Monday, May 31, 2010

A Tribute to My Mamow

Well, many of you know that I was in Georgia for a few days with my Mamow, who was in the hospital for 2 weeks.  I thought that I would share with you about this awesome woman and why I love her so much.

My Mamow’s name is Grace. She is the mother of my biological father (from whom I am estranged). For the longest time when I was a little girl, I thought the song “Amazing Grace” was about her.  I mean, I thought she was pretty great, and thought that everyone else should think so too. So, when we would go to church, which we always did, and I would hear them singing that song, I would just join in and sing loud ‘cause after all, it was MY Mamow we were singing about. I was the first born grandchild for her and we had and still have a very special bond.

Mamow is blind.  She has been blind since she was a little girl.  This has not stopped her from living life though.  She raised 4 children pretty much on her own.  She taught herself to play piano, guitar, and drums; and has played all of them in church.  She sings like an angel; she is where I got my signing talent from I am sure. She taught me my first song to sing in a talent show when I was 7.  It was something about climbing up sunshine mountain, where heavenly breezes blow.  I won that talent show. Mamow has always been my biggest fan.

When I was small we would take a walk to the downtown shops and go to a consignment shop called “Lollipop Lane” where I would surely talk Mamow into buying me some frock in there that I just couldn’t live without.  Then, we would walk to the corner Woolworth’s and buy hot roasted cashew nuts.  All the while, I would be leading her; telling her when to watch her step and when cars were coming.  I protected her. 

My friends never could understand why I was so excited to be spending time with my grandma.  They just didn’t understand how much fun we had when we were together.  We would lay in bed at night ‘til all hours telling goofball jokes and just laugh and laugh. 

I had a thing for soup and, not together!! That’s disgusting!  I loved eggs, but they had to have the yolk in them so that I could dunk my toast.  Well Mamow not being able to see would sometimes poke my yolk and bust it.  She would then put the egg on her plate and cook me another one.  We went through this until I had the egg I wanted and then she would eat the others.  We often joke that that is why she has high cholesterol.  My soup love was stronger.  If I didn’t have soup for lunch I didn’t think I had eaten.  My mom would come pick me up after she got off work and I would quickly tell her that Mamow had not fed me.  Mamow would say “well Buttons (her nickname that she still calls me), don’t you remember you had a grilled cheese?” Well, I didn’t have soup and to me I was starving! I loved to have Mamow’s hand made biscuits.  I would stand on the stool next to the counter beside her while she put all the ingredients into the bowl and then she would make a hole in the middle and pour the buttermilk in the hole, all the while mixing with her hands to “feel” for the perfect consistency.  Remember, she couldn’t see to measure out anything, it was all by feel. Then they would come out of the oven and I would smear butter on that biscuit and just know I was in Heaven.

My parents divorced when I was 8 and I felt my life had been ripped from me when I had to move away from Mamow. I can only imagine how she felt. We spent all waking hours together.  My mom had to work a lot, so it was Mamow who took care of me.  She practically raised me for 8 years.  She used to watch her “stories” in the afternoons.  At that point, she could still see shadows and would lay on her stomach on the floor in front of the big console TV.  I would go lay on her back and ultimately fall asleep.  Mamow would just lay in the floor until I woke up.  After my parents divorced, we did still see each other; she would come stay with me, my mom, and my stepdad (who later adopted me).  When I was 16 I went to live with Mamow for about 6  months.  Those were some of the best times ever.  I hated to leave her, but for her health reasons, I had to go.  During that time though, Mamow made sure I got back into church and she pushed me (literally) on to the platform to sing a song; the first song I had sang in a long time.  She told me God had given me a gift and I must, must, must use it for His glory.  So, I practiced and she would tell me “go back to that second verse Buttons and try to hit that note a little stronger” I hated that song by the time I sang it!! Ok, well  not really, but I was tired of it. :)

Yes, she was always my best friend and even as a teenager I knew I could trust her with anything.  When I would get in trouble (which was very often as a teen), I would call her collect to talk to her about it (there were no cell phones back then!)  She still tells people that she knew when I called in the middle of the day collect that I was in some type of trouble.  She was actually the first person I called when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter at 17.  I knew she would calm me and have some words of wisdom.  I was right.

