Is It Always God’s Will to Heal? Part 1

I knew when I started this blog last year that sharing my testimony would be a big part of it. I didn’t realize how hard that would be to do. For starters, how much information is too much? What and when do I share? What about the parts that aren’t finished yet?

I don’t like to go back to those dark days and I went back and forth between being heavy on the details of my story or just sharing the conclusions I came to in the end. I decided to include a little bit of backstory Continue reading

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Seated with Christ

Some days being and acting like an adult is easier than other days. Today was a hard day to be adulty.

 

We are traveling back from a long vacation and I went to bed last night with a fever and had a hard time sleeping because of the semi trucks rushing by on the road outside all night. I think I am fighting the cold-type-thingy that went through our company on vacation. Woke up, hit the road and a couple hours into our trip, this happened on the trailer (the one we are getting ready to trade in and need in good shape). A melted, exploded wheel bearing. By the time we noticed people waving and honking at us and pulled over, the wheel bearing and tire fell off in a plume of smoke. I had no idea what this meant and was scared to ask Cowboy if it was fixable so for the first half hour I took care of kids and dogs and brought him water while he tried to sort out what needed to be done.

 

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I had three worried little people looking to me to see how they should react to this and I did not feel like being the one that had to be level-headed and calm. Nope, not at ALL. I think I mumbled something like, “this is an adventure!” but inside I was feeling so sorry for myself and Cowboy. It was hot and we were in an unfamiliar place far from home with no idea where to look for help or parts or if this was fixable.

 

In the meantime, a charming woman came over to chew Cowboy out for selling dogs out of the back of our truck (we have an enclosed bed and leave the rear sliding window open so they can get air on the drive but when we stopped we opened the back of the truck). He had to convince her that we are on a family vacation and we love our dogs. If she’d taken a minute to observe she might have seen a family traveling from out of state with a missing wheel. People!

 

I grabbed the kids’ hands, instructed them to not let go, and started the trek toward a Chik-fil-a sign in the near distance. I sat down inside once we got our food and was trying really hard to hold back tears. I know it’s not good to let emotions do whatever they feel like but dangit, I really wanted to let them loose today. I didn’t feel good, we were stranded 4 hours from home, and had no idea how to go about getting the parts and help we needed.

 

I looked over at one of my children, the one who misses nothing when it comes to how people are feeling, and saw the worry in her eyes and knew I had to divert.
“What are you thankful for?” I asked worry-eyes.
“That we are all safe.”
I turned to the next child. “What are you thankful for?”
“Chicken nuggets… and that we are all safe.”
We went around the table and by the end of our thanksgiving, I could feel the tension start to lift a little. Darnit, we did have a lot to be thankful for. Too much to warrant clinging to my pity party for one. While the kids went to play in the indoor playground, I checked my phone and saw I’d just gotten a text from a friend:

 

“Girl, you are seated with Christ.”

 

The overly-emotional two-year old part of me wanted to say, ” what does that even mean?” But I knew she was right and as I sat there with all the high school students on their lunch break, I started to take it apart.

 

Seated with Christ. God’s daughter. Loved. Strong. Capable. Even when I don’t feel like it.

 

Seated with Christ. An overcomer, even if I wasn’t choosing it in this situation yet. Victorious. Above the circumstances.

 

Seated with Christ. Full of the raising from the dead power of the Holy Spirit, the fruits of that Spirit, and with every promise of God to me still true – even if it felt like a bad day.

 

After a few minutes I didn’t feel the need to hold on to the pity party anymore. I have realized that every time I can step back and disengage myself emotionally from something and choose thanks or choose to exalt what is good and true, my attitude changes. My entire outlook on life changes. Every time I can get to a place of worship instead of worry, everything changes. Every single time. And the cool thing is, I ALWAYS have the ability to choose to do that. I always have the choice to rise above it by choosing to focus on what is true and who God is and who I am in Him.

 

I used to not ever get the viruses or colds my family did. I never got fevers. I had a few doctors tell me my immune system wasn’t strong enough to mount enough of a response to bacteria/viruses to produce a fever. Now, my body is functioning like the rest of my family’s I’m still standing against this cold but part of me is giving thanks that I’m capable of getting one.
We are all safe. That broken bearing could have caused a lot more damage than it did! The wheel could have fallen off on the freeway and posed a major threat to not just us but those around us – but it didn’t!

 

There was a Chik-fil-a close by so we had air conditioning and food. We were able to find all the parts we need and it looks like this is fixable. We had money for all that we needed. We had internet and got connected to who we needed to get connected to.

 

And to make up for humane woman, an elderly man stopped and tried to help Cowboy for a while and then offered to take him anywhere he needed. I looked at this sweet old man in his suspenders and loafers and was a little concerned about him getting up under a camper in the heat and at the same time touched that he offered to help Cowboy. We ended up thanking him and telling him we would just unhook the truck and stay together. God bless him!
The enemy likes to make anything hard seem SO big and so desperate and so all about me – me – me. Look up! Look up and see what you do have. Where is the blessing in it? I’m not saying to be passive about what the enemy sends your way and think everything is from God and for his glory. The enemy will steal whatever we let him and I believe we always have to be on guard (even when we feel like laying down and throwing a fit). I’m saying that what the enemy meant for evil can be used against him when we focus on what is true and start praising God in the midst of it. I’m thankful for my kids sharing what they are thankful for and forcing me to voice what I’m thankful for, for Cowboy who works so diligently to take care of us, for my friend’s timely text, for the right hookups to get what we needed to get on the road again, and for selfless people who stop what they are doing to help someone else.

