Saturday, December 15, 2012

A world that is broken

It's funny how I am moved to write.  It's the way I let it out, cry it out, and shout it out to a world that is broken.  It's the way I try to make sense of things that don't make sense and call out to a God that I know is always listening. 

My heart was broken this weekend.  Thinking on all that isn't right in this world.  Friends facing divorce, innocent kids losing their lives, a friend that is mourning the anniversary of the death of her 5 year old boy, my own kids and the trials they face due to divorce.  Everywhere I look people are suffering.  I had lunch with a mom that is recovering from divorce, drugs, alcohol, and chaos.  She is trying to put the pieces back together but they keep crumbling around her.  Another dear friend was homeless only two short years ago and living in a woods.  She was nine months pregnant and my heart ached for her and the road she was on.  Every day I hear of another marriage in trouble.  Men and women deciding to leave their families and their precious kids to be with another.  I see kids at the schools that get picked on, teased, and sit alone at recess.  Another friend lost his wife to cancer 15 months ago.  He has a five year old daughter and is left to put the pieces back together.  He's not happy with God. 

I've had my own share of heartache.  I have felt crushed, worn out, tired, and alone.  I know what it feels like to have something ripped out of your hands.  I have seen my kids shed tears and ask questions of "why?" and "how come?".  Hudson and Leo don't even remember the previous life (the one with their mom and dad in it).  They shuffle back and forth.  Two homes, two different set's of rules, different people, etc... I am missing half of my kids lives.  That's a tough reality.  I won't be with them on Christmas or New Year's because it's not my year.  I didn't ask for this, it was chosen for me.

My heart is heavy and at times I feel down.  It's hard to live in the "now" and yet not forget the "then".  I am so thankful for the life I have with Brian and the four boys that have stolen my heart.  I realize that this blessing came at a price.  We both lost something dear to us.  Our kids lost something dear to them as well.  Divorce stinks, death seems unfair, and the heartache that comes with pain is sometimes too much to bear.

Then God calls out to me.  He says "Loree I am here"  "I am crying too"  "I am saddened by the choices my people have made"  "I love you".  He reminds me that He is here.  He is not leaving.  He cares about every single suffering person.  He loves them no matter who they are, what they believe, and what they have done.  He holds each one in his heart.  He will keep calling out no matter how many times they say "Where are you God" or "How could you let this happen".  He doesn't cause the pain, this is not His plan.  He does promise that He will put the broken pieces back together if we are willing.

My friend that lost her son, She has two beautiful kids that don't take life for granted.  They have pushed forward.  They will never forget their sweet boy but they have been surrounded by people that love them more than words.  Divorce stinks but I have seen God use it to break people down and show them a greater love than they ever imagined.  A love that I experienced.  A love for my Saviour that I never had before.  He is my everything.  Would that ring true if my life was full of rainbows and roses?  My friend that was homeless now has a home :)  and a job, and a beautiful two year old girl, and she is in school!!!  I am so proud of her and the person she has become.  She is one of the best moms I know (not because of money or things but because she has a great big loving heart).  Our friend that lost his wife is hurting but I see that he misses God and he can't bear the thought of listening to worship music b/c he knows he will break down.  I see God moving in his life.  He is coming out of this.  I see it.  I know God has a plan for him and it's for good and not harm.  My kids . . . well I am taking it one day at a time.  I have learned to trust God with their care and to realize that He is the only one that is with them all the time.  My life was broken (and some parts of it always will be) but I have been given an amazing husband and four amazing boys that I never would have known without brokenness.  I don't take family for granted.  It's a gift.  I have been entrusted with this amazing gift.  Oh Lord thank you for giving me this beautiful broken life. 

You know what?  Today I went to a play with Hannah and Angela (Ken's girlfriend).  Last month I packed boxes at Jessica's (Brian's ex) apartment and helped her move.  God has given me a heart of forgiveness, compassion, and a desire to see peace and restoration to this broken picture.  I want my heart to be full of love.  I don't want to waste my time on petty things that don't matter in the reality of heaven.  I want Jessica and Ken and Angela and all of us to be in heaven one day.  I want us to rejoice over what God has done in our lives.  The past is gone.  Whatever they did to hurt us - Forgiven.  Whatever we did that hurt others - Forgiven.  It's all covered by the One that loved us so much that He took our place on the cross. 

