Monday, September 09, 2013

Rejoicing with those who rejoice

So it's been a while. I'm starting to wonder if I ever will blog again with out starting out with that phrase.
It's been a heck of a month. We've moved into a house of our own. Which means, we bought a house.  :)
I'm so, so over it.
There has just been a lot happening here.
I really wish I could share some of what has been on my heart.
There are just some prayers that you have to leave between you and God. Sometimes those are the most painful, most personal and most important prayers of your life.
For those of you who are DYING for details (mother), sorry, it isn't happening.
I'm really ok. God and I are still walking. Al and I are awesome.
I'm just fighting through some of the "wait" answers to prayers that are anoying.
I hate waiting.
I know of no person alive who loves it.
But for people who hate it, we sure do a lot of it.
Right now my biggest struggle is to see others get there answers with a snap while I sit... and sit... and sit.
I know in my heart that the reality of that other person's life is not something I would want to trade for.
We all have that something that is off. We all have THAT thing in our lives.
It's the thing you think about when you wake up, all during the day, and right before you sleep.
It's always there. It's just the wait.
It's a struggle sometimes. Sometimes it seems like you have a handle on where you are.
Then BOOM.
It's a struggle to put your heart into rejoicing when other's get their answer.
It just is. I bet you're thinking I'm going to put a prayer bow on this huh?
Tonight I have nothing.
No advice.
No wisdom.
Just the wait.
I know He hears. I know He has not forgotten. I've seen Him answer.
But I'm still waiting.

So I'll leave you with this song, which has been my companion in personal worship for a little while.

Waiting on God

Sunday, August 11, 2013


Tomorrow starts round two of the START Experience. We've just completed round one. I didn't get everything accomplished that I had set out to do, but I did get some clarity on what I should be doing. That may make no sense to anyone else. But it's big to me :O)

So for round two:
More consistency in my writing.
Sharing my writing.
Asking for some bold critiques. But I'm not a fan of being critiqued. (Who is?!)
Round two is coming on much as round one did. This is a busy time for me. We're closing on the house in just a little over two weeks. I'm having surgery in THREE days.
There is a lot going on. 
But I keep asking myself this question: "When is there not a lot going on?"
Things are probably just going to get busier from this point on. So this is a good time to learn some time management skills and just suck it up!  /pep talk

Meanwhile, I keep praying for something very specific and unsharable. I keep believing that God is in control. I keep praying that He will just HURRY THE HECK UP.  but i try to be patient in the mean time....

In this moment, I am going to live like tomorrow is my answer day. For this moment I am going to walk forward in absolute faith that tomorrow is my day.  

Here's all my hope.

- Take that fear!


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Fear in Hope

I mentioned that I am going through this 24 day challenge. The assignments so far have definitely been a challenge. :O)
As I've been walking through this new journey several things have happened that could easily sideline my dream and my START.
First up, and a big prayer request for you who read here, last weekend while coming home from Houston I had some major stomach pain. In the course of figuring out what to do and finally getting some relief, I discovered a little knot in my stomach. It's not near any of the surgery sites really. I thought hernia, but the doctor has looked at it and does not know exactly what it is except that it is an "abdominal mass."
So, I get to have surgery on the 14th to take the little thing out of there and get it checked out.
Prayers in the wait would be super. Oh, and prayers that it is just a wayward stitch or something equally benign.

Now that I have that news out of the way!

During even the first part of this journey I have hit upon a fear that I had not really examined before. I am calling it the fear in hope.
I think I am on the verge of some big, big things happening in my life. But I am terrified to hope for them.
It's an odd, nonsensical feeling really.
I want this to happen. I need this to happen.
But I am scared to really hope for it.
I think there are a few reasons.

Hope means that I am fully believing that this is going to happen.
    Which means "what if?
What if it doesn't happen?

Hope means that I really want things to change.
    But in many, many ways I adore the life I have NOW.
So do I really want things to change?

Hope fulfilled means that life, as I know it now, is going to be drastically different.
    What if I am not ready for that after all?
What if, what I think I want, is a trap? Or I am not cut out for it?

I was reminded (while writing some lyrics the other night), that most of life is lived in the "But if not."

