Breaking Free

I’ve been told by many throughout my life that I’m a forgiving person. If those people had only known the inner struggle that I went through day in and out. Plus in a household that was dominated by an unstable personality, what other choice does one have but to at least “grant” forgiveness and then “move on” from all the pain caused by the instability?

While acting forgiving came easily, I’m discovering more and more that it was just another mask I was wearing. After all I’ve been fully convinced that forgiving (or at least the portrayment of) is what she, the good girl, would do.

We all have this image in our head of who/what the perfect Christian looks like. For me she: loves perfectly, ALWAYS forgives, serves others selflessly-consistently-faithfully, works while maintaining a spotless home, forgives easily and often, hosting frequent Bible studies, and on and on.

Maybe for you she looks like this too, maybe she looks completely different. That’s okay because we’re not all the same. We’re not meant to be the same.

For me, the shift in my life, the area of focus He’s honed in on is the forgiveness in my heart–or lack there of. This realization is a hard one for me because I never, never, never saw this area that I had issues in.

Not only had I convinced everyone else that I was a forgiving person, I had convinced myself too.

When did we get so good at pretending to the point that even we believe the act?

Can I challenge us today? Is there an area God’s asking us to identify as less-than-stellar and then allow Him to really work on it. Allow Him the power to remold our mind into a mind like his? To teach you to ____________ just as He would?

If there is, friend, might I prompt you to spend some time talking WITH Him about it?

If you need someone to walk the road with you, please don’t hesitate to ask. You can reach me by e-mail (godsbeloved110@yahoo.com), here, or here. If you want a community to connect with and to join us imperfect followers in pursuit of Him, I encourage you to jump over here and join us.

Let me remind you friend, no matter what your struggle, you are not alone. That you are loved and deserve to be loved. That you can find grace and acceptance.

Peace be with you friends.

It’s All About Community {FMF}

It’s been a few weeks, friends…six to be exact. I’m happy to be participating in Five Minute Friday again. I’ll be linking up with Lisa-Jo and a gaggle of other writers once all is said and done.

Todays’ word is: COMMUNITY

GO

Community. The one thing that most of us long for. A place to belong. Community is what I’ve come to love over the past year or so. It all started  when I made friends with fellow bloggers and came to be even more powerful and crucial to my life as the time has gone. Especially once blessed with the opportunity to connect with the beautiful community of writers that is also know as Must Love God.

Community is what we’re built for. Community is what keeps us together. It keeps us on the right path.

Had it not been for community, many of us would drown when life’s storms hit.

Community, both in real life and online, can make a person realize how important relationships really are in our lives.

Community, most days, I don’t know what my life would be without it. My friends that make up this community challenge me, encourage me and help motivate me to be the person, wife, daughter, friend, sister and worker that I want to be.

To my community, thank you for always being there. For praying with me in the good and bad times. For crying with me through the hard times. As well as cheering with me in the times of joy. From the bottom of my heart. Thank you.

STOP

Won’t you join us for your thoughts on Community?

Revamped CMA

Have you heard? Count me accountable now has a new focus. You can read about it here.

This re-focus couldn’t come at a better time. With this new journey that we’re on, the focus for my personal count me accountable was in need of a change of focus anyway. Our goals are to improve in every area of our lives. Everything from spiritual, to emotional, to mental, to physical. So here are the goals I have for these areas.

Spiritual: Honestly, my quiet time is not where it needs to be. My hubs and I have started the One Year bible, and so far I haven’t made it a priority the way it needs to be. So my goal is to wake up a good 45 minutes before I need to be anywhere to read that day’s passages in the One Year Chronological Bible.

Emotional: With raging hormones, my goal is to assess anything that may arouse my emotions. Asking myself if the reaction/emotions I’m feeling is adequate to the situation that caused it.

Mental: I am planning on spending more time focusing on the things of God rather than the things of this world. That means staying on top of writing the lists of the gifts He gives me each day and staying away from the things of this world that may pull me away from focusing on Him.

Physical: Since I can’t focus as much on losing the weight anymore, my plan is to continually choose the best out of the options there are to eat. As well as walking a few times a week to keep myself in the habit of doing some sort of exercise.

