God is My Happy Place #16

The next writing prompt in “God is My Happy Place” is:

“On a scale of 1 to 10, how happy do you feel today?”

Based on what is going on in my life, one might think I was low on the happy scale. To say we have been having car problems is an understatement. Our financial situation is less than stellar.

When actually, I’m really happy. I have so much to be thankful for. I would rate myself at an 8, with 10 being the happiest one could be. I have an amazing husband. We have a place to live. We both have good jobs. We have transportation to get to work. We have great family and church family.

Most importantly we have a relationship with God & have a peace knowing that He will take care of everything. That doesn’t mean we dont feel nervous. It means that we trust God in spite of our feelings. I believe God knows what He is doing. He will take care of us like He always has. We trust God!

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:19 NIV
https://bible.com/bible/111/php.4.19.NIV

I own no rights to the video.

Changing Direction

he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
Psalm 23:3 NIV
https://bible.com/bible/111/psa.23.3.NIV

Sometimes we start in a direction and that’s where God wants us to go and then the direction changes. The new direction is still in God’s plan. It is simply the next step on our destination. It may seem strange to change directions, but maybe God needed us to go one direction first, before we start a different direction. Maybe volunteering one way & then changing to volunteer in another. Both were part of God’s plan, but one was a prerequisite for the other.

In school, there are some courses/classes that must be taken before taking another class. For example you don’t usually just jump ahead to Biology II before taking Biology I. There is knowledge in the first class that must be gained before taking the next class.

I also can’t stay in the first class. I have to let go of that class and move on to the next class. I won’t grow or accomplish Gods will, if I stay in the past or stay in an area that is no longer part of the plan. When travelling, we sometimes have to make turns in order to get where we are going. Because if we continue down the same road, we won’t make it to our destination.

Sometimes we have to pull off the road and take a break and decide what direction we need to go. Either because we feel like we are lost or maybe we’ve gone too far and missed our turn. So we need to evaluate where we are and pick a direction that best suits our destination from where we are.

God is our GPS. We must pray and ask for direction. We must listen and follow through. God knows what He is doing. If God is asking me to change something(s) about my life, I need to follow His lead.

There are times I have kept doing something longer than I should have, because I was trying to please people. I didn’t want to let them down. But I needed to move on and please God.

God Is My Happy Place #15

The next prompt in “God is My Happy Place ” is:

“Are there people in your life who really know you? What are a few things you wish people knew about you?”

For the first question, I believe my mom & my husband know me the best. They are the one’s I’m the closest with.

For the second question, this took me a long time to really think about. But I was able to come up with 3 things. I just wrote my life story, so I was trying to come up with things that I may not have included there.

One is that I really do love people. I just prefer smaller groups of people. Big crowds drain my energy. There is so much going on and I dont know where to focus my attention. (Introvert problems…lol)

Some of my favorite hobbies are reading, coloring, cooking/baking. Writing is becoming one as I gain more confidence.

I have no problem with people knowing how old I am (43). It is just another testament to how far God has brought me.

God Is My Happy Place #14

The next writing prompt in “God Is My Happy Place” is:

“Who do you feel completely loved by and why?”

I would rank God number one here. He loves me completely. No matter what I’ve done or how I feel. The closer I get to Him, the more loved I feel.

He shows me love all day long everyday. 24/7/365. He takes care of me always. He is my protector and healer. He is patient with me. I can trust Him completely. He is everything to me.

He has given me the Bible, which is His love letter to me. It tells me how God feels about me and gives me direction.

He loves me more than any human has the capacity to love.

Overwhelmed

I was reading Joshua chapter 1 the other day and I got to thinking about what it must have been like to take over and follow in the footsteps of Moses. Those are some big sandals to fill. The 3 verses right before the book of Joshua says:

Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, who did all those signs and wonders the Lord sent him to do in Egypt—to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land. For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.
Deuteronomy 34:10‭-‬12 NIV
https://bible.com/bible/111/deu.34.10-12.NIV

I know that Joshua believed in God and trusted Him, because he stepped up and did what God asked him to do. My thought is more about how he must have felt so overwhelmed and maybe even scared. He had to lead regardless of how he felt.