I believe with all my heart that big changes are on my horizon. Things are about to get rolling that I could not have envisioned this time last year. Big. Things.

But if not, if things go haywire or not at all as I had planned....

If the worst thing imaginable happens instead, I still trust. I still hope for a future that God has specially prepared for me.
With all my planning and dreaming, what He has in store is infinately much better.

Even through the fear behind this hope, I trust that He is working this for my good.

What if what I had planned is only a doorway? What if what comes next is bigger than I am even capable of dreaming?

My future.
    His hands.
His plans.

I can rest there.



Tuesday, July 16, 2013

STARTing over

Well, we seem to be back to once a month again. But I am determined not to fall back into that pattern.
There are exciting things happening in my world right now.
Al and I are looking to buy a house. We're currently smack dab in the middle of VBS week at church. We're doing the games. It's a hoot!
We just got back from Houston to see our friend Matt.
And there are probably a dozen other things I am forgetting.  :)
Personally, the biggest thing happening right now is a 24 day challenge "START" that I started on Monday.
It came from a challenge by Jon Acuff via twitter.
When we started we had no idea what we were getting into.
It's been very challenging and very encouraging. (I like to throw as many adverbs as I can in a sentence).
My "risk" for myself was to start writing music again and to actually share it with people. It's kind of a big hairy deal for me.  But I'm rolling with it.
Each day I am writing a little bit more. I'm hoping that encourages me to blog as well but time will tell.
Ok.  Now I need to go write people.
Happy Tuesday.
Make Wednesday awesome. You're worth it!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Year Later

So it's actually been a year as of June 12th.
I've been silent here the last month or two.
As usual, that was not intentional.  :)
One of the interesting things that happens when you share your struggles and journey is that people feel free to ask you questions. I really love that.
I love that people feel like they can ask me about what is happening on their journey. I love that I get to share about where I have been and where I am going.
Right now much of life seems about the numbers.
1 year since surgery.
10 months since saying "I Do"
6 months since finding a job I really love.
117 pounds of massive change that have revolutionized my life.
Things are so different now.
However the really nutty thing to me is how many things stay the same.
A friend once told me that all life is waiting for something else.
Wow, I have never realized how valid that was until lately.
This phase in life is more about waiting than any other phase in my life.
That seems insane to type out and read. But it is true.
I think one of the most dangerous phases occurs right after you have gotten something you have longed so much for in life.
It's almost distorting to everything else. I wish I could make that make sense a little more.
However that would mean sharing something that I am just not able to share right now.

Well on to something fun, like my before and after so far...
Night before my surgery, part of me truly hates this picture but I keep it as a reminder, and today! :O)

Happy Sunday everyone.
Make it a great day!

Monday, April 01, 2013

Sounds Like a Case of the Mondays

Ok, so every two weeks blogging is better than once a month.
Good. Thanks for affirming my life choices.  :)
After much deliberation, I have decided to boycott Mondays.
Who needs em?

Now that that is out of the way let's get onto our topic at hand.

I don't actually have one.
That is all.

Just kidding (or April Fools if you like).

Right now life is super busy. I realize that it is only going to get busier from here.
Lately I seem to spend a lot of time remembering this time last year when I could barely get out of the house. I was knee-deep in wedding planning and having to rely on everyone else to get anything done.

I am so very thankful that God brought me through that season. I am also thankful for the many, many people who were the hands and feet of Jesus to me through those years.
I will never forget what I learned during those times of being completely dependent for some of the simplest things.

I think that is why my mindset, even after a crap-tastic Monday like today, is to be thankful.
I am thankful to have a job to go to.
I am thankful to have a husband to come home to.
I am thankful that even the overwhelming things will one day have an end.

No matter what situation you are in, things will change.
Great lives will go through tough times.
Those of you in tough times can cling to the promise that things will get better (I can't say when... but I can say "will").

