The day I testified against my father in court and how I was taught to stand in the gap.

“Mrs.Curry, isn’t it true that…”

I almost couldn’t believe that I was where I was. Sitting in the witness stand ,while my whole body shook violently, I calmly and honestly answered the question that my very own father presented to me in the middle of his custody hearing for my minor siblings. He represented himself in his custody case. Bad move.

The result of me being on the stand left my father with very little time with my siblings and every second of it supervised. I’m not happy about that but it had to be done. It was my responsiblity to protect them and they needed to be protected from our fathers mental and emotional abuse. It was one of the worst and best things I’ve ever done. After so many years of torture from my father, I was happy to take the chance away from him to do it to my siblings but he was still my dad and watching him struggle broke my heart.

The hardest part was the gap it left for the kids.

Growing up, I had the same gap.

My father was an abuser on many levels. Even though he never laid a hand on us, the mind games were just as painful. Those mind games and his in and out presence in my life left a gap. A gap where a father was supposed to be. A huge gap that presented pain and heartache that I would have otherwise never known.

But my life has been full of strong people and unbelievable blessings. I’ve always had people who have stepped in and stood in the gap.

My mom worked tirelessly to provide financially. She showed up at every school event. She made sure I was always smiling and did her best to keep me on the right track.She made sure I was a responsible person, had a good work ethic and was kind and compassionate.

She stood in the gap.

My brother made sure to do the things a father should have done.. He changed the oil in my truck, rebuilt the engine, changed the brake pads and more. He threw the hammer down on me when I was out of line and reminded me to stand up for myself in all circumstances. He comforted me through my pain on more than one occasion and stood up for me daily. He taught me how to be tough, helpful and funny

He stood in the gap.

I’ve been blessed with people who stand in the gap for me. People who stand in the gap of my father’s absence. People who show up and do whatever it takes to make sure I’m not only okay but that I thrive in life. People who pray for me when I’m too hurt to whisper my own prayers.

Now it’s my turn to stand in the gap where my father should be.

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My husband and I will stand in the gap for my 16-year-old sister and welcome her into our home as one of our own. We’ve made a promise to God that we will do our best to be an example of compassion and grace. We will do our best to provide tough love and discipline. We will insist that she just be kid and only have the responsibilities a child should have and nothing more.

We will have the discipline to stand in the gap.

We will provide dinner every night at 6 and breakfast every morning at 6:30.
We will provide a quiet place to do her homework and a safe place to sleep.
We will provide a guaranteed ride to school and promise to be waiting outside when the last bell rings.
We will provide smiles and hugs on a daily basis and firm words when needed.

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We will have the courage to stand in the gap.

We are family. This is what we are called to do. If only for the blink of an eye, a moment in time, we will be a solid rock for her to lean on.

We will have the strength to stand in the gap.

When she crumbles in sadness over our dad’s suicide, we will pull everything from us to remind her of the love he had for her and the love she has now through our family. When she cries for what has been stolen from her childhood, we will find a way to ease the pain. When she stumbles on the stones thrown in front of her, we will reach out our hands to catch her fall.

We will have the dedication to stand in the gap.

I had brave people in my life that, in all circumstance, stood bravely in the gap for me. Today I pray that we have what they had and can be brave enough to stand in the gap for my little sister.

We will stand in the gap.

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Why I Choose To Have An Affair.

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An Affair by definition is a sexual relationship, a romantic friendship or passionate attachment between two people.

My husband and I have been married for 9 years. I’ve been having an affair for over four years now. Had I known how wonderful it was going to be I would have done it years before. I’m happier and healthy because of it and I’m not ashamed.

Many years ago I was sitting in a bible study and the man speaking told the room full of ladies “Have an affair with your husband or someone else will”. That ran through my head for days. I knew he was right but kids were tugging at my skirt, the bank account was beyond tight and both my husband and I were at our jobs more than we were in front of each other. I was tired. I put the kids first, myself and my marriage last and lost all sense of why my husband and I married each other in the first place.

