Monday, April 30, 2012

April Finale

This past weekend was a glorious one. I feel like my life has a whole new halo surrounding it now that my shackles of despair are gone. Sunday was a really special day as I was able to just spend a large portion of the day just reading Scripture. I'm making a discipline of that. I so often, when I feel the need to fill up my Spirit-tank, just grab my journal and pen and endeavor to just talk to God. I'm a big advocate of copious amounts of just talking to God in prayer, so I always encourage it. But I'm realizing that in emphasizing prayer and communication with God in my life, I've minimized the reading of the Word. I'm filled myself with "Spirit" but neglected to balance it with Truth. Make sense? Anyways, I want to be a woman of the Word, steeped and saturated in the Holy Truth.

Karis, Katheryn and I on a sunset walk on the dirt roads behind our house (Stuart also came, hence the man behind the camera)

Celebrity sightings.

 More evening walks.

And finally, some of Scott's graduation pictures.

I couldn't help but take a sun-behind-subject picture. It's my weakness, you know.

Friday, April 27, 2012

April's Freedom

Truth: I have been in a depression for the past 2 ½ years.

But here's another Truth: The Lord has delivered me from it.

I'm not going to go into what is the cause of depression. Some say it's the results of rejecting God, or the presence of hidden sin in your life. Some say it's just a chemical imbalance. I'm not in a position to give a statement on that right now. All I know is that the past few years have been dark, despairing years for me.

At times I wasn't aware of the darkness in my soul, but other times it was so thick and oppressive that I yearned for death's finality to end it all. On the outside, most people would never have suspected what was going on inside of me. I usually wear my heart on my sleeve, but in this area, I was loth to admit that I was struggling with depression. So I hid it, smiling and laughing like I always do, sometimes convincing even myself that everything was fine and life was as it should be. It eventually just became part of me.

But I never got used to it. I can't forget the nights not that long ago when I felt like there were demons riding on my back, riding me to the end of my strength. The absence of all hope is truly life draining. As I looked ahead towards the future, it seemed endlessly bleak and I dreaded having to live my life.

This darkness entered my soul right on the heals of a second relationship's end. It was a relationship I had clung to, to the point where I resisted God with all my strength when I would hear that voice telling me it was not His will. When I finally ended it, it didn't end well. The pain I felt as circumstances were navigated around me to purposefully cause pain for what I had done was a pain I could not stand underneath. With that pain, though, there was anger towards God, anger towards men, anger towards my church. Along with the anger and bitterness festering in my heart, there was also genuine confusion in regards to my actual faith. At the time I attended a church who's doctrine I did not and do no share. Over the half decade of going to this church, my strength in belief had crumbled under the pressure of a doctrine that showed me an unjust, unloving and tyrannical God, instead of the merciful, loving, and compassionate God I fell in love with on the day of my salvation. When I needed God the most, I felt like I didn't even know who He really was anymore. The God of comfort and healing, the gentle loving God I'd known - I just couldn't find Him amidst the doctrine I'd been hearing over and over.

The roots of my faith had been pulled out. The legs had been broken from the table. In the turmoil of my own anger, my own pain, my own resistance of God, and this shattering of the One Constant in my life that despite my rebellion I KNEW was my only hope, I fell headlong. I felt no rock, no foundation, no life-line thrown to me, no buoy's of hope. I foundered.

But by the grace of God, I never quite gave up. I fought for my faith. I wrestled with the demons hounding me. I cried out in anguish for deliverance to the God I'd believed in all my life. Even when I only seemed to hear the silence of the unjust God, I still cried out to the loving God I'd known and stubbornly believed to somehow be out there, despite it all. Even after the pain of the break-up had long past healed and I had moved on, the permeating, oppressive darkness remained.

It was a long 2 ½ years. Three months ago I would have told you, if I'd been ready to admit to my depression, that I was truly about at the end. There finally reached the point in the very near past where I finally admitted to myself that I couldn't go on in this. Either it had to end...or I had to end. In that moment, you might imagine God to have swept in and championed me out of the darkness, but even after that pivotal moment of admittance, it was not for several more weeks that the deliverance was wrought.

It didn't come with earthquakes or thunder. There was no jolt of freedom, no bells and whistles. I almost missed seeing it. But suddenly it was there. The Lord used two things.

