Dear Lonely Woman,

Dear Lonely Woman,

I see you.

I have some idea why you’re sorrow runs so deep.

Your sadness and your pain matter.

How you feel about what has happened in your life matters.

What you do and what you think matter too.

The things and people you try to grasp and hold onto are never going to fill that empty longing in your soul.
But I know a Guy who can.

Stop trying to get something from things or people who are NOT EVEN EQUIPPED to give it.
But I know a Guy who is.

You think nobody can possibly know the battles you’ve been faced with.
But I know a Guy who does.

So you can exhale.

Because He KNOWS you

AND

He ADORES you.

Only ONE promises AND can give you the Real fulfillment you’re dying to know.

He wants to spend every day with you.
He will never say you’re too clingy. He says, “Cling to ME!”

He will never say you are not enough to hold his attention. He says, “I laid down My life for you BECAUSE you matter more than anything.”

He will never say, “Go away,” with his words or his actions.
But instead He only says, “Come to ME.”

He wants to get one on One quality time with YOU.

Why do you think the circumstances of your life leave you feeling so lonely?

He is confident that HE is THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN fulfill your most intimate need to be wanted and to be loved.

HE will NEVER leave you.

Talk with Him.

And keep talking.

I’ll help you start.

“Dear God, thank You. Thank you for the emptiness so that I can find You.
You are MORE than enough for me.
Show me my value that is in You alone and please reveal my purpose ONLY You can give me. Please heal me because of what has happened in my life and remind me that my true value is found ONLY in You. Please forgive me for searching in a hundred other places for the True Love that ONLY You are capable of giving me. In Jesus’ Holy Name, I ask _______________…”

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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

 

“Unplanned Pregnancy” is not in God’s vocabulary.

Psalm 139:13  For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Parenthood is a Calling.

Some people turn it down.

Some people turn it down many times. Please stop.

God can and does forgive. He’s very good at it. Talk to Him. He’s listening right now. He takes all the broken pieces of our lives and creates something altogether beautiful. It’s what He does. Stop hiding and start living again. HE ADORES YOU. You cannot confess ANYTHING that would make Him love you less.

I was moved to write this because I’ve seen how abortion does more than kill ONE life. It ALWAYS kills more than one life. Being alive but walking through life ~> dead <~ is not living how God intended us to live. Life is a gift from God. EVERY life is a gift from God. God wants every person to have an exuberant life.

John 10:10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

We have a desire to be with God. Because of this, when we do something sinful, it makes us want to hide just like Adam and Eve hid in the Garden of Eden.

But somebody needs YOU. Get up. Get up. Please get up.

Somebody else may be going through the very same decisions and thoughts you went through and you may be the very right person God wants to use to help them. Ask Him for courage. He’s got you. He’ll show you when to share your story.

When we talk about stuff that’s happened in our lives sometimes people get defensive.

WHY?

It’s NOT about YOU. Well, wait. Kind of, it IS about you because satan is AFRAID of what YOU can become. But it’s NOT about you because sin is designed to trick you, steal from you, and keep you isolated; sometimes just isolated in your own mind because you never talk about things you need to talk about so that you can be free. (And this applies in ALL areas of our lives; not just about abortion.)

Make NO mistake.

Holding secrets makes you grouchy. (Any secrets. Again, this applies to WAY more than abortion.)

Like, every day grouchy and even if people don’t know WHY you’re grouchy they still sense something is very broken. We CRAVE freedom from the prisons we get trapped in. When we’re stuck in hell on Earth, we don’t have peace.

Please hear this now.

It’s about what satan did TO YOU. That enemy is so very clever and custom designs traps to enslave us FOREVER. Whether you chose to kill your baby or someone talked you into it, it’s a lie and is not “an easy way out” AT ALL. And sometimes people take a sin and never bring it to light SO THAT it can be forgiven and redeemed. There is freedom in confession. There is freedom when the chains that hold us are broken by Jesus’ Blood.

Yes. We have choices we make every day and we are to be held accountable for everything; even the words we speak. BUT what satan wants, and unfortunately many times he gets, is to knock us down and KEEP US DOWN.

Sometimes people need to find a better way to talk with others about sin and I find it’s best to confess our sins to someone else before trying to help someone else with theirs. That whole take the plank out of our own eyes before pointing out the splinter in someone else’s… Yeah THAT one.

BE KIND when dealing with other humans or they tend to shut you out!

Matthew 7:3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

When you feel loved by someone and have a relationship with them it’s easier to be heard and we MUST speak in love and not in condemnation to each other.

When we talk about this sin specifically, people often say, “You’re making me feel guilty.” (Actually I can’t MAKE you feel ANY way. But I get what this is saying.)

Good.

Guilt is a GOOD thing. Guilt shows your conscience is working and the Holy Spirit is tugging at your heart to bring you back where you belong.

Guilt is not bad.