Now I do want to say that the Bible doesn’t say how he felt about it. My thoughts are based on what I believe that most people might feel I that situation, including myself.

God also told Joshua:

Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.
Joshua 1:6 NIV
https://bible.com/bible/111/jos.1.6.NIV

God told him the be strong and courageous 3 times in the chapter, as well as not to be afraid. I would say that is significant. I know I need to be encouraged to o keep moving.

As I learn to write better and do what God is calling me to do, I feel quite overwhelmed. It seems like a lot to take on. My flesh is telling me that it may not be worth the effort, but I have to keep moving forward and rely on God. He knows what He’s doing. His strength will get me through it and help me grow. Without Him I couldn’t do any of it. Doing things my way leads to disaster, but relying on God brings success.

My Story Part 4

This chapter begins with me trying to decide what I really wanted to do with my life. I thought about becoming a librarian, because I enjoy books. I ended up changing my major to social work, because I wanted to help people. Then I decided I wanted to be a counselor, which meant I would have to change schools.

I ended up moving to Texas and went to Bible college. I was really excited to go. I believed that is where God wanted me to be. I transferred to a Walmart store down there for work. I moved almost immediately after finishing the semester I was in.

The sad part was that I had to give away my dog. I couldn’t take her with me. She was with me through so much, it was hard to let her go.

I also missed my family and friends.

But I was excited to be where God wanted me to be.

It took me a while to find a church. But I did find one.

Not long after I moved there, I met the guy who is now my husband. He had just moved there from California.

We both started at the same school and moved into the same apartment complex, on opposite sides.

I was really into him. But I was tired of the chase. I prayed about it. I asked God to not let him ask me out if he wasn’t the one.

It took a little while, but he did indeed ask me out. We dated for a while. He is an amazing Christian man. We ended up going to the same church after a while. He was so respectful. He even accepted that I wasn’t going to let him kiss me until he asked me to marry him.

We both went on separate mission trips with the school. He went to Poland & I went to the Ukraine. We missed each other a lot, but we were also able to focus on the mission at hand.

I enjoyed some of the things we did, such as going to the ballet & riding an overnight train. I also learned a lot by observing and talking to the people we encountered. In my eagerness, at times I felt like I wasn’t doing a good job at conveying the message of Jesus. This was a feeling I had after Thailand as well. But overall they were both great learning experiences. I was not a failure, I just had a few learning moments.

A little while after we got back, he asked me to marry him. He took me to a park & got down on one knee. I said yes. 💍😍

We were engaged a little over a year. We got married. Our honeymoon was in San Antonio.

Everything was different this go round. Waiting until we were married to sleep together was really the best plan. It is God’s way. He has a reason for it being His way. He created a time for everything. There’s was less anxiety for me, less shame, less complications in the relationship. I was able to make a more clear headed decision about the relationship.

I graduated with my bachelor’s degree about a year later or so. Another accomplishment down.

I needed to get a master’s degree, so it was decision time again. We could have stayed, but we decided to go back to the college I started at & off to Oklahoma we went. To be close to family. In Texas, we had no family. We did have some really great friends there. But we weren’t near family for about 3 1/2 years. It was a nice change.

I transferred back to the Walmart store I was working at before. We went to the same church I was at before I left. Though to me it seemed different this time, I don’t know why.

My husband graduated with his bachelor’s degree about a year or two later & started a master’s online. I was so proud of him.

After 10 years at Walmart, I was able to get a job in the field of counseling, so I took the opportunity. I started working at an agency as a behavior rehabilitation specialist. I worked with people to improve their behaviors. I was excited for the opportunity.

I was there several months, when the agency closed. I then started at another agency quickly there after.

Later on, I graduated with my master’s degree 😁🎓 and went under supervision for my license. This agency was helpful with me making progress through my career. I had an amazing supervisor and worked with some amazing people.