 

Now that we are FINALLY on the road again, I can look back and see it as adventure and laugh at Humane Lady. Selling dogs out of our truck?! Lady, c’mon!

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Life at 200 Square Feet: Travel Trailer Life Part 2

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I actually think it’s probably less than 200 square feet but I’m not sure of the exact size – just that it’s small. Still, it’s not  as small as some peoples’ living arrangements and it’s been really good to us. If you missed my last post about why we decided to sell everything and move into our travel trailer, you can catch it here. As I’ve thought about what to write about my thoughts on living in a travel trailer, they could be summed up simply as this:

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The Journey Begins: Travel Trailer Life Part 1

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Life is full all kinds of journeys. This one in particular started a little over 2 years ago when we sold our house and 90% of our possessions and moved into our travel trailer. Why on earth would anyone want to do that? Well, here’s our take on it.

I don’t remember exactly what started it all, but I remember realizing home prices were really high and somehow Cowboy and I started talking about pursuing a dream of living in the country. We had a nice home in the heart of the city and were very comfortable there but we were also thinking about long-term goals and how to get to them. We talked and dreamed and thought through all the logistics and after a lot of prayer and weighing different options, we decided to put out a fleece. We decided to list our house for top dollar and if it sold for that price – and no less – we would take that as a sign that it was time for a new chapter and time to pursue our dream. I still don’t know if that was a wise decision or not – putting out a fleece – but within 2 days of listing it, our house sold for full price. It was scary and exciting. We were doing this!

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What Does Your Label Say?

 

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I’ve been peeling off a lot of labels lately… Some come off easily as soon as I see them. Some don’t want to budge and leave a sticky residue that I know will take some more conscious effort to fully remove. Some I didn’t even know where there until I removed one and found another one right beneath it, as if one was built on another. Some have felt so part of me for so long that I feel naked without them – like, I don’t even know what life is supposed to look like now that the label is gone…

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Guest Post: That Moment When I Was a Victim

I met Kala last year through a mutual friend and have been so inspired by her journey from extreme sickness to vibrant health! I love talking with her and being challenged by her to recognize beliefs, or as Kala calls them, “high places”, that are contrary to what God has said – tearing the high places down is hard but so, so worth it! On the other side of those high walls is the you God created you to be. I read this post that Kala wrote and it’s something I could have written about myself but I couldn’t articulate it as well as she did. She graciously allowed me to use it as a guest post and I’ve been so excited to share it. I hope you are inspired and challenged by what she has to say.

Confession… I used to be incredibly talented at playing the victim. Poor me. Sick. Tired. No one understands… no one cares that these things are happening TO me. Self-pity was my best friend and false comforter.

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Guest Post: What I’ve Learned About Healing

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I met Jess last year through a mutual friend and she quickly became like a sister to me. I have loved getting to see her walk into healing, freedom, and peace and join her on a journey of learning about Grace, faith, and what Jesus already provided for us. I have watched her decide that God’s Word is true and that she is going to live like it’s true – and I’ve seen the beautiful fruit of this in her life.

Some of what she writes about here can be controversial, especially in Christian circles. Because of my own experience over the last several years and because I see it is such an area of confusion (especially among christians), I am passionate about healing. It’s part of the reason Jesus came but so often when our own experiences don’t line up with what we see in the Word of God, we create various theologies for why healing isn’t really always God’s will or always possible for every person. I’ve been amazed at how much of what I believed was gospel truth has turned out to be “traditions of men” with no basis in the Word of God – or based loosely on one verse taken out of context. It has been so freeing to me to learn about how the Old Testament relates to the New! Regardless of your belief about these things, I hope you will be encouraged and provoked to think more abut this.

Enjoy!

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Site #288

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Where it all started for us. Site #288.

When we got our first camper and started out on the adventure of camping with three little ones, this quickly became “our spot”. I can still see my boy, two years old, climbing that tree on the right, smiling at me as he leans through the branches. He’s wearing his camping hat, he’s all cheeks streaked with dirt and big brown eyes. I can see our baby, playing in her play yard and giggling at the breeze. I hear the munchkin voices. I see our 4 year old in absolute wonder at the butterfly she found – it’s like it happened moments ago. I see her dimples and the wisps of wavy hair framing her round cheeks. I see Calen tending the campfire…

This is where we first traded hotels for the great outdoors and destination vacations for quiet evenings with nature. It felt so right, so true to our design, that it quickly became a new tradition.

It feels like yesterday and it feels like so long ago.