ABSENCE of guilt is bad.

God loves you so very much. He forgives. He saw that we would mess up in this life and He loves us SO MUCH that He sent His ONLY Son to redeem us and bring us back to Him.

Now, please, YOU forgive you and ask Him what He wants you to do with your life because He had a plan for you when He knit YOU together in YOUR mother’s womb.

READ THIS AGAIN: God already loves you so very much. He ALWAYS has. Talk to Him.

I’m very sorry when well-meaning people take murder and make it into a sin worse than other sins. Sometimes people may not articulate well that we are all sinners.

ALL sins nailed Jesus to the Cross. We EACH held a hammer.

And Jesus didn’t set us free so that we can keep doing the same sins over and over again. He paid the Ultimate Price SO THAT we can be free from the sins that try to keep us from living.

God takes our broken stuff and makes it into a ministry. Ask Him what He will do with you. He has a plan for YOU and when He “knitted you together” He knitted His plans for you into you and many times, the very thing that held us down is the VERY thing that God uses to pick us up and help others.

 

Dear Daughters, I’ve noticed.

An Open Letter to My Daughters.

I hear the way you pray over your days, friends, enemies, and choices. I see how you love others and want good things for them. I see when someone hurts your feelings and hear you pray for blessings for them and for God to heal you and use your pain.

I just want you to know that I’ve noticed.

You know where your strength comes from and you keep sharing that it’s from Jesus when anyone asks what is different about you and sometimes even when they don’t ask. You are warriors for Christ and with the Holy Spirit’s Power, you are doing great things every day.

I’ve noticed.

It’s absolutely beautiful to see how you face trials and adversity and you don’t retaliate. You could be angry. You could try to get even. You could wish bad things on people who have hurt you.

But you just don’t.

You can know for certain that I notice.

I see you forgive but not necessarily forget because as God uses experiences He’s brought you through, He reminds you of the passion behind your drive to love others.  You have understanding beyond your years.

God has taught me a lot through allowing me to be your mom. Being a kid in 2015 is tough (probably way tougher than when I was a kid.) You are learning to walk in grace and beauty that can only come from Jesus. I see His peace covering you.

You are world changers.

I’ve prayed over your whole lives, marriage, school, work, friends, enemies, and faith. I don’t have all the answers (and that’s okay.) Together we will always ask the Guy who does. Please come talk to me and Daddy when you make mistakes. (We were kids too and we made plenty of mistakes too.)  It’s okay to cry. God made tears and crying helps people heal.

I just wanted to be sure you hear that I notice you girls developing your own faith in Jesus and it’s beautiful to have a front row seat to this work He’s doing in your lives.

You are surely storing up treasures in Heaven and THAT means everything. These are the treasures that will last forever.

I love you.  Love, Mommy

~

Here is a prayer I wrote when you were little. I think it was around 2a.m. once as you slept while I was unpacking at a new house. I wrote it under your art desk. Whether the desk stays with you or not, the prayer and blessings will follow you no matter what.

Dear God,
Bless my children this night and from now on as they sit at this desk and help me always see their individual talents and encourage them for You. This night as I carefully set up all their art things in our new house keep them safe always.

Let me always remember the goal is Heaven no matter what comes in their lives and use me to help them see You. Through friendships and boyfriends and broken hearts let them look to You.

Let them have peace that You have a plan for each of their lives and not get sidetracked by the world.

Protect their minds and eyes and ears and bodies. Please keep them from harm.

Let me listen to them and remember that this time is for a season and not a lifetime. The dishes can always be done later. Lord, help me just learn to enjoy play time with my children and not organize anything. Just play!

I pray again this night for their husbands and their Christianity that they always look to You and are gentlemen to my girls You gave me. I cannot imagine anyone ever loving them like You and I do. Will they wipe their tears? Will they listen when my babies speak?

Oh, God, take care of my precious children in Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

An Open Letter to Divorced Parents at Christmas,

Hi. I’m Chloe and I’m 16. Divorce happened in my life when I was one year old.

This is the first Christmas I’m looking forward to. Any other year I couldn’t care less if tomorrow was Christmas and to be honest, I learned to dread all holidays.

Today I will be a voice for the four year old who doesn’t understand why this Christmas Mommy is not at Daddy’s house to open presents.

Little kids may not be able to speak out yet so I will for them.

I dreaded picking whose house I wanted to be at and dreaded the stress of hurting someone’s feelings that comes with it.

I also dreaded being forced to go to either house when I didn’t want to go.

My feelings matter.

Half a day here and half a day there is not fun. (And thankfully my parents did not make me do this.)

I dreaded presents I wouldn’t like but was told gift cards are tacky to ask for. They are not. Gift cards are okay to ask for.

I dreaded time with people who made me feel unwanted.

Divorce changes a family but not many people think of how the kid was affected.

You don’t “have” me or “get” me for Christmas.

I “get” chicken pox.