In 2010 our marriage crashed like an airplane that lost both its engines mid-flight. While picking up the pieces of the wreckage we discovered our black box, the heart of the matter, the secrets of the cockpit. Through that I realized that I wasn’t a good wife. I had been a great mom, I was confident in that, but I fell extremely short in the wife department. I failed at being a good and strong wife who put her husband first and let him lead the family.

So I started having an affair.

I’m not going to lie, it took effort at first but after a while became second nature.

I began an affair with my own husband 4 years ago and it changed our lives.

We had let our marriage slip and our focus went to treading water in an effort to keep our heads up and not drown in all the hits life had for us.  So we made a choice to turn our focus back to each other and all the reasons we fell in love in the first place.  We began an affair with each other. We rebuilt our sexual relationship, romantic friendship and passionate attachment to each other.

He rubbed my back and played with my hair without me begging. We held hands everywhere we went which seems so simple but surprising how quickly you can lose it. We kissed, and not just a goodbye peck but truly kissed each other and meant it. Even a goodbye peck was held a few seconds longer and began to mean so much more. We said I Love You and not just because it was part of the script but to truly remind the other where we stood with each other. We talked. We talked about everything and anything no matter how much it hurt.

We stopped letting the children rule the house and our schedule.  Date nights became more frequent and more private. We no longer met up with friends when we had a kid free night. Instead we went to places were we could focus on each other and each other only. We sat in corner booths in dark quiet restaurants, looked each other in the eye and reconnected. We took our marriage back and made it top priority because its crucial in a family. If the marriage fails, the family fails.

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We love these little people but they no longer control our house.

When my husband and I started having an affair with each other, we restored our sexual relationship and our passionate attachment to each other. We not only loved each other again but we liked each other too.

All the relationships in our lives matter and take work but our marriage is by far the most important to continue to grow and nurture.  My marriage is the heartbeat of my family, its health is vital. Getting married was easy and fun but maintaining a strong and successful marriage takes hard work, sacrifice and extreme dedication. When I said my vow of for better or worse I meant it. I didn’t take the vow of for better or bail if things get painful.

The most important change we made when our affair started is to put God in the center of our marriage and our lives. Without Him as our firm foundation we were simple standing on shifting sand. He makes all things new and beautiful. He heals the broken-hearted. He restores our lives and wipes away our sins. He is our redeemer.

I won’t lie and say that everything is my home is perfect and that my husband and I never have low moments but I will say that with God and our renewed sense of who we are together, we are stronger than we’ve ever been.

Autism Speaks….oh and how sweet the sound.

 

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Last week a few families from our life group decided to load up our collective 14 children and 8 adults and venture 5 hours away to vacation at the Great Wolf Lodge.

Yep, 14 children and 8 adults.
Yep, we’re crazy.

Packing for my family is a huge task, even if it’s only for three days. Packing for a teenager, three seven-year olds and an infant boarderlines on insanity.

My biggest challenge was planning for what obstacles our seven-year old autistic daughter would face on this trip.

Great Wolf Lodge is a hotel with an indoor water park. It’s massive. The lobby is like Vegas for kids. Lights are flashing, music is blaring, arcade machines are cha-chinging. There’s a build-a-bear station, fake tattoos, pedicure salon, pizza parlor, ice cream station and so much more.

If I was overwhelmed I can’t imagine what was going on in my little girl’s head.

Then there iss the actual water park. Slides, wave pool, lazy river, a huge bucket that dumps water, hot tub, life guards with whistles and on and on.

You would have to be a parent of an autistic child to truly grasp how intimidating this can be, not only for your child but for yourself as well.

I was on pins and needles the first day waiting for the melt down.

It never happened.

My sweet little girl never missed a beat.
She hit the grounding running and we had to rush to catch up with her.
I watched waves crash in her face.
I watched her speed down the slides.
I watched her float the lazy river.

I watched her smile from ear to ear.

Thank you, God.

