How to Become a Royal Mess – Part 2

Ok, let me start off by saying that I am sorry this second post has taken longer than I originally intended. LIFE.  Am I right?

Now, to the second part of my story.  The part where it gets good.  I’m honestly at a loss where to even begin.  I can honestly say that my life has been radically changed in so many ways over this past year that I could more easily count all the stars in the sky.  But, this has become my story, my ministry and I choose to be obedient to what God has called me to.  I am to be a light for others who are questioning where God is in the midst of their suffering and pain.  He is there.  Not only is He beside you the entire way, He has also gone before you and prepared your future in such an intricate way that beautifully intertwines your mistakes, your pain, your gifts and talents, your experiences and so many other details that you may never even realize into something beautiful.

I came out of that hospital an utterly broken person.  I could barely stand on my own two feet.  I had spent a good part of the prior year completely alienating myself from my family and other people who cared for me deeply.  And guess who was waiting for me with open arms on the other side of those hospital doors…all of them.  God has literally spent this entire past year loving me, taking care of me, giving me rest and healing me THROUGH different people in my life and their unique image of God himself.  There are so many facets and layers and characteristics of God’s love that they literally cannot be contained in one human being.

I was the very image of the "Prodigal Son" and God met me where I was at and lifted me off of the ground so that he could heal me, love on me, show me the depths of his forgiveness, and bestow on me a feast of blessings.  If I wrote the details of each and every blessing that He has given to me during this time, it would fill an entire book.  My sincere desire for you, as you read this, is that you will grasp just how LOVING and FORGIVING our Father truly is.  I had lied, betrayed people that I professed to love, only thought of myself and my own happiness, and so many other things that I had never realized I was capable of.  I lost people I loved and considered to be family because I didn't protect our frienships like I should have and God forgave me for ALL of that before I even forgave myself. 

Now, I said that I think in bullet points and this is the perfect place for them.  I now give you an EXTREMELY brief list of how God has loved me and blessed me over the past year:

  • FAMILY – As dysfunctional as families can be, when push came to shove, mine was there for me. They have walked with me and held me up when I couldn’t do it for myself more times than I can count.  Mom, Dad, Lesli…you have all been SUCH great examples to me of God’s infinite love and I can only hope that I have the opportunity to show that kind of love towards you one day.
  • Yes, my marriage DID fall apart. We both made mistakes and hurt one another deeply.  But, I can truly say that THROUGH that, God created a truly unique and deep friendship between us that is unwavering.  Mike is my BEST friend and I could not be more thankful for him as my best friend and as the father of our daughter.  He is honestly one of the best men that I know and I am grateful that we have the relationship that we do.
  • The DAY I was released from the hospital, I received and email from a pastor that my favorite professor from college (shout out to Dr. Craver!) referred to me for a position as Director of Family Ministry. After speaking to Dr. Craver and getting his encouragement to just meet with the pastor, I prayed A LOT and told God that I was just going to lay it all out on the table with him during my interview.  If the church chose to hire me anyway, I knew it had to be from Him.  Well, they did.  They hardly batted an eye and the blessings and lessons that have come from my experience as the Director of Family Ministry with them are innumerable.  I have formed some life-long friendships that were tailor made for exactly what God knew I needed.
  • My daughter, Bella, has been the most innocent victim of the fallout from the last couple of years and yet she has shown me more grace and strength than I could have ever given her credit for. She is the most forgiving, comforting, kind, and hilarious child I have ever known.  I am just plain blessed to be her mother.  Our relationship has grown by leaps and bounds through all of this and she has been a direct source of healing for me more than she will ever know.
  • One final blessing I will share:

God has shown me my purpose THROUGH my pain.  I am no longer the person I was a year ago.  I had to die to myself in order for him to form me into who he created me to be.  Would I ever want to experience that amount of pain EVER again?  No.  But, I can genuinely stand here today, on the other end of the tunnel, and tell you that it was COMPLETELY worth it.  I have peace that I have never known.  I have strength that I never thought I was capable of.  And I have an empathy for others who have found themselves in pits that they were thrown into or that they created themselves.

I am a MESS!  But, I am also the beloved daughter of the King of the Universe…and that make me a ROYAL mess.

