My oldest son saw a sign that read something like, “Heaven or Hell? Call this number…”, He asked me, “Mom what happens when you call that number?” After telling him it was for those who might be struggling with their faith and needing ministering to, kind of like his Daddy and I do with our addictions ministry, he responded, “Oh… I thought it was like a machine that told you if you were going to heaven.” I thought about that the rest of the day. I kept comparing this imaginary machine to a blood glucose test; just prick your finger every so often to make sure you’re numbers are still reading normal for your way into heaven. Wouldn’t that be something? I could see it now, people lining up to check and make sure their Monday through Saturday lifestyle wasn’t catching up with them and causing their numbers to slip into the red. Uh oh! I know very well, several occasions, where I would have been in the red if not an unrecognizable reading. Fortunately for us it doesn’t work like that. There is not a man-made machine that is going to tell us heaven or hell. It’s our actions, our words, and how we choose to live our life here on earth until judgment day when God calls us home. Our God is a forgiving God, but that doesn’t give us the right to do and say what we please with the intention of an automatic apology waiting for us on the other side. I have lived in sin, not feeling any kind of conviction or remorse for my actions, and I can tell you from experience that life compared to the life I live today, the life where I get up asking God to forgive me of my sins and pressing forward seeking His guidance to be a better person, a better mother, a better wife, daughter, and friend than I was yesterday, this life… it’s incomparable and the life I want to continue to live so I know without a shadow of a doubt I don’t need a machine to tell me heaven or hell. I already know the answer!
I don’t think I ever thought I would wind up being a stay-at-home Mama. I think a part of me always wanted to be, but having grown up with two working parents who did so to make ends meet, the other part of me figured I would follow in their footsteps stepping into a career after I graduated college, but as God would have it I am able to stay-at-home with my babies and I wouldn’t have it any other way. However, some days are much easier than others and there are many days I ask my working husband to trade places; but even at the end of those, running-on-fumes, just about pulled all of my hair out of my head kind of day, I still thank God I get to be a stay-at-home Mama. Things may not always be ideal financially, for lack of a second pay check, but God provides and we make it work because this is the life He has chosen for me. I have the utmost respect for working Mama’s and constantly ask them how they manage to juggle all that they do, but regardless if one stays at home or works seven days a week, trusting in the Lord always will reveal the perfect plan He has chosen for each and every one of us.
As I’m walking through the house grumbling to myself of all the things undone unconsciously flipping off and on the light switches, turning the water on and off to wet the rags to clean the house which lay under the roof over my head I immediately realize just how blessed I am to have a house to clean with working appliances and running water, clothes on my back and shoes on my feet, and food in my cabinets to cook and eat and fill my belly. Needless to say those grumbles soon turned into a full heart of gratefulness. I will still have days where I don’t want to whistle while I work and I look at the lives of other’s and wonder why I don’t have what they have; I am only human, but I am also a child of God and very grateful that on those day’s He reminds me just how much He has and ALWAYS provides for me and my family and rather than counting how much I’m lacking in life, or how much I have left to do in a day’s time, I need to always be counting my blessings!
After dropping off my 8 year old at school this morning, my 18 month old and I went to the grocery store to pick up some more candy for our upcoming Easter Eggstravaganza at our church. While I made my way up and down the aisles to make sure I didn’t need anything else, as I normally do, knowing I’m just wasting time, I couldn’t help but notice my little boy waving and telling everyone he saw hi. Grinning from ear to ear, not knowing who they were, but spreading his love with a simple wave and the word hi. From one side of the store to the other I watched as my 18 month old, barefoot with bananas all down his shirt, put a smile on every single person’s face that he came in contact with. It didn’t matter the color of their skin, the clothes they were wearing, or what their current expression was; he told every single person hi. He probably made half of those people’s days. If only we could have that child-like faith and innocence. So many times we are too quick to judge someone for their actions or appearance not knowing what they have been through or are going through. I know for me, I’m going to take one out of my child’s playbook… I’m going to smile and wave and say hi because I may just be the only one who puts a smile on their face that day and one day I may be on the receiving end and hope someone smiles at me. Today, my son proved that smiling is contagious; now that’s something worth sharing and spreading around!
What is faith? Faith is that hand you can’t let go of when you feel like you’re slipping. It’s the whisper in your ear to keep going even in those moments where you feel like giving up. Faith is what you hold onto when it seems like God is not listening or He’s not there. Faith is believing and trusting in the Lord always, despite your circumstances. It’s knowing that He is ALWAYS there, that His plan for all of us is far greater than we could ever imagine, and it’s trusting in Him always that He knows what is best for us. I’m sure you’ve heard some people say their luck has run out, or talk about the law of averages, or things can’t get worse, they can only get better from here; it’s not that simple and that’s NOT how it works. Like the song goes “you gotta have faith”. I don’t believe in luck and more than likely it’s not just a coincidence, and it’s not laws of averages. It’s God and faith is trusting in Him always.
I may not achieve everything I have set out to conquer in this life, but one thing I know I have succeeded at (that actually makes me the proudest I could ever be) is being a Mama! Just the simple reminders of little brother running up and grabbing me around the knees and then big brother still needing loves at night with bunny kisses makes everything I am striving for standstill; and it’s in that moment I am reminded if I don’t do anything else in this life I will know I am raising my little boys right to grow up to be God-fearing men! Our God is an on time God; make that a RIGHT ON time God and it is in His time that HIS will for each and every one of us will be done. “Perhaps this is the moment for which you have been created” (Esther 4:14). “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (Ephesians 2:8-10 New Living Translation).