Yes, she is an amazing woman.  This blog is just the tip of the iceberg.  I could write for hours telling you stories about her.  She is an amazing woman of God and loves Jesus.  I know many nights I made it home because she was on her knees praying for me. She believed in me when no one else did.  She encouraged me and never judged me; EVER. She loved me no matter how I messed up.  She always told me God has chosen me for a great work.  She was and is my biggest fan.  I know she would lay down her life for me.  I have never once doubted her love for me.

So you see, I have to be there for her.  If it means driving to Georgia, then I will.  If it means staying in the hospital all night with her and not sleeping because she bottoms out, then I will do it.  I will do whatever it takes to be there for her as she always was for me.  I will rub her back and hair to calm her while nurses are sticking her with needles.  I will read to her to help her relax.  Whatever needs to be done, I will do that because she always did that for me. She is an awesome woman of God. She was my strength when I was weak and a prayer warrior for me before I acknowledged I needed prayer.  She is a fighter; an over comer.  She is my Mamow; and I am HER biggest fan.


Sunday, May 23, 2010


I was listening to my Mandisa CD the other day (love that girl!) and her song “Voice of a Savior” came on.  I truly LISTENED to the words and started thinking about how true those words are.  We all have a hole in our heart; our Spirits that we need filled.  We try to fill them with all kinds of different things.  Some of us try drugs, sex, alcohol.  Others look for it in success or money or earthly things.  Still some look for it in attention from the opposite sex or even in their spouses. Some just love to deny that there is a God; yet only God could make someone as remarkable as you!

We all have a place that needs to be filled.  I have talked to so many people over the years that have said “I just feel like there is something more out there.” Well, yes there is.  I have never been so happy as when I am doing God’s work.  I have never been so happy as when I was in China, filthy dirty with mud building those people a church. Never will we be so fulfilled as when we are serving God and others.

I looked around my church this morning and saw so many people from so many different backgrounds.  I saw people who had once been hooked on drugs.  I saw people who have been having marital problems due to their own mistakes (and we all make mistakes). I saw people who have been hooked on alcohol and some who have been in jail.  But, I saw them all gathered in one place praising God.  They found what fills that hole in their heart.  They found out it is not alcohol, drugs, sex, or otherwise.  No, they found their space is only filled by the living God; the God who made the universe.  The God who formed the sky, moon, stars and YOU.  They found they are truly happy when they are in His fellowship. 

We all have to come to the conclusion in our own way (see blog on Point of Brokenness) and we can fight it as long as we want to.  We may feel like we don’t want to give up our current way of life.  We may feel like we won’t have any fun.  Let me assure you of this…I have been drunk, high, etc and never did I truly have fun.  My church family means the world to me and with them, I truly have fun.

So, now we all have a choice…what or Whom will you let fill your spot? You are in need of a savior…will you listen to His voice, as He is constantly speaking, and allow Him to come in and fill your God space? Will you allow your life to overtaken by the one who gave it to you? Will you offer yourself to Him to use for His glory? Will you listen to the voice of a savior?

Thursday, May 20, 2010


The Bible tells us that “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled”.  So my question to you is: how hungry are you?  How thirsty are you?  My husband spoke on this last night in youth and it really hit home with me.  Sometimes I don’t feel like I do enough.  Sometimes I feel I am just not good enough.  No matter how hard I try, how hard I pray, how hard I seek God.  I just feel like I fall flat on my face.  I feel like I make a mess out of things.  I feel like I don’t the “right” things to say to someone who comes to me seeking advice or needing to be ministered to.  Sometimes I  just feel empty…..

This week has been one of those weeks for me.  I feel empty. I don’t feel like I have another thing to give.  I was supposed to preach at youth last night and I just could not do it.  I have had personal problems; people who are dear to me have been sick and have to have tests run this week and next week; I have had the enemy come against me in so many ways-and it’s only Thursday!! So, I told Michael “baby, I just can’t do it.  You have to preach.”  You see, we minister out of our overflow.  If I don’t have an overflow (and right now I don’t feel as if I do), then how can I minister to people?  I am sure I could’ve prayed and fasted and God would’ve given me the energy and grace to preach, but I just did not feel I could do it.