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To be continued…

Ladies,

I am so sorry that I have not updated the daily devotionals in several days.  I am currently recovering from minor surgery and I should have considered that when I decided to start the Bible Study when I did.  I will resume our study as soon as I can.  Thank you for your understanding.

How to Become a Royal Mess – Part 1

Exactly one year ago today I had a nervous breakdown and spent the next week in a psychiatric hospital.  I know that is a pretty blunt statement to start out with for my very first blog post but it is THE reason I decided to start blogging.  I don't want to hide who I was back then or the results of my poor choices in life because then God's blessings and his purpose for the pain would never be seen to fruition.  I don't know about you but if I am struggling with something that major, I want to talk to someone who can empathize and give me some hope from the other side of the tunnel.  So, this is what I hope this blog will be for you...a shining light to help you find your way out of that dark tunnel you may be in.  I get it.  I have been there.  

Don't worry, I am not going to drag you through all the many details of how everything I knew fell apart but you do need to know where I was at so you know that I was and still am, on occasion, a COMPLETE royal mess!  In the span of a year, I came close to dying in an emergency surgery, I became enmeshed in some EXTREMELY toxic friendships, I became an alcoholic, I was physically assaulted, and my marriage of 16 years fell apart.  Somehow I had made it through all of that but on this particular night, everything came to a head.  I made an extremely difficult decision that needed to be made but, unfortunately, it did not come without collateral damage.  The complete disdain and anger that I felt coming from someone who I loved very much but who I hurt as a result of my decision was the last straw.  I had hit rock bottom and the old me died that night.  

Ok, I want to take a little bit of an intercession here to give you a break from reading.  I am notorious for losing interest in blogs that go on and on.  I typically think in bullet points and, I promise, all future posts will be more short and to the point.  So, take a break and come on back tomorrow when you are no longer pulling your hair out from ALL THE WORDS.  

Day 6 – November 7, 2016

Today's Scripture:

Genesis 16:1 - 20:18  

There are quite a few questions today.  We had a lot to cover and there are so many aspects of these particular Scriptures that need to not go unnoticed.  Many times, we tend to skim over certain details as we are reading and, as a result, we miss out on some important insights and truths.

  1. What did Sarai do to Hagar?
  2. What did the angel tell Hagar to do?
  3. What promise was given to Hagar?
  4. What was prophesied about Ishmael?
  5. What land was promised to Abraham and his descendants?
  6. What was the token of this covenant between God and Abraham’s descendants?
  7. How does circumcision relate to water baptism?  (Colossians 2: 11-14)
  8. Who did God say He would establish his covenant with?
  9. What didn’t the Lord hide from Abraham in chapter 18?
  10. What question did Abraham ask the Lord?
  11. What was the progression of Abraham’s intercession with the Lord?
  12. For how many righteous people would have the Lord spared Sodom?
  13. Why did the angels have to take hold of Lot’s hand?
  14. How does verse 24 compare to Revelation 20:10, 14-15, 21:8?
  15. Why did Jesus say “Remember Lot's wife”? (Luke 17:32)

Day 2 – November 3, 2016

Today's Scripture:

Genesis 5:1 - 6:22

Questions to consider from today's reading:

  1. What do you think the author's purpose was for listing the genealogies?
  2. Who do you think the "Sons of God" and the "Nephilim" are? (See also Numbers 13:33)
  3. What brought you to your conclusions?

Observation:

Notice God's attention to detail in His instructions to Noah.  We truly have a God who is sovereign in all things, even down to the tiniest details.  He knows better than we do about what will keep us safe and out of harms way.  Noah's story would have had a very different outcome had he not heeded the words of God.

Day 1 – November 2, 2016

Introduction to Genesis:

The very foundation of our faith lies in the opening verse in Genesis.  “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”  The authority in which Scripture states this indicates that there is no sitting on the fence between belief and unbelief.  Just as Jesus clearly stated that He is the Son of God, this verse shows us the power and majesty of His father.    Either Jesus was a good man who was also telling the truth about who He is OR what he claimed was a fallacy and He could no longer be viewed as a great man.  We put our complete faith in Jesus Christ for our salvation.  Genesis lays the groundwork for every essential doctrine that we believe and WHY we put our faith in Jesus and our loving Creator who sent Him.

Today's Scripture:

Genesis 1:1 - 4:26