We are so pumped about this new format for Count Me Accountable. Won’t you join in on the conversations going on. You can do that either over at today’s post (linked to earlier) or over at our FaceBook page. 🙂

Limitless Amazement

Okay…I promised you a part two last time I wrote on my word for the year. So lets see where He takes us this time. Shall we?

This wild ride all started in January. I haven’t talked a whole lot about it, only mentioned it once here actually, but that’s mainly because my heart needed time. It needed time to heal. Time to think through. Time to analyze everything. Yes, in January it started in the worst possible way. On the 10th. A miscarriage.

This took me through an excruciating few weeks of questioning. Questioning my body’s ability to sustain another life. Questioning if my dreams of kids was do-able. Questioning the all too natural “why me.” As well as dealing with the typical physical/emotional/psychological side effects of losing a child…at any point.

It was the final key to knowing that I needed to get everything checked out. After all…I had always expected something wasn’t quite right.

That’s when February came in. As I explained in the link above my insurance had just started up, and I made those appointments. Feel free to read about the appointments here and join me back for the next leg of the story.

The day I got the news of the PCOS was a Wednesday. The following Sunday I broke. Hard. I had gone to first service, and spent that time in prayer. Prepping (like I often do) for second service. Second service is the time where I dwell with Him and open my heart up completely to be broken however He needs me to be broken. To take part of me that He wants to rid me of and fill it with Him and His desires.

This first Sunday of March, His focus was my marriage. He prompted me to surrender my desires for the relationship and sit back to watch how His unfold. It has been a beautiful journey that has just started. In just the short 2 months since surrendering it (and yes, it’s still a daily surrender some times) there has been SO much blessing that I am convinced wouldn’t have happened had I still been trying to make things happen. 🙂

Now, on to the part I promised last time. I have been psyched. He gave me a vision. A vision for this new diagnosis. Granted, I knew better than to actually start and pursue anything until the ultrasound in May. The following Sunday started same as the preceding one did. First service was prepping/cleansing time. Clearing my heart and mind for His working and will for me. It was this Sunday (a mere 2.5 weeks after the diagnosis) that He lead me to an utter surrender of my desires. If you know anything about me, I’ve wanted my own kids for as long as I can remember.

I had come to be content with a different calling on my life. The one that seemed more likely. Not only was I content with being the second mom to my friends kids, I was content with the possibility of not having kids of my own. I was more than content with it, I was excited. That was all God’s doing, no other way around it. He had given me a vision, my heart took it, found peace with it, and together my heart and mind walked in the grace of His plans.

Fast forward to almost a month ago. It was the start of April. I knew that if my cycle hadn’t started, I needed to call my OB and we’d figure out what to do to change that fact. I called and made the appointment. Then a weird thing happened. I started feeling sick. Cramped for days on end with nothing. My passions didn’t interest me much and was extremely tired (although figured it was depression…since I struggle with bouts of that ugly beast from time to time).

To ease my mind, I decided to test. Although I figured it’d turn out like the other ones had…negative. I figured I had nothing to worry about. So I wait for the few minutes required to get the results. I looked at the window and this is what I saw:

For those of you familiar. That would be a positive test. As soon as I saw it, terror rumbled through my entire being. All the what if’s started coming through my head. What if we lose this one too? Could I handle that? What if my hubs isn’t excited…after all we weren’t planning this to happen until this time next year.

This is when I felt the Spirit say “silly child, since when has it been about your plans?” Slight ease of fear came with that sentence.

When did His peace overwhelm me? I’d have to say it was after I told my husband. He was genuinely excited. In fact, he’s been more excited than I have been. Although with each passing day, the fear of miscarriage lessens. With each day of nausea I feel more confident in His plans for this little one. With each day of back pain I feel joy.

I would still look back at the way this year started and wonder, why? Well, He did answer that question for me. He whispered it into my heart one day. This is the answer I’d been given:

“Sometimes it takes excruciating pain in the hard times to bring about the deepest joy in the good times.”

That’s what this life is all about though right? Allowing ourselves to really feel the hard times in order to do the same in the times of joy?