I “have” a rash.

I “have” to “go.”

I “got” a broken arm.

“I have my son for the holidays.”

What? You don’t “have” him like you have a rash. You’re blessed to spend time with him this Christmas. And if you’re truly blessed to spend Christmas with him, then treat him like it.

And don’t let him feel the divorce was his fault. Don’t be fake, either. You’re the grown up and if you want your kid to be part of your family, too, then act like it and take the first step.

While I understand some kids with divorced parents act like they don’t care because they’re getting extra presents, some place underneath it all they actually do care and they’re hurting.

Most of the time I couldn’t care less about the presents because hurt and sad memories were attached to them. Because every time I see the game that was at the top of my wish list, I remember the tears of missing my mom, and of brokenness that went along with this present.

A lot of us feel hurt that Christmas isn’t “normal” (whatever normal is.) Or kids are sad that their family is broken. Or they feel like a bother because Christmas family vacations aren’t whole. Or they feel left out of family events. Being a kid is hard enough. Please don’t add stress of your divorce to my life.

The divorce was not my fault. And I should get to hear that. Often.

Contrary to what many kids from divorced parents think, I know it wasn’t my fault. But I still feel stuck in the middle – because I AM.

I’m stuck between Mom and Dad and words like “biological” and “step.”  (I’m SO done with the word “step.”)

I’m stuck between two homes.

I’m stuck between feelings of brokenness and extra love.

I already feel torn and broken that you guys aren’t married anymore so please don’t add to that by forcing me or guilting me into coming over. I didn’t ask for the divorce and I’m not the grown up.

I’m the little kid who is learning that happily ever after isn’t always true.

Just talk to me.

Even as little kids we understand a lot more than you think we do. Talk with me WITHOUT trashing the other parent. It is okay for me to love Mom and Dad and I can even love new parents and new siblings. God doesn’t limit or divide our love. He increases it.

I get it. You’re grieving. I need time to grieve, too. Something died and it’s okay if I’m upset. Tell me it’s okay that I’m upset. I lost something too. I lost Christmas the way I wanted it to be.

Just love me today and spend time with me today. Pray over me. Remind me it’s okay to love Mommy AND Daddy and all the rest of this messy family – because it IS okay and I should get to hear that.

I will be okay and you will be okay.

I will love you BOTH and anyone else I choose to love – and you need to be okay with that.

I am blessed to get to spend time at Christmas with two parents, even if at separate houses, who love me and are nice to (and about) each other.

A Note from Chloe’s Mom.

Sometimes there are things that we never would have thought of before divorce that are now real life for us.

Celebrating on “the actual date” doesn’t matter anymore. You celebrate when you can and with the people who can be there.  And that’s okay.

You learn to accept that life looks different now – and that is okay. Even if other people don’t understand everything, that’s still okay.  We know that every situation is different.

You pray over your children and encourage them to enjoy time at the other parent’s house. Sure. Let them know you miss them but more people to love and care about any child in a healthy way is a good thing. It is okay for kids to enjoy Christmas at either house. I KNOW it’s rough. I spent many hours crying because holidays didn’t feel whole anymore. In fact, I spent many hours crying over just missing regular, everyday life moments.

If you’re a single mom or dad, we know it’s tough. We’ve been there. A lot of presents aren’t necessary. Your time just hanging out and listening to your kids matters more. If the other parent can afford more presents, that’s okay. If not, that’s okay, too.

We will be okay and you will be okay.

We wish you a peaceful and stress free Christmas – however that looks at your house.

Love, Kerri and Chloe

 

[Note:  Unfortunately, there are many times a child should not be in the care of someone.  Please do pay attention if something seems unsettling.  Everyone involved in a divorce can probably benefit from counseling if needed.]

 

I’ve gotta write about this amazing customer service!

Thank you, Gigi, Jax, Ashleigh, and Nora.  Ladies, you made my Christmas extra special this year. And thank you, Erin, for telling us about this store. Thank you, Chloe, my daughter, for caring about me and being a noticer. Thank you for pushing me to go to this store (because we both know I wasn’t gonna.) You are one of my best friends (even if the world says parents and kids can’t/shouldn’t be friends. When you think about it… the world says a lotta stuff that doesn’t make much sense and makes life more difficult.)

When I receive good customer service I OFTEN write to the company or to an employer praising the great way an employee exceeded expectations. (And when I get crummy service I only occasionally write and am very careful what I say. Maybe the person was having a bad day. Everyone has bad days.)

My husband recently took me shopping at Torrid. Torrid is a women’s clothing store. They have cute jackets, tops, bottoms, shoes, jewelry, undies, bras, and even a few nighties to choose from. AND they have gift cards so you can give this wonderful gift to someone.

I visited there once before and received the same quality of service as this time.