I may not understand it all.  I don't claim to have the answers to life's hurts and tragedies.  I do know with all of my heart that there is a God and that He loves us.  He is not the author of sickness, divorce, pain, hunger, or death.  He did not cause this.  People, broken and lost, have caused this.  One day God will make everything whole again and the world as we know it will be no longer.  He will redeem all things.  He will restore the brokenness and we will have rest.  We will rejoice and sing at the top of our lungs.  This is not the end.  The final chapter has not come.  Even though we are weak, He is strong.  Although we are burdened, He promises rest.  Although we are broken, He is working to put the pieces back together.  When we have lost our will to fight, He steps in and wins the battle. 

I am thankful for a hope that goes beyond this life and for a peace that passes all understanding.

Love deeply, hold on to the things that matter, and trust in a God that loves you more than you know.



Saturday, November 3, 2012

Love makes the world go round :)

Love really does make the world go round.  Loving people can be easy but it can also be really hard.  The bible tells us "If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' love those who love them."  Hmmm, so we aren't just called to love those who love us?

It's easy for me to love people that show love to me.  God keeps giving me opportunities though to love people who don't love me.  I know in my heart that these people are broken.  They have deep rooted hurts.  Maybe they don't even love themselves.  What they need is for me to love them. 

Have you read the bible verse that says “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.  In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Romans 12:20.  It's funny that people (including me at times) have used this verse out of context.  We like the idea of putting burning coals on the head of someone that has hurt us or has rejected us or just isn't nice to us.  When I studied up on this verse I learned that ancient armies used burning coals against their enemies.  You can only stand up under hot coals for so long before you retreat.  Love is like this.  The more love we throw at someone the harder it is for them to hate us or even be unkind to us. 

Through deeds of love shown to those who have hurt us deeply, we may actually change their hearts. In that case, our enemy has now become our friend.  What would qualify as “hot coals?” A kind word, a phone call, a brief note, a meal, a small gift, running an errand . . . The list is endless, because “hot coals” refers to any act of kindness you do for an enemy. Your only limit is your creativity.

The selfish side of me wants to cause pain to those who have hurt me.  I am tempted to complain about them to others, to think of ways I can get back at them, or to just simply treat them the way they have treated me.  All of these options bring about more pain, frustration, and distance.  It leads to anxiety, stress, and destruction.

Love brings about healing, peace, and restored relationships.  It shows others that with Christ all things are possible.  Love shows that you love others more than yourself and that you are willing to let go of your pride in order to show love to someone that probably really needs it.  Love can turn an enemy into a friend and can bring hurting people to their knees in repentance.

God's word says this:  "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." 

Nothing we have done or could do in the future can ever separate us from the love that God has for us.  Why then do I let other's actions effect the love I have for them?  Nothing they do should keep me from loving them.  I know I have done things to hurt others at times.  It means a lot to me when they love me through my selfish behavior or forgive me when I don't deserve it.  When someone shows me kindness even though I have hurt them it melts my heart and makes me want to do something extra special for them.  

I want to love that way.  I have a long way to go but little by little my heart is changing and God is teaching me how to love the way He does.  I am going to try really hard to take these matters of the heart to God instead of complaining about them to others, I am going to try to see past the hurtful actions of others and look deeper into their hurting hearts.  I am also going to try really hard not to hurt others with my words, actions, or complaints.  Think before I speak, listen more than I talk, find the good in other's, admit when I am wrong, realize no one is perfect, and most importantly LOVE!!! Love unconditionally expecting nothing in return.  Love because it's what makes the world go round :)  

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Goodbye

No matter how many times I have to say goodbye to my kids, it never gets easier.

It's been over three years since I started saying "goodbye" to them every week.  Having six kids can be crazy.  There are days that you want to pull your hair out and days that you count the minutes until bedtime.  Sometimes I even look forward to Monday b/c that means it will be just me and Brian.