Late that night while everyone else was hanging out in the lobby, Justin and I went to bed. I thought she was sound asleep and I was about 5 seconds behind her. Then I heard her little voice.

“Mommy…..”
“Yes, honey”
” I don’t ever want this to end”

And it was like sweet music.

She’s braver than I could ever be. I fear her autism for her but most of the time she doesn’t even know it’s there. I always but on my brave face for her and for anyone around me but inside my heart pounds for what might be going on in her precious mind.

She always amazes me.

Autism Speaks….oh and how sweet the sound is.

I want to be brave like Justin.  I want the freedom that she has to completely be who God made her to be without any worry of what the world expects of her. I want to be as confident as my little girl. I want her honesty, her fearlessness, her humor and her smile.  I want the courage it takes to let the waves crash in my face, speed down the slide and calmly float the lazy river.

I want to be strong enough to lay in bed at night and instead of stressing over what tomorrow might bring, I want to calmly whisper ” I never want this to end.”

 

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Stop, Collaborate and Listen

A few months ago my husband and I prayed that God would change our lives in a way that would reflect Him and His will. We wanted to give up whatever we needed to in order to be able to spend as much time with our kids as possible. We wanted to be the biggest influence in their lives and their most present spiritual leaders.

Time with our children is far more valuable than anything we could ever buy them and is something we can never get back once it’s gone.

We both agreed to surrender to His will no matter what we had to face.

I ended up quitting my pretty decent paying job with amazing benefits and my husband arranged his job to be able to work strictly from home so he could take care of our baby boy. We prayed that God would lead me to a job that allowed me to be with our girls as much as possible and that offered our family insurance.

God gave me a job at our triplets school in a school district that offers great benefits.
I took it.

But as I sat in the meeting room in the central office building on Tuesday, waiting for orientation to start, I began to panic.

Did we make the right choice?
Are we going to be able to make it financially?
Do my kids even want me at their school every day?
Will I miss out on my little baby boy?
Did I just make a huge mistake?

As I was doubting myself the director of human recourse walked in.
I recognized her right away.

Our triplets go to school at the same elementary school that I went to and our oldest daughter goes to the same middle school I went to. I am very familiar with the schools, our school district and many of the teachers.

The human resources director was my cheerleading instructor my freshman year in high school.

Was this a sign from God that this was His will and the path He wants me on?
I need more God.
Give me something more obvious.
Slap me in the face with a sign, a big sign.
Ease my trouble mind.

And that’s when she lifted her coffee mug and took a sip.

A blue mug that read
Stop, Collaborate and Listen.

There it was.
That was my sign.
He slapped me right in the face with it.

I’m a pretty huge Vanilla Ice fan. Old school, shaved eyebrow, parachute pants wearing Vanilla Ice. Bleach blonde flat top, Ice Ice Baby, smooth dancing, beat stealing Vanilla Ice.

Vanilla Ice, who just so happened to be extremely popular my freshman year in highschool. Vanilla Ice, who most of you will probably have to google just to find out who he is.
Vanilla Ice, who’s obvious and well know lyrics were painted on the mug in the hands of my freshman teacher who just happen to be introducing me to the job that would allow me to be present in my daughters lives even while they were off at school and allow me to be off summer and holidays with them.

It was my reminder from God that His plan for me started a long time ago and He has been putting the right people and the right opportunities in my path since I had a path to follow.

I was not in that room by accident.
The position at my girl school did not randomly become available.
My husband wasn’t able to change things around and work from home because of luck.

This was God’s plan all along.
Long before I even knew that I would be a mommy and wife.
Long before I needed a new job.
Long before I tried out for cheerleading
Long before Vanilla Ice ever took the stage.

God had this plan for me as He knitted me together in my mother’s womb with His very own strong and gentle hands.

When we surrender to God’s will for us the reward is immeasurable.
When we set our fears aside and trust in the One who created us our lives will be richer than a Ghirardelli chocolate bar.

God’s plan is good even when it seems a little scary.