Most people have probably heard the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words”, and while hopefully, for most, when you think of that saying, a good memory, a family vacation, or a favorite picture of a loved one comes to mind. I have a ton of those too, but for this picture that is not the case. This picture doesn’t just speak a thousand words, it tells a story of the darkest time in my life. This picture is not just a picture of a liquor store; it’s a reminder of when I hit rock bottom. You see, for lots of people this is just a picture of a liquor store, a place to go to grab a bottle of wine for an evening with the girls or a case of beer for a football party or lake trip, so before I begin, I have no intention for this to offend anyone who drinks or owns/works at a liquor store because, as most of you know, some of the ones I love the most drink, but responsibly, sociably, and moderately. THAT is the difference here. This is the place which held the substance that I longed for, the place that held a permanent thought in my brain of who, what, when, where and HOW was I was going to get my next bottle of vodka, and also the place where I would literally sit out in the parking lot at 6:50 am waiting for the doors to open at 7. You see this wasn’t just a liquor store for me… this was my addiction provider, my blood alcohol level of .325, my misery and almost my death. This is where, at this point in my life, I would rather go to than any other store with my own son. This is where even after seizures and dropping to 110 pounds soaking wet I would retreat to once again to retrieve my vodka. This is a reminder of my hell and I thank God every day that He brought me out of it. In rehab you learn when you first get out of treatment to avoid people, places, and things that remind you of your addiction, or could hinder you from your recovery. Well I refused to stay away from family and this place is literally on just about every street corner in Louisiana, not to mention in stores and restaurants that I LOVE to go to, so THANK GOD, literally, I had SOMEONE else to turn to when I came faced with my “addiction” just about every day. That is why I give GOD all the glory for my recovery. Yes, rehab gave me sobriety time, the meetings and the counselor’s provided extremely important information and guidance as to how to begin my recovery, but it was GOD who first opened my heart, my eyes, my ears, and my mind to stay in treatment, to accept help, to listen to others, and to choose the path in which He paved for me to further my recovery, share with others, and be able to drive by the place in this picture with a humble and grateful heart that I survived because God said He wasn’t done with me yet! This picture is a memory of the darkest time in my life, and while I still have flashbacks or upsetting thoughts when I drive by one of these stores, those are fortunately becoming lesser and fewer in between, and now the darkness is a beautiful reminder of EVERYTHING God has given me and EVERYTHING I have to live for, and the hope to be the LIGHT in someone else’s life. Thank y’all for reading and God bless!
My Grammy was an extraordinary woman. She was a single Mom who worked her way up from a beautician, to a school counselor, to eventually becoming one of the most well-known, award winning principals in the area. Growing up, she was tough… always pushing my sister and I to do better, to work for what we had and what we wanted, and to never settle for less. She was the one who always told me I could be whatever I wanted to be and always told me I would wind up being her doctor. If only I could have been and figured out a way to rid her body of the cancer that would wind up taking her life 6 months after her retirement, 2 weeks after my 19th birthday, and before any of our adventures could be full-filled. However, I have to say I have learned more about her and from her since she has been gone. Her strength is what I search for, her wisdom is what I want, and just half the woman she was is what I hope to be. With God’s guidance and my Grammy’s legacy of strength, wisdom, courage, and such grace, I will not let my fear be bigger than my faith!
What is life? For me, it is what you make it. It’s what and who you decide to fill it with and at the end of the day it’s what you choose to do with it; but what is life to you? I spent a part of my life so wasted and numb to everything around me I couldn’t tell you left from right. I’ve lived through deaths of loved ones due to cancer, unthinkable accidents, and even suicide. I’ve seen legacies built and I’ve seen those left behind to pick up the pieces of broken hearts. None of us know when are time here on earth is up unless we decide to take it, but either way life is but a minuscule piece to a much larger puzzle. That puzzle being what pieces you decide to put together in your life… the ones God chooses for you or the ones you choose with the world. We live in a world full of opinions, judgments, and many different beliefs, but what is it all for? For the greater common good, as most would say, but is what you’re doing going to help lead other’s, when you’re not here, to the place where you’re going when you die? There is enough ugliness in the world; choose to be the light in someone’s life. I have lived in darkness and I have looked death and the devil in the face and I don’t take life for granted anymore. I know just how precious life can be and just how quickly it can be taken. So I choose today to spend my life not only living and loving, but telling other people about Jesus so they, too, know where they will spend eternity.
“And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15 NKJV)
“that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:15-17 NKJV)
“Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32-33 NKJV)
- Today’s choices of words included, but unfortunately were not limited to those like “flipping idiot”. Yes you read that right and yes I realize that those words are neither faithful nor graceful, but it’s the truth of the matter. I want this page to not only be inspiring, but I want it to be honest and portray the real me and today was one of those days. However, at the end of the day, after what I’m calling my “moments of weakness” it is because of my faith and grace that I am able to feel conviction over those instances and realize I could have probably handled that a better way. I am human with flesh as real as this world and I’m going to have those days and because of that I’m going to share with y’all the good and the bad because regardless God gets me through and blesses and forgives and understands and teaches me all even during my “moments of weakness”.