So much of life is learning how to be joyful where you are.  Notice, I did not say happy. Happy comes and goes.
Joy is so much deeper.
I have found the secret. As great as things are right now, they are not perfect. There are some things happening right now that I would just like to move on past. But I don't have that choice.
I do have the choice to continue to walk through.
I have the choice to remember that God is faithful.
He is.
I trust that all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose.
So Monday -  (insert that raspberry sound that you make with your mouth and tongue here).
Take that!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Change In A Moment

I'm not sure why I'm on this track tonight. But I'm just going to go with it since I need a blog post... and here it is.  :O)
Life is fleeting.
It can change (snap your fingers) that fast.
Every second we make decisions.
Sometimes I think some of our biggest decisions come to us in a snap decision that we may not even process.
Obviously some of our bigger decisions are clearly big decisions.
But not all of them are that obvious.
Random? Possibly.
Confusing thought? Maybe

Here is why I mention the fleeting-ness and the randomness together.
You never know when you will be faced with a life altering moment or decision.
And, beyond that, you never know when this decision will be your last.
Now I'm not saying this to be fatalistic.
I myself hope to have about 60, or so, more ornery, fun-filled years ahead of me.
But what if I do not??

Tonight I want to determine in my heart and mind that I will take life as it comes.
I will be intentional about loving well.
I will be conscious of chances to reach out to the people who "do life" around me every day.
I will stay in God's word and "prayed up" so my decisions will match His heart as best as they can.
I will be intentional about loving... WELL.

No matter if you  have 4 hours, 4 days or 40 years left, today is a chance to touch someone's life. It may be in a large way like buying groceries (or paying rent) for that single mom you know. It may be in a smaller way like telling your neighbor (whose dog makes you INSANE) that you are praying for them.
Whatever you can do. You should do.
Don't waste a day my friends.
Be the change that we so desperately need in this world.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

All That I Have To Say

I keep thinking of things that I want to update here... mostly on break/lunch at work.
But by the time I can actually post they are gone.
Maybe I should be taking a notebook around with me again.  :O)
In the meantime let's see what I can come up with to update you a little bit.
Things around me just seem a little strange lately. I'm having a lot of "is this really my life?" moments. I don't know how to explain them really. I had gotten so used to life as it was in the past.
I knew how to do life as it was.
Life, as it is now, is super good. But I don't know how to take it.
I think it is very probable that not a single person will understand that statement.
But it's where I am.
It hit me today while I was walking back to my desk at work. Life is just good. It's plain old good.
It's dang-near carefree.
And I really don't know how to handle that.
It's not that things are perfect.
On the contrary there are a few pretty big "God" things that I am praying on right now.
There are some situations happening right now that I need Him to move in. He has to step into them.
I've done everything that I can do and I literally would do harm trying anything else. These are situations where I must wait, watch, pray, and hope.
But those situations stem from an answered prayer that still blows me away.
It's true that our journey of faith involves steps that build upon each other. I am waiting with confidence today because of the answered prayers of yesterday.
Does that make the waiting easy?
I'd be lying if I said yes to that.  :O)
But does it make it easier... yes.
And that is something in itself.

Patiently (sometimes at least) Waiting

Monday, February 11, 2013

100 Pounds in 7 months

Sorry I'm a bit delayed in getting this posted.  :)
I finally hit the 100 pounds lost mark on January 26th.
I'm actually 2 pounds lighter than that now.  Less than 25 to go until goal - which is insane to type!
I think this is going to be long. So I'll put the stuff you probably came to see up front. :)
But I also wanted to give some thoughts on where I am physically, emotionally, and spiritually at this point in the journey.
First up - a few pictures!
This is my most recent picture. It was taken yesterday at a little get-together to meet my friend's newest little bundle Rowan (isn't he precious?).
This is the first picture I can remember in a long time where I didn't pick out a single thing I didn't like. I think it helps that my companion is so stinking cute!

Meanwhile we had an incredibly long day and I got to go through all of it pain free. Bonus!

These next few pics are  my official "100 Pounds Lost" pictures. They were taken by my friend Becky in the dressing room of a store that shall remain nameless here. I think I'm going to go back and get this blue dress the second it goes on sale and maybe the purple one too!

Trying on clothes is almost enjoyable again. This little shopping trip did net me some painful days. But now that I know carrying around clothes for that long can be a trigger to back pain, I'll just take along a pack mule... or a cart maybe. :)

So now that we have dispensed with some pictures let's chat a bit about what life is like.
Things are different. At 8 months (tomorrow!) post-op I can eat almost anything I want. I'm still following the rules pretty closely right now. But nothing is truly off limits. There are still some things that I know will make me sick but avoiding them is a good trade off for what I have gained!