Will you surrender to His plan today our will you try to remain in control and gain the things that you want instead of the things that He wants for you?

This week as been full of blessings reminding me that we have made the right decision.

On Tuesday as I walked out the door for work our teenager yelled at me from her room “I’m proud of you!”.

On Wednesday when I woke my 7 year old triplets by singing “who wants to go to work with mommy” one of them shot out of bed and said “this is the best day of my life!”.

And yesterday as I walked around the cafeteria doing lunch duty during the triplets lunch period one of them raised their hand for me to come over. When I got to her she looked me in the eyes, gave me a thumbs up and said “you’re doing a great job mom.”.

Thank you God.

These are the little people who make surrendering to Him an easy decision.

 

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What I desperately need my daughter to know about her autism diagnosis.

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My Sweet Justin,

It’s April again and you know what that means, Autism Awareness Month.
There are some things I want you to know, listen closely my sweet girl.

During the month of April I shout about you as loud as I can but make no mistake, I fight like a bull for you every single day of the year. I’ve made it my mission to make sure you have every advantage  life has to offer. Go big my sweet girl.

When you choose to play alone instead of with the group of kids it makes me proud of your independence. A huge smile flashes across my face because I know that you’re in your happy place. Do your thing my sweet girl

I don’t feel sorry for you. I never will. I refuse to. I know that you don’t feel sorry for yourself. I know that you are proud. I’ve watch you march up to complete strangers and introduce yourself with “Hi my name’s Justin and I’m autistic. That just means I see the world differently”. Wear it proudly my sweet girl!

For the rest of your life people are going to try to understand you, study you and figure out why you are the way you are. They are going to give you their opinions on what caused you to be the way that you are. They’ll blame vaccinations. They’ll point the finger at me and my actions while I was pregnant from what I ate to where I lived. They’ll blame red dyes, TV, bread and anything else they can think of.

This is when I really need for you to listen to me. Listen carefully.

You are special. You are unique and you are definitely one of a kind.

You are autistic.

I know why you are the way that you are and I want you to hear it from me.

You are the way you are because God makes everything perfect and that’s exactly what you are. There was no mistake made when He crafted you with His very own hands. You were intentional, thought out, planned and formed in my womb by the hands of our Creator just the way He wanted you. You are not flawed. You are not less. You are Gods gift, His work of art, His child.

The angels ran to God and pointed you out while shouting to Him “There she is! She’s the one!”. They danced and sang has He told them how wonderful and unique you were going to be here on earth. Tears fell from their face, not because they were sad for you but because they delighted in the generosity that God was going to lay on you.

I have no idea why God look down and picked me. I haven’t accomplished anything huge. I’m not famous, rich, brilliant or talented. I’m simple and haven’t done anything in my life to deserve the honor of being your mommy but I promise to spend the rest of my life honoring the gift that God gave me. I promise to always honor you.

Justin, you’ve always had autism my sweet girl but autism has never had you.

You are my sunshine.
Love
Mommy.

Birds and Bees

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I’ve had several request from friends asking me to write a blog about the birds and bees talk with our kids. Maybe it’s because I’m a mommy to lots of girls or because I already have a teenager. Maybe it’s because they’ve seen how open and confident our teenager is when it comes to discussing these issues with us. I’m not sure why they trust me on this matter but I promised that I would write about it. It won’t be for everyone and I’m definitely not an expert, this is just how we do it in our home, what I believe in, what we see going on in the teen world and how we handle it. I am under no delusion that everyone agrees with me.  I guess it’s not really a post on the birds and bees but what the lack of communication, lack of brutal honesty, our self-centered society and what  our entitlement and the entitlement we give to our children does to them in the long run. I’m also going to give my view on divorce and how the way we as parents handle it affects our children. You might not like it, you might disagree and there are several exceptions to my experience on it. I understand all of that, this is my view and my experience.  I’ve written this for my girlfriends.