The first was Life Action Ministries. During my senior year of high school up until I was 22, I was heavily involved in this ministry, whether through volunteering at their summer camp in Michigan or being a team member for 2 years on one of their traveling ministry teams. Life Action is a ministry all about true revival. Not tent revival, but deep heart and mind revival. It was this ministry that first awakened my soul to Christ. I was saved when I was very young, manifested and proven in my life by the working of the Holy Spirit in me even when I was young. But my soul and spirit came alive to the relationship with Christ when I was 17 years old and working as a summer volunteer at the camp.

The Lord sent Life Action out here to a church near me right during this pivotal time of despair. For those unfamiliar with the ministry of Life Action, one of their road teams will come and hold a conference at a church for anywhere from 4 days to 2 weeks. Nine weeks prior to that event, they will send out a representative to introduce the ministry to the church and to prepare the church for what would be coming.

It was during this pre-summit that the Lord kicked in the door of my depression. He then invaded my very being with His Presence and Truth through the Beth Moore “Breaking Free” bible study that I was privileged to attend right on the heals of that first Sunday morning.

The minute details of my deliverance and my restoration to full faith will have to be a collection of smaller posts for another time. Suffice to say, I have been sent free to such an extent that the very sun outside my window looks brighter and the leaves seem greener. And I'm not saying that to sound poetical. There was a moment in the past few weeks where I looked up from where I was kneeling on the ground in prayer, and it was like a darkly tinted shade had been literally taken off of my eyes and the physical world around me looked different. That's how real God is.

I am once again confident in who God is. I know He is kind, loving, gentle, compassionate, as well as serious about the severity of sin. I've had a lot to confess to, believe me! But I know whom I have believed in and that He is able. I am once again confident in who I am in Christ. The old is gone and the new has come. He brought me up out of a pit, out of the miry clay and He has set my feet upon the Rock.

“For thus says the Lord,  'Just as I have brought all this great disaster upon this people,
so I will bring upon them all the good that I promised them...
for I will restore the fortunes of the land as at first, says the Lord.'”
Jeremiah 32:43, 33:11

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you,
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
When you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, Your Savior.
Isaiah 43:2,3

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Thursday Thankfuls

On this happy working-Thursday, I am thankful for...

1) my alarm going off.
2) hot water for a hot shower.
3) hair that actually functioned.
4) a shirt that wasn't too wrinkly.
5) natural make-up
6) left-overs that I could pack for lunch, because...
7) ...I'm thankful that I discovered the earwig in my bag of tortillas before I rolled them up into burittos for lunch.
8) and last but no least, a grande' White Chocolate Mocha Frap. My splurge. For the, ahem...second time this week.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Senior Pics

I don't ever plan on going into photography as a money-making business, but I do get alot of blessings out of being able to help out my friends when they need some photos taken. As long as they aren't looking for stellar perfection, I'm more than happy to look at them for an hour or two through my view-finder. =) I took my brother Scott and our friend J out for their senior pic photos a few weeks ago. Here's the ones for J (please overlook the colorless sky and neon-tinted grass...still working on getting that in manual...)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

How We Celebrated Easter

Easter is becoming a really important holiday for me. Growing up we didn't do too much out of the ordinary, but in the past few years, probably as I've grown up physically, mentally and spiritually, it's become really special. I am truly thankful for Jesus's death for us and His resurrection.

The fam came over in the evening to have pie. I was armed with the trusty Canon. The D-boy was in his super-cutest. 

Me and the B-babe.

 Me and the D-boy.

 My sister and her fam.

Little M

Little M was excited to feed the neighbor's horse. I made sure she and B-babe only fed him LONG grass. That horse had big teeth. =)

Thursday, April 5, 2012


I have a weakness for sunsets. If there was one style of picture I could master with a camera, it would be pictures with the sun in the background. Bliss.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


There's only one flower I like better than almond blossoms and that is lilacs. And they bloom in March.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Bee Dandy

I was out practicing getting lighting right (still didn't quite get it) on this dandy little lion that was poking it's sunny head out of our side yard...

...when this bee appeared in my viewfinder. He's obviously been a busy little fella the past few days, stuffed to his gills with pollen. My little brother had to explain to me the orange sacks on his legs, since I'd never seen that before.

Have a dandy day!