Pride is a kicker!

I had a mammogram two days ago.

I know that seems like nothing. Besides going through the usual pain of being smashed between to pieces of metal and holding your breath through the pain, it is so rough for someone who has had cancer.

I walked into the ultrasound room telling the nurse, Rita, a friend of mine since I was diagnosed 4 years ago, “Ignorance is bliss”. First time around was so much easier.

Two weeks prior to the mammogram my anxiety was welling up. I was so ashamed. I just kept telling myself to get over it. God has got this. Stop worrying about it. I could not get past it.

Till my brother jerked me to reality. Younger brothers can be good for that. His comment to me was, “Pride is a kicker!” Seriously?! Why can’t you be like everyone else and feel sorry for me??!!! I stepped back and took a breath. I knew my brother well enough to know he meant well. See that is what happens when your in an actual relationship with someone. Say what they want and know they have good intentions even if you don’t like hearing it.

After stepping back and taking a breath I asked him what in the world he meant by that-? Well my actual words I think had something to do with asking him what he was trying to preach to me. He is a pastor at heart.

His words were, “Anxiety comes from a lack of trust in whatever area that(you think) He can’t handle it so you take it on yourself. Comes out in anxiety and depression but the real issue is pride – ‘I need to do this because I can’t trust His sovereignty in success or failure of this thing’. ‘I can’t trust Him so I must take it on’.”

Wow. Just wow. I knew it’s what was getting me. I knew God could handle this. I knew. And I was good for now.

But then that day of the mammogram and I find myself getting the ultrasound and memories of 4 years ago come flooding back. And yet again pride is kicking my butt. I even posted this:

With the words, “Giving this to God. Open hands…”

But my heart was not getting it. My heart was just sure God had lost all control and that was it for me.  Here it is two days later and I still am struggling with it all. I am reeling from the pride and lack of trust. I am mad at myself for not just getting over it and trusting God in this. I know what I need to do. But my heart is not doing a good job of accepting it all.

I know this verse by heart:

So what really is my problem? Am I truly giving it ALL over to God? Or am I just playing the game and saying the right words?

I think this gives me something to really truly work on and pray through over the next few days. And it you are reading this please feel free to give me your opinion. I will be back here more often as I go this journey.

 

Joshua

It has been a hard month. I haven’t written here much and have just contemplated life right now. Changes. Realizing I am having an identity crisis. But let me explain. It has been a worldly identity crisis. Because I know who I am in God now. I have spent the last several years changing me. I spent the time realizing who my true Father is and overcoming some past things that needed to be dealt with. Now God has changed my life tremendously. I have gone from single tough mom of 2 kids – one of which has autism, to married happily to a hard working pastor and full time special needs mom and housewife. Wow. What a change. I am now just struggling to know me in the midst of this. To find a balance between it all.

This week my focus has been on God and my marriage. God has done what He usually does and brought a message to me over and over again through reading blogs and studies that I do. It has been the study of the parting of the seas. Hmm….what in the world is He trying to teach me here? That is always my next question.

Joshua 3:9-17

 “Then Joshua addressed the People of Israel: “Attention! Listen to what God, your God, has to say. This is how you’ll know that God is alive among you—he will completely dispossess before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites, and Jebusites. Look at what’s before you: the Chest of the Covenant. Think of it—the Master of the entire earth is crossing the Jordan as you watch. Now take twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one man from each tribe. When the soles of the feet of the priests carrying the Chest of God, Master of all the earth, touch the Jordan’s water, the flow of water will be stopped—the water coming from upstream will pile up in a heap.” 

And that’s what happened. The people left their tents to cross the Jordan, led by the priests carrying the Chest of the Covenant. When the priests got to the Jordan and their feet touched the water at the edge (the Jordan overflows its banks throughout the harvest), the flow of water stopped. It piled up in a heap—a long way off—at Adam, which is near Zarethan. The river went dry all the way down to the Arabah Sea (the Salt Sea). And the people crossed, facing Jericho.

And there they stood; those priests carrying the Chest of the Covenant stood firmly planted on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan while all Israel crossed on dry ground. Finally the whole nation was across the Jordan, and not one wet foot.” (The Message)

Wow.  I just imagined myself standing, literally, in the middle of the Jordan River. Water piled up on each side of me.