I recently read somewhere that children who become involved in a relationship, boyfriend/girlfriend, before the age of 12 are 60% more likely to become sexually active as teens. I read it in a book from an author whom I put much faith in and who dedicates her life to teaching young girls and boys about purity, faith and living the way that Christs intends for us to.

I also recently read this startling bit of info. A recent  survey found that 38% of Christian teen girls have sent or received a sext message, 57% have viewed porn, and 73% struggle with self-image.

Maybe I should stop reading so much because it’s starting to freak me out.

Our birds and bees sex talk with our girls isn’t a moment when we sit down with them and go over everything we think they need to know. It’s an ongoing, progressive talk that we’ve been  having for many years.  It’s also not all about what we say to them. It’s about the examples that we set, the way we act, the way we treat our spouses, how we speak to each other, how we dress and how we treat ourselves. The aren’t just listening to us, they’re watching us too.

The very first time that we had to have any sort of sex talk with one of our girl was when our oldest was 6 years old. Yes, 6. We were all sitting down eating dinner when she calmly let us know that “Stacy’s parents don’t have sex anymore.”.
I would pay good money to have captured to the look on my husbands face when those words flowed from her mouth. We smiled and said okay and then rushed through the meal. Apparently Stacy’s parents fought in front of Stacy and weren’t very careful about what she heard. Stacy repeated their fights to her friends, teachers and counselor at school. I bet Stacy’s parent wish they would have been a little more discrete while fighting in their home in front of their small impressionable little girl. I’m sure Stacy wishes she had never heard or seen them fight.

Later that night while I was getting her bath ready this conversation went down.

“Honey do know what sex means?”
“Yes, it’s when a boy and girl lay in bed and hug each other”
I would have liked to stop there but knew that I couldn’t.
“Well it’s actually when a HUSBAND and WIFE  lay together at night and show each other their love with their body’s while they hug and kiss.”
“Okay”

And that was that.

Conversation about sex go very differently with her 8 years later.

We’ve decided that brutal honest is best. I promise that if we aren’t talking to her about it and telling her the truth then some teenager is talking to her about it and telling her their version. I’d rather her hear and trust our version.

When she asks what any sexual act is  we tell her in as much detail as needed. We also do our very best to not have a completely shocked look on our faces or scream “Where in the world did you hear that!!” . We try to never bash the source of where she heard it and we make sure that she knows that kids will inflate stories to sound cooler than they really are so there is no repeating of the gossip to her friends.

She is completely confident that she can ask us anything and she will get the honest answer and that there will not be any repercussions for knowing and asking. She is just as comfortable talking to her daddy about these things as she is talking to me about them. Daddy has a harder time keeping the shocked look off his face, especially the day she had maturation class and called him to tell him all about how feminine products work.

She got in the car two days ago and said “Mom I can tell you anything right?”.  Then a barrage of shocking stories spewed from her mouth about the goings on with middle school/high school kids.

Did you know how common it is for boys to text girls and ask for nude pictures of them? It’s happening and more girls are complying than I care to admit. In the last week I’ve heard of three girls that took pictures of themselves nude and/or in a sexual act and sent them on to “friends”. Those pictures were then passed around like hot potatoes. That’s just in one week!

Boys and girls are getting caught having sex at school.
Sexual acts are being filmed at school and posted on social networks to show just how cool it is.
Girls are “satisfying” boy in class, in the lunch room and I’m sure other places I haven’t heard about. It’s happening outside of school too. It’s happening at the movies, the park, friends homes, our homes, even church…yes church!

This isn’t just happening in the public school system and my daughters are part of a pretty amazing school district. When I was the cheer coach for a Christian private school I was told by the girls that it was going on there too. One even showed me texts a boy at the school had sent her requesting nude photos… a Christian boy at a Christian school.

I’m not okay with any of that.

What is going on in our society that kids are starting to think that this behavior is getting them the attention that they crave.  A little girl doesn’t let her friends film her satisfying a boy at school because it’s cute, she does it because she is desperate for some sort of attention. Why? Where are we going wrong?

