Sing Praises

Green CrossPsalm 7:17

I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.
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Praise to the God of All Comfort

Blue Splash Cross of Christ2 Corinthians 1:3-7 (NIV)

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,

4 who comforts us in all our troubles,

so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.

6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation;

if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.

7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

Lord your children need you!  Wrap your arms around us.  Let us know the joy we bring to your heart.  Continue at our side through our troubles and triumphs! Embrace us and give us the peace we crave!  Protect us and inspire us. Ordain us as ambassadors of HOPE! Amen.

Risen INDEED!!!!

Purple flowersMark 16:5-7

New International Version (NIV)

As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you … There you will see him, just as he told you.’”

A New Life

Purple Lent Cross2 Corinthians 5:14-15

One man died for everyone. That puts everyone in the same boat. He included everyone in his death so that everyone could also be included in his life, a resurrection life, a far better life than people ever lived on their own.

Lamb of God, your sacrifice is great! Thank you for inviting me into your boat.  Thank you for providing me a better life than I could ever do on my own. I hope for my new life with you and my new family in heaven.  Christ’s peace. In the name of the Father, Son, our Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Rest

Sleeping Kitty

Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. Genesis 2:3

Thank you for a day of rest.  Thank you for a moment to sit and reflect.  Thank you for my church, a community to praise you in song, word and prayer. Amen.

Blog Award Nominations

Academy AwardThank you Lord!  I needed this!

The Lord must have whispered in the ears of my blogging sisters, telling them I needed encouragement because when I checked my blog I felt like I walked into the Academy Awards. Wow-three (3) awards! I am incredibly grateful, honored, humbled and uplifted!

Since all three awards have basically the same acceptance rules, I will combine my acceptance speeches by posting all three at once.

Reality AwardThe Rules for accepting this award are as follows:

1. Display the award logo on your blog.

2. Link back to the person who nominated you.

The Water BearerInner Angels and Enemies

3. Answer the Questions

4. Pass the award  to any other bloggers you want —link to one of their specific posts so that they get notified by ping back

 

REALITY Blog Award Questions: A few I answered more completely in former posts, so I inserted the links.

 If you could change something what would you change?

I love the changes God brings into my life especially when God “turned my wailing into dancing; removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy” Psalm 30:11.  More about Celebrating Change

If you could relive one day, when would it be?

My wedding day – I would marry my husband a hundred times over again! It was a perfect day thanks to God and my hubby!

What’s one thing that really scares you?

Wicked people.

What one dream have you not completed yet, and do you think you will be able to complete it?

I love school!  I could go to college forever! I always wanted to earn my doctorate and God-willing – I will! Two degrees down and one to go!

If you could be someone else for a day, who would you be?

I enjoy putting myself into scripture, putting myself into the sandals of one of our biblical sisters – usually the wild ones. Caught in the Act

 

kreativ_blogger_award_zpsc05a7feaThe Rules of this award are:

1. Thank & link back to the blogger who nominated you.

Cheryl ShowersBurning Fire Shut Up In My Bones

2. List seven random things about yourself.

3. Nominate 10 other blogs that you admire and enjoy.

4. Notify the nominees.

5. Display the award logo on your blog.

Inspire AwardThe Very Inspiring Blogger Award rules are as follows:

1. Link back to the person who nominated you

Cheryl Showers  Burning Fire Shut Up In My Bones

2. Post the award image on your page

3. Tell seven (7) random facts about yourself

4. Nominate fifteen (15) other blogs

Seven (7) random things about Karen:

  1. I am an extrovert. I am inspired and energized by the beautiful people around me.
  2. I hate exercise but it is always more fun with someone else!
  3. I love to paint and wish I had more time to put all the inspiring images in my head on canvas!
  4. I am sensitive!  I hate being yelled at or made fun of!
  5. The lens I keep handy: All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).
  6. My daughter continues her battle with Crohn’s Disease.  I pray all my readers lift her up in prayer.
  7. I am thankful my children and I are living a happily and safely ever after in Christ’s peace.

There are so many incredible blogs on WordPress.  It was very difficult to nominate just a few.  I wish I had time to express my appreciation for each but the music started to play 300 words ago and they turned my mic off 150 words ago.

 Please take a moment to visit and enjoy the blogs I follow and nominate:

The Unexpected Pastor

life of a female bible warrior

clotildajamcracker

theseeker

christinnerharbor

wordsinbreathing

elroyjones

beautifulmess916

revenga73

The Trials & Triumphs of a Passionate Parent

dionnemast

On the Brighter Side

Not Your Victim

Sunshine Delinquency

gracegreenwoodauthor

consciousquared

My Journey

Web of ViolenceHello! My name is Karen.   I have sinned and fall short of the glory of God  (Romans 3:23). This is my journey to the cross and to an eternity I haven’t always embraced.

I was born the youngest of six children in a Catholic middle-class family.  I went to church every Sunday; was baptized, communed and confirmed. My family seemed liked a typical “nice” family. But like other families we had our secrets.

We couldn’t admit to having problems-we couldn’t air our dirty laundry. We never talked about our problems.  We didn’t get help.  And if the neighbors knew, they were “good” neighbors who minded their own business.

The greatest blessing my parents bestowed upon me was my baptism.  God was my constant companion.  I prayed for God to change my family, to just make them nice.