THAT time I was just buying a bra that would fit me (because mine was squeezing me like a corset and I was barely able to breathe.) Thank you, Erin. You are my hero! (I know the correct word is “heroine” but I like the word “hero” better because it sounds cooler.) Because you took my daughter shopping with you for your birthday, she told me about Torrid and now I can breathe again. You made a difference in my life when you shared this amazing treasure of a place with my daughter.

THIS time I tried on about 50 items of clothing.

And they did not hurry me. Not even a little bit!

I just had to write about it.

From the moment I walked in I was greeted by a smiling face and she asked if I was looking for something specific. I was. For many years I haven’t found cute jeans that would fit me. She found a couple pair of jeans and then asked if she could reserve a fitting room for me. (They even wrote my name on the door.)

Every time I’d get a few more hangers over my arm, someone would ask if she could take them to my dressing room. “Yes, please.”

At one time I noticed a woman waiting with an employee near the 4 dressing rooms. 3 were occupied. My room was just holding my clothes in it (I wasn’t ready to try stuff on yet) but they were not letting anyone use my space. They prepared a place just for me! Of course, I offered the room to the customer and she accepted.

I believe every person working spoke to me and nobody rushed me. Since I’ve had kids, many days I have been rushed. That’s not fun. Somewhere in the middle of mommyhood, we realize we better sit down a while because we just really need to. As a mom and wife, I hurry to help my kids, my friends, my kids’ friends, my husband, church, school, and then don’t remember that I haven’t taken time for me to be refreshed.

This shopping visit did just that!

After I was there maybe 10 minutes, tears came to my eyes.

What’s THAT about? OHHH! I’m not being rushed, pulled on, pushed, guilted into, needed, volunteered, or anything but pampered.

PAMPERED! WOW! THIS feels GREAT! I could do this every day! (I won’t do this every day. But I will remember the feeling and take moments for me more often.)

(I LOVE being a mommy and wife. These 2 things are all I ever dreamed about being when I was younger. I absolutely love it. It’s okay to need time to re-energize and regroup. Any job requires that for someone to be able to give more again.)

The employees were all kind to each other. There was no “attitude” when they spoke to each other or to customers. There was a genuine respect in the atmosphere that many companies don’t have between employees.

THAT says A LOT by itself!

I wasn’t in a hurry. They let me keep adding clothes to the room.

When I finished looking through all the beautiful choices and was trying the clothes on, every once in a while one of the girls would ask if I needed a different size or how things were going. (They did this with everyone ~ and it was very kind.) Someone would trade out one size or color for another while I was trying on clothes.

It was like they were there to REALLY HELP me shop!

The girls were professional, fun, silly, friendly, real, polite, and would offer their opinions about an outfit.

I LOVED that!

Even if someone doesn’t like a certain style or color on me, I may still buy it because I like it but I really do appreciate their opinions about whether something looks good on me or not. (I’d always rather hear someone who cares about me or cares how I look tell me in the store if it doesn’t look so flattering than for a hundred people to think, “That looks awful on her,” after I buy it.)

It’s not a reflection of my worth or beauty if a certain style or color does or doesn’t look great. Every body is a different shape and it’s pretty cool that we have so many choices to find the most flattering patterns to fit our body shapes.

At Torrid, (I have to admit this) clothes are a little pricey for every season shopping for me, but they’re good quality and the experience, itself, was WORTH EVERY PENNY to me (and to my husband!)

After deciding on final choices (with the help of my family and 4 sweet employees,) they took the time to find if my mailer coupons or if the in-store promotions were better for me.

It was just a special experience from the beginning and it stayed that way until I went home. I listened to the way they talked with other customers. Every person was treated with respect.

Thank you, ladies, for making this Christmas (and bra shopping a few months ago) a fun and special time. Thank you for NOT rushing me. Thank you for actually caring about my day and for offering your opinions when I tried on clothes. YOU made my Christmas more special this year. I know wherever you work, you will shine and companies would be honored to employ you! Thank you, Gigi, Jax, Ashleigh, and Nora.

[Note: This is not a story about thrift stores but I have to mention how much I LOVE thrift stores. Most of my adult life I have bought my clothes and my family’s clothes (not undies or socks) from thrift stores and garage sales. It’s okay to spend money on clothes sometimes but it’s very fun to be able, when someone compliments my cute shirt, to tell people it was only $2 at a thrift store.

But I’m pretty sure I’ll be visiting Torrid again; maybe for my birthday!

Oh, and I did find some cute jeans, too!]

[Note Too: I find it degrading that some people call some women “plus” size. I believe it would be equally degrading if people called some women “negative” size. It sounds unkind either way to me. Like “You’re too much woman.” or “You’re not enough woman.” There’s a lot I wish would change about this world.

Torrid mostly “sizes” clothes in 0, 1, 2, 3, and 4. And it’s a fun experience just to not see PLUS (or minus) on a sign.

We’re women and we’re ALL beautiful. Period.]