Kids are living in the now with very little consequences and it’s terrifying. We’ve become scared to punish their behavior or hold them accountable. We have become too worried about them liking us as their friend.  We have accepted that broken homes are common. Our society is becoming more and more numb and accepting that this kind of behavior is the new normal.

It’s not.
It’s not okay.
It’s not normal.
It’s not God’s plan for our families and future generations.

It’s up to us to stand up for them, to teach them the truth no matter what is becoming acceptable around them. We also need to not be naive and think that it can’t happen to us and our children. These kids don’t need us to be their best friends, they need us to be their parents. It’s not cute when an elementary/middle school child has a status of “In a relationship”, “taken”, “single” or anything else that defines where they are with the opposite sex posted on their social network site.. I’ve been challenged as being wrong on this one  saying that they are learning to form romantic relationships with the opposite sex that they will use in the future. I disagree. At that age they need to be learning how to form relationships as peers, not partners. It’s okay to wait. There’s no rush. Let them be kids because once they become adults there’s no going back.

Our oldest daughter is the victim of divorce. That’s not her fault, never has been never will be and it’s not her cross to carry. It has been her daddy’s and my number one goal in her life to never let it affect her. From day one we put our feelings aside and her feelings first. She has never heard a single negative thing about the other parents come from either of our mouths. As a matter of fact she hears us tell each other that we love each other and how thankful we are for each other every time we are all together.  My first priority is her relationship with her dad, yes that relationship comes before my relationship with her.  She will never have an empty space in her where her daddy should be.  She will never be desperate for the affection of  a father figure or a man who truly loves her. She has a daddy and step daddy who fill that need each and every day. That has been  my responsibility to her since I chose divorce.  As parents we have to stop using these children to manipulate and hurt the other parents. We have to stop using them to control our relationship with the other parent or gain some sort of power over the other parent.  It’s causing a bigger problem in their lives than we are able to see. It’s filtering over to their social life, self-image, sexual exploration and  desperation for a relationship and love.  I understand if one of the parents is a harm to the child and there is a need to be separated.  I am writing about divorce where both parents are capable and healthy for the child but the parents can’t seem to separate their own feelings from those that are truly best for the child.  It’s not just divorced parents  but also parents that are fighting in their marriage and using the kids against each other as well. These kids are not pawns and it is affecting them greatly. I’m sure little Stacy can testify to that.

Very early on in our daughters lives we start to pray for their husbands with them. We pray that he is respecting himself and others and that he is doing his best to stay pure. We pray that the devil is terrified of his faith and can’t get near him. We remind our daughter to respect their future spouses and themselves. We tell them that first kisses are best reserved for real love and that sex was designed by God to be one of our most amazing experiences but that experience is intended for our husbands only. If they wait for their husbands they will experience sex the way that God intended it to be and it will be wonderful.  We also tell them that the devil uses sex probably more than anything to get us away from God.

We check our daughters phone daily. We have an open door policy, meaning I can open her door whenever I want to and if I feel like it  I can go through everything in her room. We know who her friends are and who their parents are. We say no even when we don’t want to. We talk to her daily about whatever we can get out of her. We listen. We answer. We are not overbearing but it is our job to give her enough rope to venture, explore and learn but not enough to hang herself.

Not once in 13 years have we had to go through her room.
She’s never been grounded.
She’s never made a bad grade.
I’ve never been shocked by a single text or phone call in her phone.
I’ve never had to question her whereabouts or had to double-check her story.

She trust us and we trust her. She respects us and we respect her. We make it our goal to teach her to respect herself.

She’s not the perfect child (major teen brain these days) and we are by far the perfect parents but she knows without a doubt that she can tell us anything, I mean anything, and she will never get in trouble as long as she is honest with us.  She also knows that no matter what she will get the truth from us and we will give her as many details as she wants.