Friends, this journey has just started. We’re only 10 weeks in and I can truly say I’ve never felt so blessed. I want to thank each of you for sticking by me through this rough several months. For those that have prayed, I cannot express enough gratitude. For those who loved on me other ways (through conversation–the gift of time, through encouragement, through laughter, through tears, through silliness) the only words that come to mind are thank you, but they don’t feel like enough.

Since this year has started off to be so exciting, and it’s destined to be just as exciting at the end of it. I’m sure the months between now and then are going to be just as exciting.

What are you looking forward to most this year?

I’ve been tagged

One of my good friends tagged me join in on the fun that’s been circling around this blogging community I’m blessed to be involved in.

Eleven Fun Facts about myself:

1. I have an awkward birth order. I’m the 4th of 5 for my mom, but the 1st of 2 for my dad. So I have tendencies of both the insecure middle child and the responsibility personality of an oldest child.

2. I have been married for 3 years (Wed the 18th!!).

3. I work in a group home with mentally disabled males.

4. I love to crochet (when I find the time)

5. My husband is the first man I ever dated and the first man I’d ever been even slightly interested in.

6. All 4 of our parents live within 5 miles of where we do (which is remarkable since we’re both from divorced houses)

7. I should be packing instead of focusing on this…

8. The baptism that I underwent on Easter was a second baptism.

9. My sister is going baby crazy!! (and I’m only 9 weeks along)

10. I love to cook but rarely find the time to…second shift does that.

11. I look forward to the day that I can run my own daycare from home and don’t have to work outside the house.

A new Picture:

The questions I was given…
1. What consists of a perfect evening for you?
At this point in time, relaxing with the hubbers either watching a movie we both like or talking about our day, dreams, desires, ect. Followed by turning in semi-early.
2. What is your ideal birthday cake?
Angel food cake with strawberries and a little bit of whipped cream. 🙂
3. Are you a morning person or night owl and how does it compare to your spouse?
I have become a morning person. My spouse is a night owl. 
4. What’s your favorite Bible verse (for today)?
Galatians 1:10~For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.
5. What are you currently reading?
I am reading through the chronological One Year Bible, One Thousand Gifts, Power of a Praying Woman.
6. Aside from Jesus, what character in the Bible challenges you the most and why?
Ruth because she left everything and everyone familiar to her to live with people she did not know. Once her husband died she remained faithful to her mother-in-law. While I love my in-laws, I can’t say with 100% certainty that I would be able to walk away from the family I’ve known my entire life.
7. How would you describe your style?
My style is that I have no style. I wear hand-me-downs from my sister, cheap clearance rack clothes, and whatever shoes seem most comfortable for the day as opposed to what goes best with the clothing I chose to wear that day
8. What do you like about your favorite season?
My favorite season is spring I am all about new beginnings and I love being enthralled by the way everything comes back to life after a season of appearing dead and lifeless. Watching things blossom from the seemingly dilapidated state they were in before. It relates so much to our spiritual lives that it’s next to impossible to ignore.
9. What six descriptive words would you use to describe your personality?
Caring-sometimes too much so.
Shy-although you wouldn’t know it when watching me.
Reliable-I will put the needs of those I care of before me.
Optimistic-I will always look for the good, no matter the situation.
Compassionate-He’s allowed me to go through much in order to empathize with those around me.
10. What’s your favorite wall color and is it in your home?
A gentle green. No, if I owned my home, it would probably be so, but since I do not at this time, I haven’t painted any walls.
11. If you could vacation anywhere, all expenses paid, where would you go?
I would probably go to Europe. I have always thought it would be fun to go over there. Plus it has a good amount of tourist attractions that would occupy our time and keep us busy.
Now it’s your turn…..
Nikki @ nikorobyn
Your questions are:
1.   What is your favorite childhood memory and why?
2.   What song suits your life best right now?
3.   If you could pick one career to excel at, what would it be and why?
4.   If money was no object, what would you do with your life?
5.   What the biggest lesson you have learned so far in your life?
6.   What’s a random fact about yourself that few people know?
7.   Describe your dream house.
8.   If you could have any talent, what would it be?
9.   What are your favorite books?
10  Which trait of your best friend do you admire first?
11. How are you intentionally building your relationship with God?