[Note Too Also: You know all those clothes we keep in our closets for 10…20…30… years kinda hoping to wear them again?

I cleaned them out.

THIS actually feels GREAT! (I’ll admit I never could bring myself to do this until now. Not really sure why that took so long. And any small step toward being healthier is better than looking a certain size.)

Try it! Say Merry Christmas to who you are NOW at the beautiful size you are NOW.

It’s actually a LOT of fun!! I never thought it would be. But it’s freeing! And once you really look at who you are and how beautiful you are NOW, no matter what size you are, it’s easier and easier as you go through the closet! I’m so excited for you! It may even turn out to be your favorite Christmas gift to yourself.]

 

Fun ways we give hints for Christmas presents:

(Just something fun we do at our house.)

Let’s say I bought a new sweater as a Christmas present for my daughter.

My daughter, who really wants to know what the present is – and a little bit kinda enjoys NOT knowing what it is – asks for hints as the days go by, trying to guess what is in the box.

Our hints go like this:

You could use it as an umbrella, but I wouldn’t.

You may like to take it for a walk on a leash, but I wouldn’t.

You can paint with it, but I wouldn’t.

You could wear it on your head, but I wouldn’t.

You could eat it, but I wouldn’t.

You can tell time with it, but I wouldn’t.

You could try to read it, but I wouldn’t.

You could heat it in the microwave, but I wouldn’t.

You can wear it on your feet, but I wouldn’t.

You may put icing on it, but I wouldn’t.

Maybe you could use it to start a fire… but I wouldn’t.

(Eventually the questions stop.)

It’s a fun way to give hints without telling someone what the present actually is.

 

 

We are UNhurried schoolers.

We are UNhurried schoolers. It’s a beautiful way to learn!

Yes, we’re homeschoolers.

Yes, we’re unschoolers.

Yes, we’re interest-led schoolers.

Yes, we’ve been public schoolers (many years.)

Yes, we’ve attended private schools (a couple years.)

Yes, we’re teaching our kids about survival, writing, reading, math, history, science, home economics, Bible, financial peace (with Dave Ramsey,) and much more.

But not all at the same time.

The best part about learning with my Homeschool Homies is that we are absolutely NOT in a hurry anymore.

We are learning. We are learning every day (even in the summer and on holidays.) And my kids LIKE it!

Today as I was teaching my 12 year old daughter how to use the sewing machine, I heard one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard in my whole life.

As we were not rushed… (because I do not believe true learning happens as quickly as many teachers are being told they must move…)

As we were not frustrated… (because several projects aren’t due for several classes where each one has a deadline…)

We are not worried about if the teachers would say she did the job “right” enough to pass a standardized test…

We are not focused on 10 different subjects every day.  We focus on 2 or 3 subjects each day.

We are learning to sew. Right now my kids are learning to sew with a sewing machine.

And it’s great!

Some of the most beautiful words I could ever hear came straight from my daughter’s heart today.

“I really like doing this stuff with you, Mommy.”

Praise God for UNhurried learning (and moments) like this.

Praise God for beautiful UNhurried words.

Lord, please UNhurry each of us and show us Your amazing plan for our lives. Amen.

 

“Sometimes I don’t even know I know stuff until I say it out loud.”

Sometimes you just know stuff – just because you do.

That’s a God thing.

These things are called your talents.

Some of the most profound words my youngest child ever said was when she was about 10 years old.

“Sometimes I don’t even know I know stuff until I say it out loud.”

(When I remember her speaking about this epiphany it still makes me smile!)

I told her those are God-given gifts and to always be proud of them. He has given these to us on purpose and for a purpose. We need to ask God what He wants us to do with the talents He gave us. When we do this, it honors Him, gives our lives meaning, and helps us understand more about the reason we’re even here on this Earth.

I used to tell my husband, “I don’t like to learn.”

After years of feeling this way I realized something. I realized that actually I VERY much like to learn.

I like to learn about people and why they think the way they think. I like to learn why people react or respond the way they do to different things in certain situations. I find it fascinating to learn why people are the way they are.

Honestly, if we would work more toward asking God to reveal our kids’ (and our) talents and encourage, research, pray over those more than the school subjects we’re “supposed” to learn “just because that’s how it’s done” maybe more people would be doing what God intended for them to be doing in the first place and not find themselves in dead-end jobs at age 60.

Sometimes you just know stuff – just because you do.

 

Wednesday Letters

Wow! I am this week’s recipient of my youngest daughter’s Wednesday Letter! She brought tears to my eyes. It is a very sweet letter.

It’s due Wednesday morning but she turned it in early. I was surprised to see “Mommy” written on the envelope today.

My oldest daughter is a few letters ahead (but that isn’t a free ticket to miss next week’s letter.)  I still would like them both to turn in a Wednesday Letter every week. Extra letters are always okay.

“Wednesday Letters” is something I prayed about when we began homeschooling and feel God led us to start.