We decided to not be embarrassed or scared to talk to her about anything. We’ve decided that we pray for those who we feel are on the wrong path and never put them down or repeat rumors that we’ve heard about them. We’ve decided to tell her the truth about sex before someone else tells her lies or tries to physically show her what it all means. We’ve decided that her trusting us, knowing that we support her and that she is in an open and safe home is more important than the fear and mild embarrassment of having to sit down and talk about the birds and the bees.

You’re A Duck

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20,000 ducks took the plunge into the beautiful river that flows through our downtown. We sat under an umbrella on the bank and watch them start to make their way downstream.

Our family had 12 ducks in the charity duck race that helps employee the homeless. We knew our chances of winning were slim but the excitement of watching the ducks and knowing that we were helping our homeless community was good enough for us.

Firemen stood at the drop site and gave the ducks a start by showering them with the powerful fire-hoses.

They were off!

I noticed that one little duck somehow got wedged under the rock of the river bank and couldn’t move with the rest of the racers.

One of the firefighters noticed too.

He put his hose on that little duck and would not give up. It seemed like it wasn’t going to budge, but neither was that firefighter. He was relentless and kept trying to free the stuck duck.

I wondered why he was wasting so much time on that one little duck. After all, 19,999 ducks made it and were on their way to the finish line.

He didn’t give up.

After most of the ducks had already finished the race that one little duck finally escaped the rocky bank and was on its way down the river.

He might not have been the duck that crossed the finish line first but he had someone who did not give up on getting him back in the race.

“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?  And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders  and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’  I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” Luke 15:4-7

Like the firefighter who refused to give up on the little duck stuck on the rocks, Your heavenly Father refuses to give up on you. Even as His children run towards the finish line singing His name in glory, if He has one child that is left behind He will go back for that child.

You’re His duck. He will never leave you wedged in a place that you can not escape from. He will rescue you. He will make sure that you are able to get in the race and head towards the finish line.

You are so worthy in His eyes that He could never abandon you in your time of need. That is when He focuses His eyes on you, points the powerful hose and relentlessly tries to free you from the river bank.

He will not leave you.
He will rescue you.
He will never give up on you.

You are His duck.

In the moments when we feel abandon we can always turn our eyes to our Lord and know that we are not alone.

Today you’re a duck.

Let’s pray

Heavenly Father thank you for your relentless quest for our love and safety. Help us rest in knowing that You will never leave us and that even in our deepest moments of despair You always have a plan for us that is more beautiful than anything we could ever dream of. Thank you for the cross. In Jesus name, amen.

None of our ducks won the great race but our girls had a blast and we enjoyed the day together as a family. What I didn’t enjoy was the duck noise makers that my husband proudly bought for the girls..

rubber duck

Teach Me How To Steal

Heavenly Father help me steal time today

Help me steal 5 extra minutes with this warm cup of coffee before the rest of the house gets up.
When we are rushing about our morning help me steal a special moment with each one of my girls.
Let me slow down, not hurry and when I am brushing each girls hair let me steal a moment to smell their sweet scent.
Remind me to steal glances with my husband, the ones that remind us that we are a team and still in love. We may bend but we will not break.
Give me time today to steal with You and not just moments of desperation when I beg You for something but valuable time between a daughter and Father.
Give me time with the teenager who is growing so fast, give me more years to have her just be my little girl.
Help me steal a few minutes for myself, to revive and regenerate.
Remind me to steal time for the little moments, the ones I will never get back. Teach me to savor each laugh, tear and word spoken from the ones I love.
Don’t let me waste another precious moment.

Heavenly Father help me steal time today.

Empty Roads

The Unlikely Cheerleader

I was a cheerleader in highschool. It’s kind of strange to think about. That time in my life was when I hid who I was the most. It’s funny that I was one of the girls trying to pep people up and put smiles on their faces. I was the unlikely suspect and I wouldn’t have ever told a single soul.

Oddly enough I was pretty good at being a cheerleader. That’s not something that I brag about too often but honestly I think that I was just physically strong and good at hiding behind a smile.