Right now I'm starting to think about the changes that I want to make in my life to keep the weight off long term.  I think that probably will get itself a separate post sometime soon.

Unfortunately, due to my insurance lapse with the job situation, I missed my 6 month checkup with Dr. Roller. But I get insurance back very soon and his office will be my first call!
The key to the follow up visits is the support but also the lab work to see where my levels are right now. At my 3 months I was very deficient in some areas. I think things have changed for the better because the symptoms that went along with it are gone.

I still struggle with how I see myself. I've read a lot of other blogs and message boards and that seems to be common. I have no idea what size I actually am.
I struggle to go into the normal sizes section in the store. I actually have this sense that other women are looking at me and are like "shouldn't you be in the plus size section?" Which is insane. But it's where I am with my mindset.
The other day my friend handed me pants to try on. I didn't even look at them. Once I had them on she said "those,  my friend, are size 12. They fit perfectly.
I've never worn size 12 pants. Never, ever. When I started this whole deal my "go-to" pants were a size 26. From a 26 to a 12 in 7 months - unreal!

Emotionally there is also still a struggle right now. Food was my coping choice for a long, long time. Life without that immediate release is different. Finding new ways to deal has been a challenge for sure.

Well this got long fast. So I am going to stop here.
I'm going to do my best to not go another month in between posts and get back to at least once a week.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Ebenezer - Part Two

Almost three years ago I wrote this post: Ebenezer.  The verses mentioned from 1 Samuel were, and still are, very important to me. This verse is all about marking the moments when God has done something amazing in your life.

 - Thus far the Lord has helped us -

The past few years have been a bit traumatic and dramatic. Things have changed rapidly.
So many times during these last three years I have wondered what God could possibly be doing. I have cried. I have pleaded. I have begged. I have surrendered... then surrendered again.

Thus far the Lord has helped me.

After coming through, what I sure hope was, the roughest time in my life, I can say that God was there.

He was there even when I had my doubts. He was there when I could not feel Him.
He was there.

Thus far the Lord has helped me.

Could I doubt that He will continue?
Not really. Not after all that I have seen.

This picture was taken by my sweet friend Carol in church two Sunday mornings ago.
It's miraculous to me for a few reasons.
And that is why I feel that this moment here, that one in the picture up there, is an Ebenezer.

1 - I'm singing with my HUSBAND y'all. I'm seriously, actually married. After 36 YEARS of single, God blessed. And this man is so beyond what I could ever have hoped or prayed for.

2 - I'm in church and I pretty much can always count on getting to be there. For three years, that was not the case. Now I get to be a regular again! :O)

3 - I'm singing, in front of people. If you've followed me for long, you know that is a pretty big miracle too. I told God I would never, ever, ever do that!

Thus far the Lord has helped me.
And I know that He will continue.

He is good. He does what is good.
You can trust Him.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Hi. My Name is Gina and I am Insecure.

So for the last little bit of time God has been dealing with me in a very specific area.
I think I've tried to avoid this one for a while because I just didn't want to really get into it.
But if there is one thing you can count on, it's that "issues" don't just go away on their own.  :)
Ok, maybe yours do. Mine do not!
I've been super focused on some of the things that God has been saying in the last few weeks during my quiet times and it's been a repeating theme. That makes it easier for people who like to avoid things to really hone in.
What it has boiled down to for me is something that I have dealt with for as long as I can remember.
Ok, maybe two things - but they are tied.
Insecurity and rejection.
Um, ouch.

Long story short, in just this past week every book I've picked up to read; every Bible study lesson I've done; everything has pointed me back to my need to dig in and deal with this.

It's been obvious enough that I told my husband last night about how insane it was making me to even try to avoid it. :)
I believe my exact words were something to the tune of "if Pastor Gary preaches about insecurity tomorrow I'm going to lose my mind."