The funny thing is that every time Monday rolls around I start to feel sad and instead of counting the minutes until bedtime I start counting the days until I will see them again.  I start missing them the minute they walk out the door.

This morning I drove Hannah and Hudson to Kenneth's house to drop them off for an 11 day vacation.  I found myself driving slowly so I could make sure to tell them to have a great trip, remind them that I love them, and that we will see each other again very soon.  I gave them a big "it's a happy day" smile and then got in my car and started to cry. 

I remember telling myself three years ago that some day this would get easier.  The kids would get used to this and it would be ok.  The truth is, it never gets easier.  Parents weren't meant to say goodbye to their kids on a weekly basis.  Kids weren't meant to live in two houses.  I want them to live with me all the time.  I don't want them to go on vacation without me.  Goodbye just keeps getting harder. 

I am incredibly blessed, don't get me wrong, I have an amazing husband to share my life with and six beautiful children.  Every day I spend with them I fall more and more in love with them and this life God gave me.  That's the thing, the more I fall in love with this sweet family of mine the harder it is to be without them.

They love this family too.  It's hard for me to watch them say goodbye to each other.  This morning Leo gave Hudson a great big hug and told him he would "miss him so much".  On the way home Leo said  "I wish we could all be together all the time".  I replied "Me too buddy, Me too".  They are best friends.  One set of kids goes one way and the other set goes the other.  They give hugs and kisses, goodbyes and I love you's, and we drop them off.  We then come home to an empty house (which is what I want sometimes) and then it sets in - This house is too empty, too quiet, too clean - Bring back the noise, the mess, and the crazy life I love!!!!

I am thankful that I have Brian.  He makes the days without the kids easier.  I love him so much.  He is such a blessing to me and I don't think I will ever be able to thank God enough for such an unexpected gift.  He encourages me, lifts me up, and makes me laugh.  He has so much grace with me.  He is my best friend. 

Ok now I have to pick myself up, say goodbye to Brian (b/c he has to go to work), and prepare for total silence. . . . . .ok enough silence :)  Time to turn some worship music on and get this house clean - lol. 

Thanks for following my journey :) 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentines Day Brian - I love you!!!

I wanted to write a post and publicly declare my love for Brian Joseph Wheeler :)

Thank you for making me feel loved.  Not just today but everyday. 

There was a time when I wondered if I would ever feel love again.  I loved God, my family, and my kids.  I just wasn't sure if I would ever be in love again. 

Did I tell you that God is the ultimate match maker?  I knew I wasn't one to join a dating site or even look for love for that matter.  I had two kids to love and to love me back.  I also had a beautiful relationship with the one that created me.  God was (and still is) number one in my heart.

He (God) knew of a guy that loved Him too.  A guy that happened to have a story similar to mine.  A guy that happened to have four cute boys and a wonderful passion for life.  A guy that loved others more than himself.  A guy that I would soon meet but never saw coming :)

It all started at a bible study.  Go back to our very first post to read the story :)  Anyway, I was told about a bible study at Kingsway, I decided to go, A very sweet guy was teaching the class, He caught my attention because of His love for God, I caught his attention for the same reason, We ended up becoming friends. . . . .the rest is history.  A million things had to happen to make us find each other.  Nothing is impossible with God - nothing!!!

Now I am crazy in love.  I smile all the time.  I laugh everyday.  I am married to prince charming.  I have six kiddos that I love dearly.  I am happy.  I am loved.  I am in love.  I have a crush on my husband - A serious crush!!

You never know what life will bring.  One Valentine's day you are sitting alone eating pink pancakes with your kids.  You never imagine at that time that you will meet a wonderful guy and be swept off your feet.  You don't realize that your life will be richer than you ever imagined or that you will have someone to share your life with that makes your heart skip a beat (every single day!).  You have no idea that God loves you so much that he will hand pick the perfect person for you and completely turn your life around.

God is so good.  He loves us all.  He loves the least, the lost, and the lonely.  When you feel alone He is there to bring you comfort and to dry your tears.  He will never leave you or forsake you.  He loves us in our imperfections.  He loves us even when it seems that no one else does.  God is Love :)

Happy Valentines Day!!!