Watching The Empty Road

Every summer we went to camp and at camp we tried out for All American Cheerleader. We would have to cheer by ourselves in front of the entire camp. I always faced it with confidence and for the most part always did very well, right up until my senior year.

My mom never once missed an event of mine or my brothers. She made sure that she would be there to watch us do whatever we were in to at the time. That meant she would take off of work and drive three hours just to watch me do one cheer. She made sure that we knew that we meant something and that we were worth it.

There was only one time in the many years that I was a cheerleader that she wasn’t able to come watch. She had to travel out of town for work and would not be there the summer of my senior year to watch me try out for All American.

My dad vowed to take her place and make the drive to watch me. He promised that he would be there. He promised. I filled my heart with faith. I convinced myself that this was going to be the one time that he kept his word. I took my heart out and laid it down, wide open and unprotected.

We stood in a line waiting for our turn to cheer. We were outside and could see the entrance to the school from where we stood.

I never took my eyes off of the road leading in to where I was standing, not for a second, I stared at it the entire time. I don’t think that I was praying to God because I was already so made at Him that I had stopped speaking. I started talking to myself

“Please show, please show, please show.”
“1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. 8 more girls before I’m up. There’s still time for him to get here.”
“How did he forget about me?”
“Are all the girls staring at me?”
“Are they whispering about me getting stood up by my own dad?”
“I don’t care if he shows up stoned, in a stolen car, with a random woman, just please show up.”
“1, 2, 3, 4. Only 4 left until it’s my turn”
“I can’t do this. I’m going to quit.”
“Come on, come on, let me see him drive up the street. There’s still time.”
“1, 2.”
“If he pulls up now he can at least catch a glimpse of me cheering from the street.”

They called my name. No dad in sight.

It was the first time that I tried out for All American Cheerleader and didn’t win it. I failed. I wasn’t worth it to him…again.

There was no way that I would have ever let a single person there see a tear come out of my eyes. My heart that I had left open and unprotected immediately turned to stone.

Faces In The Crowd

It wasn’t until many years after that when I realized that all the moms and dads that where there knew exactly what was going on with me and they did everything that they could to soften the blow for me without me knowing that they knew. They were my mom’s close friends and knew why she couldn’t be there and they knew that my dad would never show. They had to sit there an watch me squirm with anxiety, they had to watch my heart break and they couldn’t do a thing for me.

I had family there, I was just so caught up in what I wanted that I failed to see all that God had put around me. I also never stopped to look up. My heavenly Father was there to watch me cheer. He had front row seats. He had angels dancing and singing in anticipation of my name being called.

He had to let my heart break. It was the only way for me to take my focus off of the things that were hurting me and take a look around. I was blind to all the people that loved me because my desperation for my dad wouldn’t allow me to see it. All those people thought I was worth more than precious jewels and I wasted years feeling worthless because I couldn’t see them.

God puts the most amazing things in our lives and he can’t wait to see the looks on our faces when we see them. It breaks His heart to watch us focus on the negative things in our lives. He wants us to let them go and let Him be our focus.

Look up. Take your eyes off of the bad and be amazed by all the wonderful things that God has all around you. Let go and let God. Don’t stare at the empty road waiting for something that isn’t coming. Look into the crowd of loving and familiar faces that are there to cheer you on.

Let’s Pray

“Gracious Father thank you for never leaving us. Help us to remove our focus from the hurt and pain and open our eyes to Your mercy and grace. Teach us to see our cheerleaders that are in our crowd and help us to be cheerleaders in our friends crowds. When we can’t take our eyes off of the empty road gently put Your hand on our shoulder and turn us to face our crowd. In Jesus name, amen”

Even though that year at camp held my biggest hurt, it also held one of my greatest memories to date. Two of my very favorite and funny girlfriends and I laid in a twin sized bed and sang our hearts out to Reba McEntire. For as long as I live I will remember that moment as simply being a kid and having two people next to me that truly loved me. I love you for that Sarah and Holly.