for our lives AFTER the move (and still for the move, itself) because honestly it’s a little scary. We’ve never been there.

It’s not like we’ve been saying, “Oh, look. Easy life in Alaska.” We’ve just shared our faith and that we know God’s moving us. What should we say? “No, God, that just won’t do.”

Um… not gonna to do that.

We’re moving in faith. Period.

So if you’re skeptical, that’s cool. You can still be skeptical AND please pray for my family as we take this step of faith?

Moving my kids to new friends and schools and all that goes with a big move is more than a little intimidating.

Thanks and may God bless you even more than you pray He blesses us.