Monday, January 30, 2012

It has been a while since I have posted anything here.  Mainly because our life is full and I just haven't taken the time to sit down and blog for a while.

It has been a little over a year now that I have been married to the most amazing guy in the world :)  In one year we have made beautiful strides in our life together.  The kids have gelled so well.  It feels like we have been a part of each others life for a very long time.  I barely remember the days when it was just me and Hannah and Hudson.  It seems like a lifetime ago.

This year has been fun, challenging, crazy, beautiful, and busy!!  Raising six kids in a broken world can be challenging.  Our kids know first hand what brokenness feels like.  They also know what it looks like for God to take the broken pieces and make them into a beautiful new creation.  Living in two worlds can be difficult for them (and for us) but it gives us opportunities to teach them how to make good choices no matter where they are and to "put on" love in all circumstances.  They are discovering that a home isn't made up of walls and decorations but it's made up of people that love them.  We know it's not always easy for the kids to go back and forth and to have to adjust to different environments.  To be honest, it isn't easy for us either.  There are plenty of times that I have dropped them off and they have begged to stay (not because they don't love their other homes) but because the transition is hard at times.  I keep it together until we pull away and then I lose it :(   Saying goodbye to your kids every week can tug at your heart strings.

With that said, God has done amazing things through the power of LOVE this year.  Our relationships with our ex-spouses have been positive and encouraging.  I can still be selfish at times and even insecure.  Sometimes I want my way or I get tempted to dwell on the past.  Praise God that these feelings have diminished because of love.  God has put on my heart (and Brians) to show love in all circumstances and to put aside our selfish nature in order to fight this battle not with anger, bitterness, and hatred but with love, grace, and compassion.  I can honestly say that I love our exes and look forward to building on what God has already accomplished this year in our hearts and theirs. 

Here is a picture of what God has done through love this year.  Jessica has welcomed Hannah and Hudson into her heart.  She has invited them to go swimming, to play at her house with the boys, and to show them affection when we are together.  Kenneth and Angela have invited Jessica and the boys to go bowling and other activities this year.  Yes, it's true!!  Our ex-spouses are building relationship as well which is showing our kids so much love.  It's no longer two separate worlds but our worlds are starting to collide in a wonderful way.  Last week after Hannah's basketball game we stayed late and Brian, Kenneth, Tristan (Angela's son), Hannah and Hudson played basketball together while Angela and I sat and had girl talk.  I can see myself having a wonderful friendship with both Angela and Jessica in the future.  God is so good!!!

Of course, I have also learned a great deal about LOVE through the most loving man I know.  Brian has such a loving heart.  He seriously makes me feel so loved and cherished everyday.  He has shown me that love is a choice.  He is always positive.  He takes care of me.  He makes me feel like everything will be ok (no matter what) and he knows just how to cheer me up when I am feeling out of sorts.  I can be cranky, selfish, and even rude at times when I am having a bad day.  Instead of avoiding me and telling me I am being selfish he puts on love instead.  He will put everything aside just to make my day better.  I don't deserve him.  I truly don't!!  I thank God daily for bringing him into my life and for giving me someone that makes me feel cherished and loved every day.  If the saying is true "You become like those you spend the most time with" I am one blessed girl!!

Can I tell you another beautiful thing?  I am so proud of all six of my children.  I seriously love telling people that I have six kids.  They can drive me crazy at times and the noise level can be outright insane but I am so incredibly blessed.  They are so different and unique.  They keep me on my toes both physically and spiritually.  We have a big job :)  Raising six kids to love others more than themselves, teaching our boys how to stand up for what is right and to be boys of God rather than of the world.  Teaching our girl about purity and what God's design for love looks like.  How to dismiss the unkind words girls can say to you when you are only in third grade and how to find your self worth in God and Him alone.  I know raising our kids is the most important job God has entrusted us with.  They are the future :)

Oh there is so much I could tell you about this past year.  About our businesses, our new house, our church etc... God has done so much and I want to tell you about all of it!!!  I guess I will have to blog more often :)

Love you,