So, now what is it I need to do?  Well, the above tells me what I need to do.  I need to hunger and thirst for righteousness.  I need to pray, fast, and grab hold of God.  I need to tell him like Jacob did in the Bible “I am NOT letting go until you bless me” And I need to mean it.  I need to dig my heels in and be ready to go for it.  The awesome thing is that I really don’t have to do much; just seek.  I need to come to Him hungry, weary, and ready to receive.  That’s all; He’ll meet me right where I am.  That’s the awesome thing about Jesus.  He is ever ready and willing to refuel us.  All He wants is a contrite heart and a willing spirit.  I do mess things up.  Why? I am human.  He is there to make it right though.  He is there to scoop me up in His arms, smother me with grace and fill me up with His spirit.  He is there to love me.  Do I deserve it? NO; none of us deserve what He did for us…that is grace at work. 

Are you tired? Worn out? Weary? Then, come to him hungry and thirsty, ready to receive.  He will meet you right where you are…

Thursday, May 13, 2010

More of the Michael Chronicles

Well, people loved hearing about the crazy boy who turned into my husband! I have had so many questions; legitimate ones.  “How did his family feel?” “How did they react to you?” “When did you tell Shelby?” So….I will continue the Michael and I story here in this blog.

Well, of course his family loved and still love him.  They were not too sure of me.  I can’t blame them at all.  Of course, at that time, I just didn’t understand why they didn’t know I loved him.  As a mom with a soon to be 17 yr old boy I can say that I would not be too sure about the situation if my son came home with a girl who was pregnant by someone else. Like any relationship it took time. They got to know me and my heart…they talked to me and heard my story.  They realized that I really did love Michael. I will say this…they never judged me and they never treated Shelby any way but like family.  After a little bit, they came to see that I wasn’t looking for a daddy for my baby when Michael came along.  I wasn’t looking for anything; but God had a plan.

As far as telling Shelby that Michael wasn’t her biological father, we waited until she was about 12.  Why did we wait so long? Well we waited because we thought it was best.  We wanted her to be able to understand the whole story.  BUT we didn’t want her to old enough to feel like she had been lied to for her whole life. I know you are asking yourself “well, how did you tell her?  What did you say?” Well, I am so glad you asked :)

We simply told her the truth.  I told her that her father had not been ready. Even though he was way older than I was, he just wasn’t ready to mature.  I told her he left us.  I told her I went to school and worked at Publix to save money to buy everything I needed to provide for her because at that point I didn’t know I was going to have a husband.  She cried.  She wept.  She just looked at us like we had shattered her life.  That’s some of the worst pain I have ever felt as a mom…the feeling that I ripped my daughter’s heart out. We asked her if that made her feel any different about Michael.  She just looked at us.  Then, she went to take a shower.  I remember this like it was yesterday.  She called me into the bathroom.  Once I was in there she said this “momma, remember how you asked me if this made me feel different about daddy?  Well, it does…it makes me love him even more.”  I knew then that God was in control of all of it!  All the pain that I had felt, all the pain that she could’ve felt.  God brought me into a family-Michael’s family that accepted me and Shelby.  They love us.  God brought me a husband and Shelby a dad.

In summary, I just want to say that I love writing these because it makes me remember all that Michael and I have been through.  It makes me look back and remember times that I usually don’t think of.  It makes me see the hand of God was all over our lives way before we served Him.  He has a plan…believe it!

Now, as you know we have a son named Brandon and no, I haven’t forgotten him.  He has his own blog coming…. :)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Give Me Your Eyes

So I was recently talking with a friend of mine.  This friend had been out of work for some time but has recently found a job (thank the Lord).  She was sharing with me how humbling her time unemployed had been to her.  As I listened she began to tell me how many nights she had prayed for someone to invite her to their house for dinner because she had nothing to eat.  She told me how sometimes she would eat just plain spaghetti noodles because that’s all she had.