During biblical times the Jordan River was a major source of water. At the place where they crossed it was 200 yards to half a mile, and in depth from 40 to 150 feet. It was a very windy ravine and flows very fast. Research shows that the priests had to step into the flooded Jordan River and wait.  God stopped the river about 20 miles upstream.  At a flow rate of about 10 miles an hour, they would have needed to stand there about 2 hours before the water stopped flowing.

2 hours! Imagine that! Standing on the outskirts watching this happen for 2 hours!! Wow God!!

So 150 feet tall water piled up. Can you imagine that? So you are crossing the dry land and looking up at this water piled 150 feet above your head.

God is powerful. And when He has a plan and you are in obedience and following His plan – amazing things happen. Like the parting of a river.

Isaiah 43:16

Thus says the Lord,
    who makes a way in the sea,
    a path in the mighty waters,”

So who makes your waters part? Has God ever parted any waters for you? Have you chosen to obey and been a part of ‘parting waters’? Think about that dry path that God led you through as you went through the parted waters. A difficult time. It may even be now.

You may be on that dry path right now. Are you obeying God and allowing Him to part the waters for you?

I know I am. I know He has been holding back that rush of water that could literally drown me so that I can stay on the path He wants me on. I may feel as if I am struggling but the realization is I am following God and not doing just what I think I should be doing. It is a whole new experience for me. I am having to adjust me to His ways. I am giving up control to Him.

What are your parting waters???

Layers, Losses, and Love

So it’s been 5 months.

5 months since I got married.

5 months since I became a pastor’s wife.

5 months of a whole new adventure.

I have been through many changes in life. I have learned that God can use the changes in life for good – if we allow Him to. Changes are NEVER easy. Not that I am not happy to be married. Not that I didn’t want this. But still change is NEVER easy. It’s like a whole new way to discover where you need to improve yourself. Because if you don’t look at it that way – you will be miserable. Be prepared to see the ugly in yourself.

Becoming a Pastor’s Wife has been one of the most rewarding and most challenging changes. Figuring out friendships has been the most challenging. Things have changed. I changed. They changed. And I am trying to figure it all out again.

First of all as a Pastor’s Wife I have learned friendships are in layers. Some friends are people I see at church and talk to on a regular basis. Some friends are the ones I talk to daily and they know everything about me – good and bad.

Second I have learned that there will be loss in the change of life. As life rotates and moves – friendships change. How we all handle and react to the change makes a difference. If you are moving away and want to stay close you have to choose to make contact regularly. But if not then you deal with the loss of those close friendships. It’s ok to grieve those losses. But in God’s hands it will bring you to the place in life He wants you to be in and He will bring you new friends in time.

And yet I still love all of my friends just as much. Love is still there. In the layers and in the losses – there is still love. A deep caring and concern for these people. Because I CHOSE to be a Pastor’s Wife. I chose to care about these people because I really do care about these people. And I know God can use me to help them through life.

Through all the layers, loss, and love.

Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever”.

Through all these changes. He DOES NOT CHANGE. He is the one consistent thing in our lives. In my life. I need that stability. It is my sanity.

Here is another change that occured in my life, if you wanna continue to read: http://amyatheart.blogspot.com/2016/10/my-stronghold.html

 

Cancer has defined me

As many of you may know I am a breast cancer survivor. There are many people who say “Don’t let it define you”. But it is not something you can help. It changes you. Whether for the good or the bad. It changes you.

One thing about the battle and the treatments, they change you physically as much as spiritually and psychologically. I deal with it daily. Even four years down the road. And I will deal with it the rest of my life.

Physically I have changed tremendously. I was weak. I had joint problems. I was fatigued all the time. I used to be so athletic. I loved sports. I was a big gymnastics fan. And even before the cancer I loved to do Zumba cause I loved to dance. But that was no more. I tried but one day of exercise meant several days of recovering. I was so tired and so achy. After many times of trying to get myself back ‘into shape’ I gave up. I just quit even trying. I didn’t exercise at all for a year.

But things changed. My life changed. God brought to me a man who wanted to take care of me. But not just that to let me be myself for the first time EVER in my life. Now I have time to take care of myself. I have been to many doctors appointments over the last few months. It came to be known that I was not healthy. I have gained 30 pounds. My blood pressure struggles to stay down. My triglycerides are up. I knew I needed to do something. Thanks to an understanding oncologist I was able to lower my meds a bit. But then I heard about this class at the YMCA. I had heard about it before. But I was a working full time single mom and it wasn’t gonna happen. Now I have time for it. Now I have time for me.