My husband graduated with his master’s. We travelled to Orange Beach, AL so that he could walk for his degree. I enjoyed spending time on the beach with my husband and I was again so proud of him.

At some point after I graduated, we moved to another town in Oklahoma about 45 minutes west of where we were to be closer to the job my husband got. This allowed me to be more flexible with clients as well.

We found a great church in the small town we lived in. We met some great friends. It was really quiet, which I liked.

I became fully lisenced after we moved. I really enjoyed my job, except all the driving.

About a year and a half after I became licensed, my husband started looking for a job that was a little closer to what he went to school for. He was having a difficult time finding jobs in Oklahoma. He was trying to be considerate, because he knew I liked my job.

I did like my job. There were times I felt like I wasn’t doing a very great job, but i suppose that goes with the territory of being really new at a job. At the same time, God was working in me to follow my husband wherever he needed to go to develop his career.

I believe God wanted me to start writing and soon I had my own blog. I really do enjoy writing and getting my thoughts in writing. I’m working on being more disciplined at carving out time for it.

I then brought up to my hubby that I was ok with moving wherever we needed to move. I think he was a little surprised, but it was decision time again.

After much prayer, it was decided we would move to Arizona near his dad.

It was hard to say goodbye to family and some really good friends we made. I still miss them.

It was a big move. We moved about one and a half months after the decision was made. God provided for all the moving.

We lived with his stepbrother and his family until we were on our feet enough to get our own place. We found a church we really liked after about a month.

We both found jobs. He found a job at a company that does drug trials working in data entry. I got a job at a Medicare insurance company doing data entry.

God answered a prayer with this job. I asked for a job that I would really enjoy and I didn’t want to job hop. He took care of both of those. I like my job better than any job I have ever had. I’ll admit I felt guilty leaving a job I studied long and hard to get. I felt like I was letting people down. But at the same time I believe that I was going where God wanted us to be.

An added note, to get my counseling license in Arizona, it was going to take a couple more years of school and probably more supervision, due to the state having different requirements than Oklahoma. I also didn’t want to go back to school again. I felt it was time for a change.

Two months after we got to Arizona, we found our own place and moved in. We liked our little apartment.

Ten months after we moved in, our apartment was broken into while we were at work. They stole laptops, money, and our gaming system. We were so nervous after that for a while. My hubby was having a hard time sleeping and I was nervous coming home for a while. God had to keep reminding me that He was with me.

A week later we went back to Oklahoma for a visit, which was much needed rest.

A couple of months later we moved to a new apartment complex.

And here we are 7 months later living life right where God wants us to be. We’ve been married eleven and a half years and love being a team together. I have found the one who gets me and we give each other grace in this life. God has used him on so many occasions to show his love to me. I may not be the perfect wife, but I’m trying.

I don’t miss anything from my old life. God has brought me through 43 years and more to come.

I really love following God and the life He has provided for us. He has given me all the grace I could ever need. I have done things I’m not proud of. But He has forgiven me through Jesus, who died for me.

He also died for you and will give you all the grace you need when you come to Him. He loves you no matter what you have done. He’s not mad at you. He’s only a prayer away.

The Bible says:

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”
Romans 10:9‭-‬11 NIV
https://bible.com/bible/111/rom.10.9-11.NIV

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord , “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:11‭-‬13 NIV
https://bible.com/bible/111/jer.29.11-13.NIV

My Story Part 3

After the divorce, I was still going to the club every weekend, drinking, and going to parties.

I was a little promiscuous during this time.

After a little while, I started going back to church, but was still partying. I wasn’t necessarily ready to give up my way yet. But it was a start.

I started dating a guy for a while from the church. Then he told me about a church where there was a younger crowd. I started going to that church and really liked it.

I moved back to the town I was in before. I broke up with the guy I was dating. I knew I didn’t need to be in that relationship.

I went to another party or two. At one party, a guy attempted to rape me. He did not succeed, but it was yet another scary thing that happened to me.