My oldest had had an assignment when she was in public high school where each student was required to write a note to each person in class each week.  This was something I was reminded of when deciding how our homeschool would look.

My kids pray over who they should write letters to and a letter is due every Wednesday morning from each of them.

The letters need to be uplifting, thanking someone for somehow touching their lives, maybe speaking life, or just, “Hey, I noticed when you….”

The reason they are due Wednesday mornings is because if they need to be mailed, the letters may have time to get to the recipients by the weekend (but even if they get there Monday, it’s a pretty cool way to start the week.)

The letters may be emailed, texted, mailed, but written is important. (IF for some reason they cannot be written though, then speaking them to someone on the phone or in person is still a great idea. We don’t want anything to get in the way of getting an encouraging message to anyone.)

This may seem small but it’s turning out to be one of my favorite things (and it’s not just for homeschoolers.)

I am praying this becomes something very big because we ALL could use more encouragement and more noticers in the world.

Being the recipient of this today has made me realize Wednesday Letters may become much more than it seemed at first. It’s truly touched my heart and made my week better knowing my daughter prayed and God put my name on her heart.

I pray this spreads like wildfire. The world is starving for all the blessings that have been left unspoken.

If you decide to write some Wednesday Letters we’d love to hear from you.

Everyone is invited.

 

The world lies. Forties are sexy and fun! There’s no “over the hill” about it.

Coffee, Donuts, and Carnations

When I was a little girl in elementary school my dad would take me to have coffee and donuts sometimes early in the morning before school. I loved it. We’d sit together sipping coffee.  He’d read the newspaper and I got a daddy daughter date.

I remember sitting there with all the business men and thinking how cool that was and what a lucky girl I was to get to do this with my dad.

We weren’t in a hurry.

And I got to get glazed donuts from my favorite donut place.  It didn’t cost much money.   Just a little of his time.  These memories are some of my favorite times I ever had with just me and my dad.

Then when I was in high school my dad would send me a carnation flower for Valentine’s Day and that meant so much to me. It made me feel important.  This was back when the school office would deliver all the flowers to the classrooms.  Many girls would get many flowers and I really appreciate that he took a few minutes to order that one flower just for me.  (Between you and me, I’m pretty sure my mom encouraged dad to do these things and that’s okay.  They created special memories.)

The important thing is that it really doesn’t take big gestures and whole days to make these memories with our kids.  Little girls need their daddies and good, healthy relationships with them.   If there is a healthy, close relationship between a girl and her daddy, then when a boy offers his “love” a daughter makes wiser choices and won’t fall for every boy who shows her attention.

Listen to your daughters speak.  Let them talk about whatever is important to them and engage in the conversation.  Take your daughters on dates to show them how they should be treated.

It just matters.

[Note:  I am a girl so I am writing from a girl’s perspective about her dad.  There are maybe other writers who write from a son’s perspective with mom or dad.  All I know is that a few minutes of real genuine, involved conversation between parents and kids matters.]

Who’s Your Daddy?

Do you have a kid?

Does she like chocolate milk or white milk or no milk at all?

If you give your son a choice between carrots or broccoli which will he choose?

What if your kid has a choice to take the cigarette or other drugs the other kids test him with? Did you MAKE him choose to or not to? No.

If you have a child, most of the time you KNOW what your child will choose
BECAUSE YOU KNOW YOUR CHILD.

People argue that just because God KNOWS your future that means He MAKES you do stuff kinda like a puppet. But this just isn’t true.

God does not MAKE you choose something. He KNOWS you.
He KNOWS which you will choose

BECAUSE
YOU
are
HIS
CHILD.

Get it?

Single? That’s cool. Window shopping? Probably always. What’s on “The List?”

[Note: This is written EXPECTING that the man is a man of good character and not abusing his daughters in any way. And, yes, I do need to mention this. Also I am a mom of two girls so realize this is written from a mom of two girls. I don’t have sons so I’m not writing from that perspective.]

Our oldest daughter was talking about a boy she thought was cute. I asked her what she liked about him. My husband started asking questions too.

I stopped and listened. I just froze. That was so cool. I wondered what that feeling was. What WAS that? It was BEAUTIFUL. Oh, it’s called LOVE. Our girls FEEL valued because daddy CARES who they hang out with.

Dads SHOULD be involved. Dads need to SAY to a boy, “My daughter is so valuable and I am trusting you. I expect you to treat her like you want your mom or sister to be treated.”

Make that list. If you choose to be married what would you want in a husband? I mean the stuff that really matters.

Here’s a start of a list to inspire you. And you are never too young to make “The List.” (not in any particular order)

1. Honesty and integrity in ALL things.

2. Loves Jesus and is a spiritual leader for your home.

3. Faithful to you and only you as his wife. No pornography. Period.

4. He will have a healthy relationship with your kids.

5. Learns what makes you feel loved on and acts on it.

6. Listens to the Holy Spirit to guide him.

7. Supports you in things you know God is leading you to do.

8. OUR money is just that. OUR money. Not yours and mine. Make the budget together.

9. Wait. Wait for God to show you who your husband is. Don’t just marry anyone you think may work. What God brings together let nobody separate.