Easter Recovery

Let me start by telling you about my weekend.

Friday night was indeed a good Friday. About an hour or so before I get off work, my sister text me saying “I miss you!” I told her I’d be home a little after nine and she said she’d be there. I get home, and she’s not there. I simply said “you lied” to which I was informed she’d be there soon. Soon should have had several o’s in it. During the waiting time, I find out that my uncle (my dad’s baby brother) came back up from Georgia for the weekend. A half hour later, she walks through the door with my mom. I said “that was one long soon.” Then my aunt, my dad’s baby sister who lives in North Carolina walks through the door and says “it’s my fault!” I jumped up and gave her a huge hug. It definitely made my night.

Then Saturday, the four of us (Hubs, sis, aunt and I) all went out to lunch. Then my aunt and I went out to pick up some stuff for some Easter baskets for my in-laws. We spent several hours at this store and that one to make it perfect. Then I went to a family dinner at his dad’s house (he had to work). We were waiting until Sunday to give the baskets, since they weren’t completely done, it was a good thing. 🙂 Then I got home and my aunt and I went to see one of the few cousin’s I have on that side that still lives here in Fort Wayne. I met him, his wife, and his two kids. The best/saddest part? They live 4 minutes away driving, so like 10-15 minute walk… So now that we’ve connected that relationship should continue to build.

Easter Sunday came. This wasn’t any regular Easter Sunday. First, our sanctuary was packed with people, granted 1/4 of it consisted of my family and in-laws who were all there to watch my younger sister and I get baptized. It was such an amazing experience. At the start of service my sister, who was sitting behind me, leaned forward and said, “oh by the way, you’re going first.” Which was totally, totally fine with me. At the end of service we got up there each said a little testimony from the past year. Then when Rob asked who wanted to go first, my sister, to my surprise, said “I will.”

Here are the pics from yesterday. Thanks to Nikki for remembering her camera, and her husband Shane for taking the pictures.

This is when Rob is talking about new life and how
how awesome it is that two sisters want to take this
step of making our faith ours together.

This one was during our short testimonial time before

This is my sister being raised up into her new life

Me getting down into the water just before going under

Me coming up after and taking the first steps into my
my new, personalized, surrendered life

The rest of Sunday carried much excitement with all day family things and a few more surprises.

God’s been doing some big things, while I’ve been quiet here, I know humongous things are on the way and I couldn’t be more excited. Even when I don’t write on here much, I am always available through twitter @AmyMcCollister, on Facebook and through e-mail (godsbeloved110@yahoo.com).

Today starts some long days at work, but nothing I can’t handle. So recovery will probably take all week, but at least it’s recovering from a fantastic Easter weekend.

Counting Gifts Changes Life…

…my life. Counting gifts is beginning to mold and change my life. Into something different. I’m only a few chapters in, but I can already feel the concepts sinking in. Last week, I was having a stressful Monday at work. When suddenly, deep within, I felt a stirring. It He was telling me me to write out some things I was thankful for. Before I knew it…this list was before my eyes:

66. Trials-for they remind me that only He is faithful
67. Music-for it restores my soul
68. Water-the substance of life
69. Living Water-The substance of eternal life
70. Sunny Skies-they always lift my soul
71. Friends that just “get it”.
72. Answered Prayers
73. Finishing the One Year Bible with my best friend
74. Unexpectedly picking up a new One Year Bible with my love
75. A friend at church-brought closer by a diagnosis.
76. Paleo
77. The natural sweetness of fruits
78. The filling of vegetables
79. The Gardner who planned them that way
80. New beginnigs
81. Good Vision
82. Smell of coffee
83. Hearing the whispers of God
84. Natural sweetness of fruit
85. Warm water cleansing the day away

After writing this list, the stress was lifted. It eased some. Yes, this listing, helped change a stressful day into a better day. What looked to be a bad day on the horizon into a hopeful one. Yes, this listing of the gifts is beginning to change the way I look at things. The way I handle situations. One little step at a time, I will conquer this world in one piece, with joy and peace within my soul.

Will you join us?