I prayed earnestly for God to wave His magic wand or sprinkle fairy dust or whatever it took to fix my family.  I believed if I prayed hard enough, became super involved in the church; knew the Bible well enough; obeyed God’s commandments and did everything “right”-I’d be worthy enough, I’d be good enough for God to finally answer my prayers according to my plan.

After the death of the only family members to ever show me an ounce of kindness, I lost all hope that God cared about me or would ever answer any of my prayers.  My closest brother committed suicide and my oldest brother died a year later.

God didn’t love me. God abandoned me or worse, there was no God.  I was just crazy! No one was ever going to rescue me.  But I was too angry to let God go.  I couldn’t let Him off that easy. I didn’t want God to hold me.  I didn’t want God to wipe my tears.  I wanted God to raise my brothers from the dead; not later-NOW!  I wanted to be rescued!

God tried to rescue me but I’m difficult to save. My life was like the faith joke titled “God Will Save Me.”  Most have heard a version of it; there’s a flood and a guy praying to God to be saved.  God answers with a truck, a boat and even a helicopter but each time the guy says, “No thanks God will save me” until the guy drowns. When he gets to heaven he says to God “I’ve been your faithful servant ever! Why didn’t you save me?”  God tells him, “I tried. What more do you want from me!!??”

My rescue plan never included abandoning the flooding house or my family.  When I prayed I told God the best way to save me such as stopping the flood of abuse while allowing me to keep my family and all of our secrets.  This was my plan; not God’s plan.  I realize now that God led me to a therapist who labeled the abuse, told me to get self sufficient, run and don’t ever look back! But I answered, “No thanks God will save me.”

God never gave up on me.  God led many people into my life to save me from the cycles of abuse.

My first husband tried to kill me.  I’m here today because God sent the police.  God led us to a Lutheran pastor who refused to marry us, but my parents said, “Marry him, the invitations have already been sent…God will protect you.”  God got the limo driver lost on the way to pick me up but my mother drove me to the church- I was married!

God didn’t give up.  God provided me with a compassionate doctor who wanted to save me from my abusive husband and family, but I assured him I’d be ok.  God didn’t give up.  God kept sending the police to save my son and me from the violence but I had too much pride to go to a shelter.  I was able to leave my abusive husband but I wasn’t safe. My family was just as abusive. And I couldn’t protect my son during his visits with his abusive father.

God led me back to church.  God led me to bible studies to learn to respect the delicate balance between law and grace.  God’s word made me strong in my faith and the Holy Spirit gave me the courage to insist my future husband, David attend church if he wanted to date me.

God tried to rescue us through his Word in our wedding vows but I wasn’t listening. God inspired David to adopt Philip to keep him safe.

However, the flood of dysfunction continued to climb because the people who hurt me were still in our life; and I couldn’t communicate. I was still keeping my family secrets. I had my own children and by denying the abuse, I was teaching them to pretend everything was okay.  We weren’t safe.

Easter Sunday (2003) was a day of awakening for me.  The pastor asked the congregation to raise their hands if they wanted to live forever.  David quickly raised his hand.  I didn’t. I did not want to live forever.  Come to think of it, I never wanted to live forever.  I always prayed for God to take my soul in my sleep. I accepted the reality that I would live forever but I couldn’t lie and pretend I wanted to live forever.  I couldn’t say I would ask for another hour, minute or moment to serve my sentence.

I struggled that Lenten season with defining a “scripturally” correct relationship with my family.  God calls us to honor our father and mother, but my mother deliberately hurt me, she hurt my children.

Christ calls us to turn the other cheek, but what if the other cheek belongs to my son or daughter?  How do I protect my children and remain faithful to God’s Word?

I prayed earnestly to be saved and with each prayer, God reminded me of all of my rescuers…my former therapist, the pastor, the doctor, the police…and the scriptures…every time I prayed, the message was the same-a voice was telling me to run; screaming over the waves threatening to drown us that we needed help- we needed to escape.

I finally began to listen on that Easter Sunday.  I finally began to consider a different plan. God had brought David into my life.  I allowed God to remind me of all the promises I made during my vows to David.  I promised like Ruth, “Where you go, I go; and where you live, I’ll live.  Your people are my people, your God is my God; where you die; I’ll die…so help me God!” (Ruth 1:17)  Verse16 actually says “Don’t force me to leave you; don’t make me go home.”

God called Abraham, Joseph, Moses, many prophets, his disciples and so many others to leave their families and follow Him…so why was I clinging to mine???

Finally more than nine years after my wedding vows I put God’s safety plan into action. I said good-bye to my abusive relationships and made a commitment to keeping my children safe and learning to live in truth.  In one single moment I went from hoping for a short life to praying for a long life.  My children and I were finally able to enjoy the unique gift of safety.

Psalm 4:8 says it best-

In peace I will lie down and sleep,

for you alone, Lord

make me dwell in safety.

God enabled me to give my life over to His plan, to follow His path, to forgive and love my abusers from a safe distance, to accept a new family, my church family. I never imagined that God’s plan would make me a pastor’s wife, nor that God would ever give me the courage and the honor of sharing my story in the hope of inspiring some else.

My children and I are safe. We are living a happily and safely ever after in Christ’s peace. Amen