10. He does not use credit cards. Period. Stuff is not so urgent that you must buy it now and pay it off for years. You want to live debt free. Debt is slavery. Nobody wants to be a slave.

11. You’re worth waiting for.

12. (Keep thinking. Keep praying. I’ll be praying, too.)

___
My daughters gave their list about dating. (This stuff should continue after the wedding.)
~

1. Treat me with respect. I am a person and I have feelings.

2. Open the door for me sometimes.

3. Be a gentleman.

4. Listen to me and really hear what I have to say.

5. Do not act like I’m not there when your friends are around.

6. Don’t cheat on me.

7. Be nice to my friends.

8. Be nice to me.

9. Call me every once in a while.

10. Tell me (sweetly) when I’m annoying you.

___
I asked my husband for his input when it comes to boys who want to date our daughters.
~
Advice to the boys who consider dating my daughters:

1. Get out of your car and ring the doorbell. She is worth it. If you can’t get out of your car to get my daughter and to bring her back and make sure she gets in the house okay then you cannot date my daughter.

2. Before you leave with my daughter and when you bring her home, you will shake my hand and look me in the eyes.

3. Before you can have a relationship with my daughter you have to have a relationship with God.

4. You need a strong work ethic.

5. I want to see how you interact with your mom. Because if you don’t have respect for your mom then you’re not going to have respect for my daughter or me or my wife.

6. Bring her home on time. ALWAYS.

7. Our daughters are valuable and you will treat them as the treasures they are.

8. Whatever you do with my daughter imagine me doing that with you.

Just One More

Just one more hug. Just one more book tonight. Just one more kiss. Just one more.

Why not? We are not promised tomorrow and if time on earth was up, as a human mommy, I’d sure want that one more hug from my daughters right now.

We try not to get upset when the kids come downstairs, after bedtime, to talk to us at night. (When it happens more often, of course, we’re not so happy about it. We’re human.)

But, isn’t it nice that when we want to talk to God just one more time today, He doesn’t ground us. He doesn’t say, “I’ve had a rough day, Kerri, and I’m done for today. Maybe we can talk about it tomorrow.” He doesn’t say to me, “Go to bed. Daddy needs a break. I love you, and I need time to myself.” He JUST loves me. He JUST listens to me.

Just WHO AM I to be able to have just one more talk with Him?

She is Somebody’s Daughter (Pornography)

My marriage was attacked by brokenness.

Women who pose in pornography films and magazines are broken inside. Period. If you could just see the pain inside the heart of the girl in the porn video or magazine, you’d ache for her with a different part of you. You’d want to help her find healing. You’d treat her like the Child of God that she really is. She just doesn’t believe it or know that she really is yet.

She is somebody’s daughter. She is someone’s niece, aunt, sister, mom, grandma, but most importantly she is WORTHY of so much more than the life she’s trapped in.

Pornography was holding my husband’s attention and we did not realize HOW much it was wrecking our marriage. After a few months in marriage counseling my husband and the best marriage counselor on the entire planet came to the same conclusion.

Pornography was the culprit and was destroying our marriage. There is just NO place for it anywhere. Anywhere.

But the problem is that even soft porn is EVERYWHERE. He has to “bounce” his eyes a lot. The sad thing is you cannot UNsee what you saw. Yes God CAN take the images out of your head but sometimes our brains hold onto stuff when we don’t even want it there anymore.

Even now, 4 years after he’s been able to break free from that trap, and it absolutely IS a TRAP, set on purpose to enslave you forever, there are many times that the residual effects crawl out of the corners of the darkness and claw at our marriage threatening to destroy it.

One thing we’ve noticed is that after we’d be together, he wouldn’t speak to me much for about 3 days. This was killing me. I felt like he didn’t care. He sure cared enough a few days ago. He didn’t even realize he was doing it. We figured out together that it was from the past of seeing pornography and then the shame from it just overwhelmed him. Well, if he’s feeling that shame, he may not want to talk to me because it hurt me and he knows it.

But this was our marriage and it was OKAY for him to be together with me. God designed sex for married people. It’s fun and healthy when there is never another person or any other living, breathing anything involved in any way. As long as you both consent, and it’s ONLY you, your spouse, and God, then pretty much your imagination is the limit.

But the trap that pornography IS does THIS kinda damage and lots of it. Sometimes we’re not even aware of as the cycle keeps on going;  Together. He ignores me for 3 days. I feel like I’m invisible.  And this is only ONE example of the damage pornography does.