Guess what people?  :)
No, the entire sermon was not about insecurity. It was about hope.
But there was a section in there that was God-made for yours truly. It was obvious enough that I turned to Hubs and said "seriously??"
I get to be in both services... and the second sermon was pretty different. So I think the first service was all about God saying "Really... still trying to escape this huh?"

I'm pretty sure Pastor Gary doesn't read the blog. Most guys don't I think.
But I need to make sure he hears that God totally took over that one.
I think I'm blogging about this because I need to not avoid, or not try to avoid this one anymore.

I'm insecure in a few very key areas. And this is the year that I'm taking those things on.

So hold me to it? M, kay? :O)


Thursday, January 03, 2013

Release - The Sequel

So I have been a lot of journal re-reading lately. It's another one of those things that I tend to do around the new year. But this year it seems like I have gone back several times.
Just a few weeks ago I found a passage that dealt with a specific issue that I have always struggled with.
It's not important what it is specifically. We all have "that" area. It's the one thing that seems to follow us through our Christian life.
Years earlier I was at a women's conference where the speaker took Isaiah 61 and talked about it.
So much of what she said resonated with me.
But something else was happening too.
Have you ever had one of those "you and God" moments where the pastor or speaker or worship leader is talking but the Holy Spirit is clearly speaking something else to your heart?
That was this moment for me.
In my Bible at the time (which I cannot find right now... argh moving...) I wrote out what God was speaking into my heart.
It was so huge.
But there are two promises that still resonate with me. 
And I don't have to have those words to look at to remember what they were.

Release -  I knew so clearly at the time that my struggles could help other people. It's one of the reasons that I have always tried to be so open with whatever I am dealing with. I'm such a believer in learning from other people's mistakes as a way to avoid pain. And if my pain can spare you pain, I'm ALL about that. Isaiah 61:1 talks about being anointed to release prisoners from darkness. There are so many things that bind people in this world. You may not share my particular struggles but I know you have your own. God wants our freedom for us more than we want it. He desires for you to walk with Him so closely that chains could never hold you.

The other promise was that I would be married some day. In big letters at the end of Isaiah 61 I wrote BRIDE. At the time, there was no man in sight. But I just knew it was a promise for me. Now I am not saying I never doubted that. There have been lots of "God help my unbelief" prayers in the time since. But sitting on the other side of that promise I am now looking at the other things that I learned that day in a new light.

So I got a little off track here to say this: my word for 2013 is release. I believe that this year will see myself and my family released from some things that have stood for way too long in our lives.
He is able.
This is the year of the Lord's favor.


Wednesday, January 02, 2013


One of the hardest lessons to learn for some reason is that life is not about me.
We are often so “me” focused that we lose sight of that fact.
Or maybe that’s just me.  :O)

It’s a brand new year today.
Turning the calendar page over to 1/1 always brings new perspective for me.
I always end up evaluating the year that has passed.
I want to make sure that I have learned something so I don’t repeat the mistakes of the past.
2012 was a roller coaster. If you’ve been here with me for any time at all you know that quite well.
If you are just starting here for some reason, you might want to read a bit and catch up on my journey this year.
For many years I have not done a new year’s resolution. They pretty much never last anyways and have seemed pointless to me for a while.
But for about the last ten years I have named my year.
That may seem rather odd to some of you. The last couple of years I have seen others do it as well so I think it’s catching on.
It’s cleaner somehow. It seems to narrow my focus on what I want the next year to bring.
Many years my word has been my hope for the future (hope was one year all by itself…).
Last year was “healing.” It certainly lived up to its name, though I had to be broken a few times to find it.

2013’s word is “release” and it scares the fire out of me.

As with many prior years, it came to me as a shock and then was confirmed pretty quickly. I think that way I can’t talk myself out of it. :O)
In this case I honestly thought that it didn’t make sense until I found it as a prayer a few years back in my journal.
There was a prayer in which I specifically asked for release and it seemed so clear to me that this was the year for that to be answered.
But it’s scary.
I think that may not make sense from the outside. Being released from something is a good thing in these terms.
But if my year of healing taught me anything, it was that often good things come through painful things.
I'm guessing I'll come back and say more about this.
But for right now, I just want to say "Happy New Year."
Praying that 2013 is incredible for all of us.