I continued to go to church. It was a little while, but I decided to give my life back to the Lord and get baptized. I did get baptized about the age of 12, but I needed to do it again as a symbol of my renewed life. I know a lot of people remember exact moments when they were saved or rededicate their lives, but that is not my experience.

Somewhere around this time, I was able to forgive my father for what he had done & I was starting to forgive my ex husband. This helped me let things go and focus on my future. I do still have memories that come back to me from time to time, but I don’t dwell on them near as much and they are not my identity.

I used to have anxiety attacks where I would freeze in the middle of a store and mentally start freaking out about what I had done wrong. I prayed and asked God to take them from me, because I could not deal with them anymore. And He Did. It was so amazing. Thank you Lord.

I started back to school as a history education major.

I stopped drinking. It was like God just took the desire from me. I don’t miss alcohol or the clubs at all.

I believe God asked me to give up my obsession with vampires, which I had been into for a while, so I did. I got rid of all the books, movies, costumes that I had in relation to that. Then I stopped listening to secular music not long after that.

I also decided to stop chasing guys. I needed a break from guys. I made a decision to not sleep with a guy again until I was married and I wasn’t even going to let them kiss me unless we were engaged. I know it sounds drastic, but it was necessary for me.

There did come a time where I did hang out with a couple of guys as friends.

I started going to Chi Alpha, which is a Christian college ministry. I was older than many of the people there, but I enjoyed going. I made some good friends.

I think I enjoyed younger friends, because I feel like that is where I was mentally. Though I think that some of those friends were more mature than me in some aspects.

I went on a mission trip to Thailand with the church. I enjoyed that trip and the ministry experience. I grew a lot spiritually surrounding the trip.

I was hungry for God at this point in my life. I was at church/Chi Alpha whenever possible. I wanted to know more. I grew a lot spiritually, emotionally, & as a person during this time.

I have masked my emotions and still don’t let them come out often. But I did change a lot.

This is where I will stop for now. One more part to go.

My Story Part 2

Somewhere in high school, I decided I wanted to do things my way and made some very poor choices. I know mom worried about me a lot. I had some great friends who tried to look out for me, but I basically refused to listen.

My senior year I started dating. I also started drinking some. I started getting serious about a guy the last half of senior year. Most, if not all, of my friends/family were not excited about him. But I wanted to do things my way and date who I wanted to date. As I look back on it, it had everything to do with the fact that he paid attention to me and not many guys did that. In fact, prior to him only 2 guys paid me any kind of interest and they were short lived. Though I can see it now as God protecting me from worse things happening. Because my state of mind was on getting a man.

I graduated high school and started college in the town I lived in as an English education major. I moved in with a couple of friends. I got my first job at a convenience store. I got my first vehicle, a little S10.

Life was good in my opinion at the time. We had a lot of parties at our apartment. I enjoyed hanging out with my friends and my boyfriend. I also, got my first tattoo about this time.

During this time, I decided sleeping with my boyfriend was ok.

About a year later, I lost my first job, because I thought it was so important to go on a trip with my boyfriend that I no call no showed, when no one would cover for me. I never no call no showed at any other job again.

I then got a job at a fast food place. That one was short lived and I got fired because someone told the boss I was at the rodeo when I was actually at home sick. To this day I don’t know who told him that.

But I then got a new job at a factory assembling disposable cameras. I worked there for quite a while.

I moved in with my boyfriend and his mom/stepdad. We dated off and on. I stayed living there even in the off times. He even moved out during a short time. I felt like I didn’t have anywhere else to go. I dated a couple of different guys in our off times as he dated another girl or 2. But we always seemed to come back together.

Then about 3 weeks prior to my 20th birthday, I went into labor at home and had a baby girl. The ambulance came and took us to the hospital. I didn’t know I was even pregnant until I was giving birth. Though I may have been in denial.