If you are upset with me for writing about this I apologize. Our kids hear WAY yucky stuff from kids at school, online, and unfortunately we as parents and people at churches mostly don’t talk about healthy sexuality but we MUST talk to our kids. They WILL learn about stuff somewhere and aren’t YOU the very best person to talk to him or her about such important things? I believe that you are.

So I’m just putting this in here to say I’m very sorry if it offends someone to talk about pornography. It unfortunately is a bigger problem than lots of people realize and we just have to take off our blinders and masks and get down to the stuff satan uses to attack our families every day. It’s not easy to talk sometimes but we just gotta.

This may be a forever thing my husband has to work on and I am willing to be here for him and with him. He’s worked very hard to walk away from that.  In fact, he actually ONLY was able to break free because of God’s help.

I’m so proud of him learning to bounce his eyes and save ALL of his desire just for me, his wife.

There’s NO better way to tell a woman she’s beautiful than this very thing.

It’s been a really tough thing to do and with God’s help he was able to get out of that hell. He’s also a great man for other men to talk to about this subject and many have asked his advice and asked about what books have helped him on this journey of freedom.

~
My husband wanted to add to this story:
~
Well my awesome wife posted a story about some of our journey today. After reading what she had written I thought there were a few things that needed to be added so here it goes.

I’m a preacher’s kid and have been in and around church my whole life.

As some of you know we are moving to Alaska. We feel we are being led there. I won’t go in to all the details just now but there have been a lot of things happen and it seems God wants us to go to Alaska and these days I am all about faith. I have turned into a faith-junky-God-loving-Jesus-freak and I can’t see being any other way.

I guess my story starts off around 16 when someone gave me my first pornography video. From that point on life was all about sex.

Around age 21 I went to prison for armed robbery. Why would I get in to armed robbery? Well it all falls back to me not liking me and that is a story in itself. I’ll tell you that one later.

On my way out of prison I went to a work release. It’s a place where the city gives the state a place to put prisoners and in return the prisoners work for the state. My last job working there was for the city electric company and while I really learned a lot, the problem is that’s where my pornography problem picked back up.

The guys there found out I was good at fixing things like TVs and computers so they started bringing computers for me to fix and equipment for me to build new ones. Well guess what? When I went in – no internet. Now there is internet. For those of you who don’t remember, when the internet first came out if you did a search online and you spelled the word wrong it would pull up pornography websites. People who know me know I am the worst speller ever. By the time I got out of prison and was at this job my pornography problem was bigger than ever.

To shorten the story I will jump to me and Kerri getting married. Kerri and I knew each other as teenagers in different church youth groups.  We didn’t know who we were to each other back then.  I have always loved Kerri deeply but there is no way a wife can match up to a fantasy in any way. Through our marriage I worked on beating my addiction to porn and the longer I was married the more I saw the damage it was doing. I got to the point where I only stumbled every great once in a while.

The problem was the effects after watching it were not going away. I prayed and prayed for God to take it from me and to make me see my wife in a new way.

The strangest thing happened. Kerri and I started going to a new church and they were talking about doing a “mustard seed offering.” Up until this point we had given off and on when there was extra money to be given but we had never made a commitment.

The day they took up the mustard seed offering they gave everyone a packet of mustard seeds and they told everyone to write on the packet things that wanted God to do for them. My first two things on the list were a better relationship with God and a better relationship with my wife and kids. Since then we give out of every paycheck, bonus, and gift.

Lately my wife has been asking me what has gotten into me. Why am I liking her so much? Why am I doing things I have never done? And I told her it’s all because of God and my better relationship with Him.

So if you have something you are praying about and nothing seems to be happening maybe it’s your lack of faith that is stopping things from happening. Maybe you’re not being able to move on from a sin you’re struggling with because you’re not acting on faith or maybe you’re not letting go so God can take control.

So here’s my challenge to you; If there is something in your life you have not acted on because of some reason take a leap of faith, put it in God’s hands and see how wonderfully your life changes.

~
It’s sad when some people react to us like, “DUDE! Don’t they ‘know better’ than to say that kinda stuff?!” Our reaction is, “Dude, don’t you know YOU NEED to talk about that kinda stuff?! You NOT talking about it could be stopping someone God has put in your path who needs healing, but because you are afraid to speak, you are not helping them.”

God whispers stuff to us ALL THE TIME

I love when my daughter doesn’t mind me fixing her hair. She JUST does NOT care if her hair is fixed or if her clothes match or what people may think of that. She’s pretty carefree about that kinda stuff. She has way more important things to do and think about than these things.

She’s too tall now to fix her hair while she’s standing so it’s more convenient if she sits down. When I’m fixing her hair I constantly find myself reminding her to look up (because she is ALWAYS reading a book) and I need her chin up so I can blow dry her hair so it goes back and not forward.

I can’t help but think God is doing that to us ALL THE TIME!
LOOK UP. Hey, look up. Please look up. You know this is easier if you will just keep looking up.