As she spoke I began to get so angry at myself.  I should’ve done more.  I knew she was unemployed, but because she always seemed in a fairly good mood, I didn’t think things were that hard for her. I went home that night and cried.  I cried because I felt like a failure, not only as a friend but as a Christian.  Sometimes we can get so caught up in life and “changing the world” that we don’t see the hurt going on right in our own back yards. I felt like I wasn’t tuned in good enough to God…that maybe He tried to tell me but I was too busy to hear.

Does anyone get what I’m saying??? Have you been there?  Well, I prayed-I don’t want to be deaf to God’s voice.  I want to be tender hearted and eager to help others.  When He says “do!” I wanna do.

I love my friend…and if she reads this, she will know who she is---to her I say this:

“I am so sorry for not being there better for you.  I am so sorry that I was so “busy” that I didn’t hear God speak to me (if He did).  I am so sorry that I didn’t just take it upon myself to bring you a bag of groceries.  I am sorry for failing you as a friend.  And humbly, I ask your forgiveness…”

Monday, May 10, 2010

Will the Real (insert your name here) Please Stand Up???


This is a blog that I have been trying to get together in my mind for quite some time.  We all wear masks.  At some point or another, we are different people at work than we are at home or different people at church than we are at work.  Maybe we show more grace to our co-workers than we do to our own family. I know that sometimes I do.  The point is, at some point you hide your true self to appear better on the outside.  I have something to tell you though: God sees the heart.

He knows your insecurities.  He knows your hopes.  He knows your dreams. He knows when you think you aren’t good enough.  And he knows when you get a big head.  He knows your heart and loves you anyway.

We need to take off the masks.  We need to be real with people.  People don’t need to look at me and think that I have all together.  I don’t.  Only through the strength that God gives me can I have it together.  The more real we are with others the more receptive they are.

Some days I struggle.  I struggle with my temper, my thoughts, or any number of other things.  I tell God.  And I tell my prayer partners.  The Bible tells us to pray for one another.  When I am having a hard time, I need sometime to pray with me and for me.

Take off your masks today.  Reveal yourself to God, because He already knows.  Sometimes I have youth ask me how to pray.  I tell them to talk to God the way they talk to me.  He loves you and you know what---He likes you too!!! You are exactly what He needs you to be to fulfill the plan He has for you. He wants you to bring your brokenness to Him…He wants you to bring your dreams to Him….He wants you to bring it all to Him so that He can begin to mold the broken clay into His work of art.  Not what you want yourself to be, but what He designed you to be.

As “The Real Me” by Natalie Grant states…..wonderful, beautiful is what you see when you look at me…’re turning the tattered fabric of my life into the perfect tapestry….

Thursday, May 6, 2010

All Because 2 People Fell In Love

Tonight I thought I would share another part of my testimony----the story of Michael and I.  We have been married for just over 18 years….he is my rock, my man, my best friend.  Here’s our story:

We went to high school together in our senior year (I had just moved here).  We met, became friends quickly, hung out; did things that teenagers do. Well, I was not exactly a “good” teenager.  I liked to party, drink, etc.  I ended up becoming pregnant (with Shelby) at the beginning of my senior year.  Michael is not her biological father.  Her father was 24 (I was 17)..yeah I know what you’re thinking.!!! Anyway, after he found out I was pregnant and that I would NOT have an abortion, he left me.  We had worked together at Publix; that’s how we met.  I went into work one day and asked where he was; he had gotten transferred to the Publix about 30 minutes up the highway.  He wouldn’t take my phone calls—nothing.  So, I worked and worked, saved and saved.  I went my whole senior year pregnant; being talked about and judged.  I didn’t care.  I loved my baby and knew I could do it! 