LiveStrong. Kind of speaks for itself. Live. Strong. That’s what cancer patients have to choose to do.

Through this class I have been shown how to read my body better but also have some wonderful ladies who are showing me how to start over again.

I spent a year depressed thinking I’d never be able to be that athletic energetic woman again. But yesterday, I was working out and was able to actually up some of the weights. That little victory was huge for me. I knew then that I could recover. I could get back to feeling better. I could get back to that woman I used to be. I just needed to be gentle and kind to myself and realize how much this battle took out of me.

Psalms 147:3 “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds”

‘Brokenhearted’ is actually two words in the Hebrew. ‘Broken’ does mean exactly that. Broken in pieces. ‘Hearted’ comes from the Hebrew ‘leb‘ which means inner man, mind, will, heart.

God will heal the broken pieces of your inner parts. And He promises to bandage up your injuries. A battle causes many injuries. Inner and outer. God promises to heal those injuries. As long as we have stayed faithful to Him. He will in time. And I have come out a stronger person because of Him. My faithfulness has healed me.

 

 

Serenity

Needless to say, things have been tough the last week. Who can give an “Amen!” to that??!! Our Presidential race has not ended well. Our country seems to be very split now and those who are mad are letting everyone know they are mad. I ran across a blog the other day by a lady, who I am a huge fan of, Jennie Allen. Feel free to check out her stuff. I believe she and Ann Voskamp are our prophetesses of this century. And that is possible. There were some in the Bible. She mentioned the Serenity Prayer. I remember that from when I was a child and just had to pull it up and read it again. There are several versions of it but I will share my favorite. And there is some controversy over who actually wrote it. I don’t think anyone expected it to become so popular. It was written as a prayer during the 1930’s and if you look back in history they were struggling just as much as we are. This is when the Communist Party and Adolf Hitler and the Nazi’s were threatening Christianity. By 1939 we ended up in World War II with Japan. It was a rough time for our country.

 

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;

courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;

Enjoying one moment at a time;

Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;

Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it;

Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will;

That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him

Forever in the next. Amen.

WOW!! What a prayer!!

Serenity means untroubled. Peaceful. This was written during a time of trouble and despair. It acknowledges that God is the only one who can bring peace in chaotic circumstances. We are to take one day at a time and enjoy the moment. Live for God in the hard times and trusting Him to take care of us and surrender to His Will.  We have no control over any of these circumstances. Evil will keep taking control as long as we keep doing this without God. But those of us who put our faith and trust completely, heart soul and mind, into God will feel a peace beyond all understanding. Cause we know how this story ends as long as we read and believe what the Bible tells us.

Philippians 4:7 “His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus”  This is a promise to us.

If we read the Bible and truly believe it, we know what is coming. I Peter 4:12 “…don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you.”  He warns us of this but gives us hope in that He will eventually win this battle. And He will bless us beyond what our human minds can fathom. As long as we really do stay faithful to HIM. 

Feel rejected??

Psalm 34:1        “I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall                                                 continually be in my mouth.”

This comes in the middle of the story of David. He is running from Saul who has declared he will kill David. David had no family or friends to help protect him. He was alone. Only him and God. Can you imagine? This is what comes from his mouth at this time–?! “I will bless the Lord” How many of you have been through something where you have been completely turned on and your first words are “I will bless the Lord” -??

Not me. My first thoughts tend to be “How can I do this? God why have you left me? I can’t handle this!”   Seriously how many of you have done that? BUT I have learned that those thoughts are Satan. He is trying to turn me against God. He is daily trying. Those negative thoughts are not of God. So daily I pray to God to keep those negative thoughts out of my head. To help me be wise enough to know it’s Satan and brave enough to stand up and tell Satan to leave me alone.

Now I know that in those moments God has not left me. He is walking beside me. He knows life is rough. But we made those choices and He gives us the freedom to learn from our choices. To be more like Him. So pray always to battle those negative thoughts.