We talked about it and decided it was best to give her up for adoption. We did a closed adoption. We knew some details about the couple. We felt that was the best also. I still believe it was the right decision to give her a better home. Some family did want her, but we felt it was better to go this route.

There were quite a few people who didn’t understand. His mom kicked us out. We moved in with my parents for a while. My dad had moved back home after I graduated and moved out.

I was numb for quite a while. I didn’t even know what to think or feel for a while. I just kind of went through the motions.

At one point, my boyfriend looked at me and said he thought we should get married. I was so numb I just went with it. We ran to Las Vegas and got married. Somewhere around that time we went and stayed with some of his family in another part of Oklahoma about 3-4 hours way. That may have been before going to Vegas.

We did end up moving back to a small house near my parents.

I also found out about that time that my new husband had given me an STD (Chlamydia). Thankfully it was one that goes away with an antibiotic. We went to the health department and got treatment and it went away.

Before I could start another semester of school, he gave me an ultimatum. He said I could no longer go to college. He said I could stay home or go out on the road with him. He had decided to become an over the road truck driver. I chose to go out on the road with him. When I turned 21, I also went to truck driving school and we drove team together.

We had 2 dogs. One was a pit bull mix and the other was a German shepherd, rottweiler, blue heeler mix. They were our children. These 2 dogs were a blessing to me. Especially the blue heeler mix, she was definitely my dog. They brought me comfort many times.

We travelled the country. We even went to Canada a couple of times. When we were home, which wasn’t often, we stayed with my parents and stopped renting.

Our marriage was not a happy one though. He seemed to always find a way to belittle me or tear me down. Even the smallest thing was my fault. My opinion didn’t matter, because it was his way or the highway. There was no grace in this marriage. I felt worthless. And I didn’t have a backbone or much sense of self worth at the time, so I just took it. He never hit me, but he might as well have.

About 5 years or so into the marriage, he asked for a divorce. I was devastated, but just went along with it like I did everything else. We still drove together for a while. Then I jackknifed the truck on black ice. That got us off the road because the company fired me because of the wreck, even though I drove 4-5 years with a spotless record. I didn’t like driving that much. It was just something I felt I had to do. So I wasn’t heartbroken.

We stayed with his grandma for a while. Then we moved into a house together in separate bedrooms. He moved in a girlfriend.

I started working at a meat packing plant. That place closed down after about a month or so of me working there. I was on unemployment briefly. Then I started working at Walmart.

He went somewhere for a week. While he was gone I found a place of my own in a nearby town and moved out. I took very little. I took my personal belongings, my pickup, and my dog (the blue heeler mix) and left. I didn’t want anything he had. At that point I was just mad and tired of him.

He kept dragging his feet about the divorce. I finally went to an attorney and filed. He signed the papers. We didn’t fight over anything. We just went our own way. Not long after that I also filed for bankruptcy. We had too much debt & I needed a fresh start.

After 7 years, I was now single again. I will leave off there for the next chapter.

My Story: Part 1

Hello, everyone. Before I get started I want to make you aware, so you can be on the lookout. My story has 4 parts to it. I hope to post them all this week. They are all written. I’m just doing some minor proofreading.

I know telling this story is not going to be easy for me or for some people reading it, but in doing so, I pray it is helpful for someone out there. With all that being said, let’s get started.
I grew up in a small town in Oklahoma. Like many people, I don’t remember much about the first 5 years of my life. I know we lived in a trailer house. I remember having kittens. I remember some of the people we lived near. My brother was born when I was 4 years old.

Somewhere around the time I started kindergarten, we moved out to the country. My parents bought a trailer & we moved onto family land.

My mom was a bookeeper at a bank. My dad was an over the road truck driver, which means he wasn’t home a lot.

My mom was and is an amazing mom. I can’t imagine having a better mom. She loved us and took care of us to the best of her ability. She made sure we were in church every week.

Then there’s my dad. This is the hard part to write about. You see about the time we moved to the country, my dad started molesting me when he was home. It was an ongoing thing for about ten years. I say approximately, because I don’t recollect my age when it started exactly. I just don’t remember a time in my childhood when it didn’t happen when he was home.