Well, it got to be prom time.  I of course, was not going. Why? Well, did you ever try to find a prom dress to fit around a girl who was 9 months pregnant? Back then, it wasn’t that popular!  Michael, however, had a different plan.  He asked me to prom.  I thought he was kidding. He wasn’t.  He told me I deserved to be at prom just as much as anyone else and he would be more than honored to take me.  Ok, don’t cry—I know right now you want to!!! :)  Of course, I said yes. This boy fought for me; people ostracized him for wanting to be with a girl who was pregnant with someone else’s kid.  He didn’t care; he already loved me.  From that moment on, we were inseparable.  He went with me to find my dress, shoes, jewelry, etc.  He made me laugh; and that was something I had not done in a long time.  The rest, as they say, is history.  We fell in love.  We were just 17 years old, but I knew God (who I didn’t even serve at that point) had brought me this crazy boy.  I was scared…I had been hurt enough.  It took a while for me to trust him.  Then, it took a while for me to be ok with the fact of him helping me raise my child.  I wondered if he could love her.  I wondered if he would bond with her.  I wondered. He was there when she was born.  He changed her first diaper.  She got his last name after we were married; he has raised her as his own for almost 19 years now; and will continue to raise her. He will walk her down the aisle and be the one her children call “papa”.  He is her dad in all meanings of the word. 

We have had more than our share of problems….we were way young when we got married and I don’t recommend that to just anyone.  When I was ready to throw in the towel through the years, he was the one who kept fighting for our marriage.  He is a dedicated man and he loves me; still after all of these years.

Now, we have our 2 children, our 3 wiener dogs, our youth group, our home, and our happiness…….all because a crazy boy chased a pregnant girl and those 2 fell in love…

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Who Do You Think You Are????

So, last night I went off on a slight tangent on my Facebook status about people judging others.  This troubles me to no end.  We are not in a position to judge other people! Let me assure you: YOU ARE A SINNER!!!! The Bible states that we all fall and come short of the glory of God.  It is by faith alone that we are saved and made righteous.  That being said “who do you think you are?”

Above all, we are called as Christians to love others.  Am I saying we have to love what they do? NO.  We are not to love sin…..but we are to love the person.  God is judge alone.  He loves all people.  His son died for ALL people and in the end, he will stand as judge. Instead of judging others….I have an idea! (light bulb appearing over my head) Why don’t we try loving them so that they will be receptive to what we have to share with them when it comes to the Gospel? WHAT?!?!?!  Love them?!?!? Huh……interesting idea…..  People are so much more receptive when something is offered to them with love instead of condemnation.  I have witnessed to countless people (a nd had them actually listen) when I do it with love, without a pointing finger in their faces.

The Bible states that we will be judged as we judge others.  For some, that’s scary.  We better be careful.  We are sinners also; our sins just happen to be covered by the blood of Christ.  We are in no way to boast as if our salvation came from us! No! Our salvation comes from God alone…….He is the author and finisher of all things.

Allow me to challenge you.  The next time you meet someone you wish to judge….try to see them through the eyes of Christ.  Is this always easy? NO WAY! There have been plenty of people in my life that I can’t believe grace could come to so easily (see previous blog on grace).  But, that is not for me to determine.  God knows the heart.  Isn’t it so awesome that God looks to the heart of people? God sees hidden things that we can’t see-whether good or bad.  God knows the person and loves them anyway-just like He sees your heart and loves you anyway.  You are not above any….I am not above any.  Leave the judging to God, believe me, He is able to do it, you are not.  Love instead. It is what Jesus exhorted us to do while He was here on Earth. Things go so much more smoothly that way.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Raising a Teen? YIKES!

So, in the whole episode of my daughter flying the coop (see previous blog) I have had several people ask me how I did.  How I raised what seems to be (at this point anyway) a pretty grounded kid with a fairly good head on her shoulders.  How did I form such a good relationship with her and my son? How did I do it---having 2 children by the age of 19? Well, first off, let me say I am no perfect mother! None of us are, and if you think you are, you better think again.  As we all know, children don’t come with an instruction manual.  Nope, you get thrown in there and here ya go! There are a few simple things that I have always tried to remember while parenting. I will share a few of those here.  Please note: I am no parenting expert and my children are NOT perfect.  They make plenty of mistakes, but overall they are pretty good kids…

First, I have always kept the lines of communication open with my kids.  I have never balked (well not openly) at anything they have told me.  I always try to remember what it was like when I was there age, how I felt about things, and what influenced me.  Here’s the thing: we grow up and obviously, what is important to us now is not what was important to us when we were 14, 15 or 16. So, we have to rewind and remind ourselves of how we felt at those ages.  Don’t ever minimize what they are feeling; what they are feeling about a certain situation is very real to them (no matter how absurd it may sound to us)! Listen, hold them and try to remember so that you can empathize with their feelings.

