Sharing Space

what do you mean I have to share my space…

Ever have one of those “ah ha” moments and you find yourself shaking your head wondering how you could have missed it in the first place?

My recent “ah ha” moment happened on December 29, 2019 during church service. For several years our church has had a vision to open a full-time daycare and preschool program and recently we were approved by the county. Next we need approval by the state.

Now you may be thinking and why is this an ah ha moment? Bear with me just a minute here keeping in mind that I am used to working alone. My company being the deer that roam our church property. Would you like to see?

My company that often stops by along with about three or four others during the week.

So our previous worship leader and her husband have traveled about five or six hours almost every weekend for the past two and half years to be a part of our ministry team. Pregnant with their second child and nearing her due date, her doctor restricted her traveling. So on December 29th our pastor announced they were stepping down from the ministry team. He then introduced our new worship leader who would also be the director of our daycare and preschool program and would be joining our staff after the holidays coming to work on January 2, 2020.

What? Wait a minute now…. I have to share space with someone else?

What? Wait a minute now…I have to share space with someone else? I’m used to working alone and when I come back to work from the holidays I won’t be alone anymore. Crazy right? I mean most churches have more than one person on staff at the church. And hello daycare? Staff? It has to start somewhere, right? So I start thinking I hope we get along not that I was too worried because I can get along with most people even difficult ones. But still, I wasn’t used to having someone else at the church on a regular basis.

She comes with a huge smile and you could just feel the excitement in the air that she was glad to be coming on board. I thought I was the only one who is a child at heart and doesn’t want to be an adult unless absolutely necessary. Turns out I’m not alone. This is going to be the beginning of a great friendship!😊 I even introduced her to my family of deer that come around. I can’t wait to see her interact with the children once we open the doors for our daycare and preschool program!

God has a way of bringing people together who can work well with one another. Then there are times when it feels like wow what just happened? Those are the times when we have that sneaky enemy around interfering with our lives trying to disrupt everything and everyone around. I also believe that sometimes God puts us in situations to help us grow, to be a light in the darkness that may just be that one light that someone needs to find Christ Jesus. I’m very thankful that He chose to bring someone on board that we both just hit it off right away!

Sharing space…I’ve experienced the bad side and I’ve experienced the good side. Today I am so thankful that He chose to bring a godly, loving the Lord person on board. I can learn much from her.

Next time you have to give up a little space look at it as an opportunity to see God at work. Maybe He’ll put you in a place to be a light in the darkness or even in a place so you can grow. And if perchance you come under attack from the enemy, rebuke him and press in toward God. Whatever takes that little space, look to Him and see what He is wanting to teach you. God bless!

Do You Have What It Takes?

Do you have what it takes to be transparent? To see yourself as others see you and not the way you see yourself? Better still, can you step back and see yourself the way God sees you? If you are reading this it isn’t by chance we met here today.

One of the hardest things to do is to see yourself through the eyes of others much less seeing yourself through God’s eyes. It is often said that the eyes are the window to a man’s soul. As you look in the mirror the eyes staring back at you gives you a glimpse of the past, present and yes, possibly the future if you look closely enough. Not that we can see or even predict the future, but depending on how you view yourself will determine how you will live your life. Do you see hope? Joy? Fear? Anger? Confusion? Or maybe, you don’t see anything but the darkness.

There was a time in my life when I saw only darkness. I hated myself to the point I became destructive. I spiraled down into an abyss that quite frankly I didn’t expect to escape it. [I want to insert here that this is not the path I planned on taking with this post. But God is in control and He has put us on this path so here we are.]

In high school, I remember being invited to a party with a friend of mine and the only thing I remember is sitting in a Waffle House downing black coffee. Couldn’t tell you how I got there, couldn’t tell you who I was with. What I can tell you is that it would be the beginning of that downward spiral that would last for years. I began drinking to forget about life. I graduated high school and started working full time that summer.