We were only a couple trips into this tradition when I got the first few diagnosis’. It was such a bittersweet time of watching small children so full of life and joy and yet this veil of fear and uncertainty laid heavy on me like a weighted blanket. Looking at this site today, I feel that we have come full circle in some ways. I used to look back each year and just feel grief for all those precious moments I wasn’t really there for – all the times I wanted to do and be so much more. But looking at this spot today I am just overwhelmed with thankfulness that we are here together again and that what was is not what is. That cloak of darkness has lifted and the future is so full of promise. I miss those chubby cheeks, small voices, and bodies small enough to tote around… I wish I’d known then what I know now. That time goes by too quickly. That God is a good God who has always wanted us well and living in the abundance Jesus provided for us. That I have a choice, every day, to focus on, speak, and act on life or death. I wasted so much time in grief, so much time on social media seeking a mindless distraction from reality, so much time believing I was someone different than who my Father said I was. But oh the faithfulness of God… so much to be said about that.

Today I am thankful that even though my children have seemed to grow too fast, they are still small enough to squeeze onto my lap and hold close. Even though I wasted a lot of time believing my circumstances were bigger than my God or that I didn’t have a choice, it’s never too late for a new beginning. Even though I wish with all my heart that I would have learned so many things so much earlier, I am learning in time. And I get to reach down into the pit I was in to someone else and offer them the hope that I’ve found. This is redemption.

Maybe it’s from reading Present Over Perfect. Maybe it’s the deaths in the family recently. Or maybe it’s just the sight of #288 and five years gone in the blink of an eye, but I feel more determined than ever before to savor this moment. I’m not ready for this. I’m not ready to see my children grow too big for me to carry or say goodbye to loved ones. Being face to face with the fact that ready or not, this is what is – this is how fast time goes – gives me a new perspective on life and how I want to live mine. Put down the phone, play with the kids, learn to just BE without having to do. Talk to the stranger, follow the prompting in my Spirit, look for ways to love and serve. Life is too short to waste time on things that don’t matter and when I step back and evaluate what fills my time, what I worry about, what I struggle with… 90% of it doesn’t matter in light of eternity. At the end of my life, the only things that will have mattered were that I loved well, shared the Good News of Jesus Christ to anyone who was willing to hear it, and agreed with God on His Word. I want to know that I didn’t wait until heaven to really know my heavenly Dad. I didn’t wait until heaven to walk in the health and abundance and freedom that Jesus died to give me. I wasn’t afraid to tell others about Him and how much they are loved. I was not ashamed of the Gospel – the full Gospel. And I want to look back and see that I didn’t waste my time believing lies, holding grudges, worrying about such trivial little things, or sinking into coping mechanisms that didn’t bring life. I don’t want to look up from my phone or the computer and see that my 5 year old is now a pre-teen. I don’t want to miss any more in this beautiful life because I identify with someone who is less than who I was created to be. I don’t want to use social media or the internet or anything else as a coping mechanism that distracts me from what’s most important – the people and the life and the purpose right in front of me. Maybe that means less life posted and more life lived. Maybe it will mean choosing to savor the moment instead of a picture of the moment. It will mean choosing the person I love instead of the need to be right. It will definitely mean choosing the gift of now – messy and chaotic and as it is – over the notion of perfect (seriously, what is that anyway?!). Will I forget the conviction I feel now and mess it all up again? Yes. That’s okay. I’ve learned do-overs and re-evaluating don’t mean failure and doing something well, even with steps backward, is better than doing it perfectly. One thing is for sure. I don’t want to waste any more time. I don’t want to forget what really matters. I want to live life like this is my only one and I have the power at any moment to say, “this is not how it’s going to be anymore.”

Site #288 is a reminder of what a quick breath of air we get on this earth. It’s a reminder to choose well – to choose life. And choose it again and again and again, every day, a thousand times a day if need be. Choose thankfulness over grief, choose to agree with who God says I am over what I feel I am, choose to exalt the promises of God over what my feelings or circumstances try to dictate, choose to look at the beauty in life, choose the person over the dispute, choose to grow instead of hide, choose to be an overcomer instead of a victim, and choose to be present over perfect.

In loving memory of Kevin Coria. February 5, 1959 – May 17, 2017

 

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On Mother’s Day

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I wasn’t planning on writing this but I woke up early today and all sorts of thoughts filled my mind.

It’s Mother’s Day.

Today sweet sentiments about moms are going to be plastered all over social media and television and America will celebrate motherhood. I am so thankful to have a mom who loved me (and loves me) well and whom I think the world of. I am thankful beyond words to have three children call me mom and get to spend my days with them. I am so thankful for what I have, and yet I realize that not everyone has this. This morning I’m thinking especially of those

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The Christ Who IS

“I am He that lives, and was dead; behold, I am alive forevermore, Amen; and have the keys of death and hell.” Revelation 1:18

Today is Good Friday – on this day over 2,000 years ago the long awaited Messiah, the one who was supposed to bring salvation and set the people free, was laying lifeless in a tomb after being brutally murdered . The people knew He came to save them from oppression but they didn’t know He would die to do it and when Jesus drew His last breath and surrendered Himself over to death, the hope of the world died, too. The sun was darkened and all of creation felt the impact of the greatest loss the world has ever known.

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