Next, you don’t always have to give advice.  I know, I know! It is built into us! I know!!!!! Learn to hold your tongue.  When my daughter got her first real heartbreak, I just went to her room and held her while she cried; I said nothing.  I wanted to scream “see I told you—he was a moron!” I didn’t.  Why? Because she was already hurting, she just needed to be loved. Sometimes they don’t  need to hear what you think, they just need to feel your arms around them and feel your support.

Finally, you are the parent.  It is great to hang out with your kids (I love it!), but you are the adult! Believe me, when they get to be 16, 17, and 18 years old they will push you to your limits.  They will try to take control of your home.  Do NOT ever let them control your home.  Is it their home too? Of course, but you are the adult and you make the rules. Period.  May they speak to you and ask for certain things to be reconsidered? Of course….but it doesn’t mean it will happen.  I know parents who are afraid that their children will sneak around, so they let them do whatever they want.  NO! Then that child has control of the home….not good! When the child comes to the point of running your home, you are in for big problems.  I am not saying be a drill sergeant, but kids actually want boundaries, they just don’t know they do.

Above all, let them know you are there.  When they need you, you are there.  When they are ready to talk, you are there.  NOTHING is more important than your children. …invest the time, because before you know it, they will fly the coop…..treasure them, enjoy them, love them.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Flying the Coop

Usually I have something inspirational to say.  Usually I try to encourage everyone. Usually I write because God has used some “A-ha” moment to get through my very hard head and I want to share it all with you, so that maybe He can use that same “a-ha” moment to get through some other hard heads. But today, I got nothing.  Sorry to disappoint you. I have nothing awe-inspiring to say. Nothing that is covered with “hallelujahs” to bring a smile to your face.  Sorry….I can hear your disappointment right now. No, today I am not Kim the worship leader or Kim the youth pastor or Kim the counseling/theology student.  No, today I am Kim the mommy.  That’s all-----Kim the mommy.  I have been a mommy for almost 19 years now (I am only 36-you do the math). Being a mommy is my GREATEST accomplishment to date.  People told me I would not or could not ever be a good mommy since I was a teen mommy (that’s another blog) but as usual, when someone tells me I can’t or won’t that makes me even MORE determined to do the opposite. I knew I would be a good mommy and their negativity was even more fuel to the fire (a great big shout out to all you doubters out there!!!) Being a mommy is the most important thing (outside of my marriage and God) in my life.  I don’t write a lot about being a mommy because I don’t have a lot to offer.  When they are little, there are so many things to write about..hints, suggestions, things to make life easier.  However, when they are true teens and young adults (not teenagers) there is little to say except this:

“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” Proverbs 22:6

That’s pretty much all I can offer someone when they are out on their own, driving, dating, working, going to school and doing God knows what.  There are many nights of being on your knees praying, staying awake waiting for the headlights to pull in the drive way, and wondering if you are gonna have to literally kill the boy who touches her. No, all I can offer to you is the above.

My oldest is moving out today.  I am sad.  In packing her room, I have come across her baby book and pictures and I have thought of all the moments and times together.  I have also thought about all the moments and times missed.  All the mess ups that we do as parents. So, I guess in addition to the above verse, I do have one more small piece of advice….don’t waste time! It is too precious! They grow up so fast. I know how long 18 years sounds…believe me it’s not.  Do not put work, ministry, housework, homework, TV, or anything else in front of your children.  Believe me, the dust will still be there tomorrow-I promise! I thank God that I was able to be a SAHM for many years.  I volunteered in their classrooms and took field trips.  I helped her get ready for her first dance, and I helped her get ready for prom.  Today, I will drop her off at her new “home” and walk away to come to my own home.  I am terrified, I am sad, and I am reminiscent of the past. 

One more piece of advice: enjoy your children.  When they drive you crazy, when they are little and getting into everything, when they are young teens and have a smart mouth, when they are young adults and know it ALL (and believe me they know it ALL, just ask them)---enjoy them.  Each and every moment—enjoy it.

So, that’s all I got for ya today….  But, from one mommy to another… got this (well you and God got this), hang in there!