That fall a friend of mine who was a senior in high school invited me to go with her to a football game. There we would meet a guy who would introduce me to the world of drugs and become my future husband. In the beginning I wasn’t interested in getting to know him but my friend was. She had her eye on him, he had his eye on me and I really didn’t care one bit about getting to know him. Eventually we would start dating and when he moved out of state to help his grandmother settle his grandfather’s affairs I followed. Dysfunctional as my family was they weren’t keen on my leaving home. I wasn’t keen on staying and it wouldn’t be long before my world would shift. Settling in to a new life we partied every weekend doing drugs and drinking and not having a care in the world. We got married and soon after he started controlling my life. I had no friends of my own. I had only his friends. I wasn’t allowed to contact my family unless it was to ask for money. Yeah, I could contact them when we needed money to pay for bills since the bill money had been spent on drugs.

One wintry morning on my way to work I opened a door you don’t ever want to open. I invited the enemy in and turned my back on God. I was angry at how my life was going and blaming God for my mistakes. For not rescuing me from a controlling marriage or from the drugs and alcohol. It would take me seven and a half years to work up the courage to leave him. During that time I became pregnant and his mother convinced him that we didn’t need to bring a child into this world and he listened to her. He told me I would have to abort our child. No discussion just stated the facts and had me make the appointment. It was horrible. [If you or someone you know has ever had an abortion, then you know what I am talking about. For those who would judge, you should remember that it’s not your place to judge. Matthew 7: 1 – Judge not, that you be not judged.] You may be wondering why I didn’t stand up to him. I was a mess and he had control over my life. By this time it was easy to believe the lies.

It says in Psalms 119: 176 “I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Your servant, for I do not forget Your commandments.”

I was lost having gone astray. I knew God’s commandments, as a child I had accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Even in my hardened heart, I knew His commandments and what I was doing was wrong. Why would someone stay in a situation like that? Why does anyone stay in situations that aren’t healthy for them? Fear. Fear and the lies the enemy feeds us.

Tired of spending most of our money on drugs I finally got the courage to move on and divorced my husband. I met someone who would take me even deeper into the abyss I thought I was escaping. Older than me by several years, I should have heeded the warning signs but truthfully I was naive and didn’t understand them for what they were. We became a couple and our relationship was volatile and filled with extreme jealousy. The age difference and continued drug abuse played a part as did the darkness he was taking me down. It was here I would begin to find my way out.

One night while sitting around partying we started talking about God. Yeah, you read right, God. He was talking about the Bible and I remember telling him that I would never get to heaven and shared about opening the door to the enemy and turning my back on God. The next weekend we stayed home. No parties, no going out, no drinking, no drugs. We went to bed early and that Sunday, he was dragging me to church. Not only that, he chose the side of the sanctuary that was furthest from the doors, about midway down the aisle, and in the middle of the row so that I was literally surrounded by people. NO ESCAPE! That day, I nearly had a panic attack. I tried to leave and he held my hand so I couldn’t get up. I whispered I needed to go to the restroom and he just looked at me and smiled and said to hold it. Seriously? The guy partied like nobody’s business and he was telling me to chill in church? Who was this guy? So once a month we started attending church. Our relationship was still volatile, still filled with jealousy and distrust. Then I got pregnant. I’m ashamed to say I didn’t keep this baby because once again I was being controlled and he said we weren’t keeping the baby. But something was happening. I was beginning to thaw. God was speaking to me. Slowly I was opening up to really hear God speaking to me. Gradually I quit doing drugs and eventually I quit drinking. I found out I was pregnant again only this time I stood up to him and told him I was having this baby with or without him and gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. I began attending church on a regular basis and rededicated my life to Christ.

During my pregnancy he told me if I tried to go through the courts to get child support he would quit his job and I would get nothing. As if I wanted his help. By this time our relationship deteriorated to the point we were living apart. It wasn’t until my third trimester that he began to get involved in helping me out. After the birth of our son he made it a point to be a part of his life. It would be a month after our son’s first birthday that he would pass away. I would go on to be a single mom until my son turned five when I would meet my future husband. Today, we celebrate 21 years of marriage. 😊💖

Ephesians 1:7 says “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His grace.”

When I first started this post I had no idea where it would lead. Originally I thought I would be talking about something else that would prepare me to eventually write this post but as I stated earlier, God is in control and He has put us on this path so here we are.

Today I look in the mirror and I see hope, joy, peace and love. The darkness has faded but the enemy still seeks ways to attack. Transparent. Do you have what it takes? I’m praying for you.