When he was home, I tried my best to stay with friends or my cousins. I didn’t want to be home.

A lot of times, he would call what he did punishment for whatever I had done, no matter how small. So I learned that imperfection would receive major consequences.

Anxiety and depression have been a major part of my life, even when I didn’t realize it. I have never been diagnosed, but I know it was there. The sadness, anxiety, anxiety attacks, overeating, withdrawal at times, thoughts of not wanting to be around anymore. I would pray for God to take my life. I don’t believe I would have ever taken my own life, but I just knew that I wanted to disappear. I hid most of this from others, because I didn’t want others to see that there was something wrong with me.

I grew up not trusting people, not believing in myself, not feeling worthy of love. Doing things right is how to be safe. I was up and down in my weight drastically throughout my life.

After my dad was no longer living with us, it was such a relief. It was like a freedom. Maybe that’s part of why I was slowly walking away from my faith. Because I could kinda do whatever I wanted to do with less fear. Though I was still really anxious.

School was an escape. I enjoyed school. My friends were there and I really enjoyed class and learning. I wanted to be a teacher for the longest time.

After the 8th grade, we moved to a college town about 20 minutes away. I made friends quickly, but also missed the friends in the town I left.

Around the age of 14-15, I finally told my mom what dad had been doing. Mom reported it right away. Next time my dad came home, he was arrested, tried, and covicted of Sexual Battery on a minor. He confessed. He got probation. He moved in with his parents until after I graduated high school.

I saw a counselor for a few sessions, but she told me that I seemed to have picked up the pieces and moved on & I didn’t see her after that. Though I can’t say I was very open with her.

Now I don’t want people to think my childhood was bad all the time. I grew up in church on sundays. My aunt took me to her church on Wednesdays. Awanas for those who know what that is & then youth group during junior high. My family on both sides are God fearing people and taught me the love of God. I enjoyed visiting my mom’s parents who managed a church camp and lived on the camp ground. I also enjoyed staying on the farm with my dad’s parents. I have an amazing spritual heritage. I was saved about the age of 12 at church camp.

I had friends all through school. I was on the gymnastics team & took high school choir. I also went to a dance school that was nearby and took ballet, tap, & jazz classes. I made good grades throughout school.

This is a good place for a story break.

I know this was a heavy part of my story, but it does get better later on.

Part 2 will be on the way soon.

God is My Happy Place #13

Before I start with the writing prompt, I wanted to let you guys know that my story/testimony is coming. I want to get it all written, so that I can split it up into the correct segments, since it will take several posts. It could be one long one, but I haven’t decided. But anyway, I’m almost halfway done.

Now back to the writing prompt.

The next writing prompt in “God is My Happy Place” is:

“You don’t have to be willing and able; just be willing because God is able.”

This reminds me of another quote. “God doesn’t call the equipped. He equips the called.” I’m not sure who said it, but it’s good.

Sometimes I get nervous when I think about what God wants to do in my life. It’s kinda scary. But it is equally awesome to think about how He comes through & makes it all happen.

I just have to be willing to take the steps that He is asking me to take. He will do the rest. He is already preparing the way.

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV
https://bible.com/bible/111/deu.31.8.NIV

If we look at Moses, he was scared to talk to Pharoah and even argued with God. He went anyway and God did miraculous things. He took care of it.

Ruth had to be willing to do her part. Then God saved the Jewish people.

God has done and is still doing amazing things through many people.

He has done so many amazing things through people like Billy Graham, Martin Luther King Jr., missionaries, pastors, and so may others what we would consider ordinary people, but God has done extraordinary things through them.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,
Ephesians 3:20 NIV
https://bible.com/bible/111/eph.3.20.NIV

I have helped out in several ministries over the years and a lot of times I feel like I have done a poor job at helping. But I’m trusting God, because I know He can do something with my efforts no matter how small. He knows what He is doing and is more than able.