Wanna know more about how prayer can help you? Read the book of Daniel. Prayer protected Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, and Daniel from death. It can protect you.

paul2francis: “Duet .. ”

Wedding day/ Pigeon Forge, TN

aj0a1701
My awesome family. I am so looking forward to getting to know Alyssa and Ella.
aj0a1702
We all enjoy a bit of fun and adventure.
aj0a1703
I love the hearts of these people. They will help me be a better person.
aj0a1705
Of course the ones who have been with me forever. Grant and Alyssa. My children that God blessed me with from day one. I realize I have been the one who was blessed to be their mom.
aj0a1737
I love this man more than I ever thought I could love someone. We are not perfect but we are what God wants us to be for each other and it could not be any better than that.
aj0a1735
Luckily he loves to have as much fun as I do!!!!!!!

aj0a1739 aj0a1740

July 10th, 2016. I said ‘I do’ – again. It is our third marriage. For both of us. But somehow we knew this was it. This is where God wanted us. Whatever in the world took us so long to get it!?? I don’t know. But when we finally got our hearts right with God – he brought us to each other. I pray we can enjoy this adventure for the rest of a very long life. I can not say how wonderful it feels to find that one man God wanted for me.

Engagement pictures (a bit late)

I know it’s been a really long time but it’s a year ago this month that Bryan and I officially started dating and I couldn’t think of a better way to voice how wonderful this has been to find this man.

prayingrelationship

I was a pretty broken woman after my last divorce. The year after that was a turmoil of challenges and adventures. I spent 2 years crawling back to God. On hands and knees. Trying to figure out what in the world He was trying to teach me. It wasn’t just that He was teaching me but He was molding me. I didn’t know at the time. I just knew that the best thing for me was to cling to Him. Otherwise I was gonna end up so very lost and angry and bitter. I finally allowed Him to mold me. And didn’t let the world mold me anymore. Not my family. Not friends. Not anyone or anything on this Earth. Because we know this is not forever but He is. This is only a fleeting moment compared to what our very distant future has in store. Our little human brains can forget that. He put us here for only a short time. He will be back and He will see who has stayed truly faithful to Him. Not anything on the Earth.

So here I am thanking God for where I am. Not that it’s been easy. By far has this been easy. But I know that with this man forging through all the trials and adventures of life is where I am supposed to be. That the two of us together can be strong for God and even stronger as we move forward together.

friendship

I can truly say we have a friendship that has promised to stay with each other through everything. That I hope is the example we can be now to others.

amy-brunton-engagement-1-no-logo-2 amy-brunton-engagement-3-no-logo amy-brunton-engagement-5-no-logo amy-brunton-engagement-7-fireflies-no-logo amy-brunton-engagement-10-no-logoamy-brunton-engagement-8-no-logo

 

I have to give credit to my friend Selena Wilke for the pictures. Check her out if you like her stuff. She uses the money to help her church. So it’s a two for one for those of us who hire her.

Miracle….

Four years ago today. It was a moment in time that was life changing. I had moved back in with my parents after my second husband had abandoned me only after 3 years of marriage. I was recovering from a biopsy. Yes the possibility of cancer was rattling around in my head.

I had taken the weekend to take my kids to Indy to visit my cousin, Robin, and her husband. The story is on my old blog below. It was a wonderful weekend.

http://amyatheart.blogspot.com/2012/10/my-journey-this-past-few-months-has.html

Our trip home was a hard one. The call came through. We had stopped at a restaurant to eat. That was a God thing. The call came through while I was sitting. Thank you Jesus. The call confirming I had breast cancer. The biopsy on the tumor tested positive for it.

I have to praise my son for a very calm drive home. He was just learning and he did an awesome job. I still was in a bit of denial what was coming. I just didn’t think it was gonna be that bad. Quick surgery and that’s it. But, of course, it was more than that. And in time we learned of the details.

But in that moment I felt a peace. It was a definite God given peace.

Romans 5:1 (ESV)

” Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Now to understand this first of all we need to know that to be ‘justified by faith’ means we have declared our faith and as a result we are promised a ‘peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ’. Through our faith in Jesus Christ we are promised a peace. It’s not something we have to strive for. We are promised it as soon as we declare our faith in Him.

Ephesians 2:14 “For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility”

Paul was writing from prison to the Gentiles and Jews letting them know that now that they have all started to worship the same God together He has given them a peace among the people. There is no more fighting.

Isaiah 9:6  “For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upond his shoulder,
and his name shall be callede
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

He is our Prince of Peace. It is promised to us. But only when we declare our faith and have committed our hearts to HIM do we feel that peace “that passes all understanding”.

In that moment that I was waiting on that fateful phone call and even after the news that I had cancer I had that peace. My faith in HIM had helped calm me in this storm and know I would be ok and God would take care of me and my children.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63TTU67ka3w

“Well no matter who you are and no matter what you’ve done
There will come a time when you can’t make it on your own
And in your hour of desperation
Know you’re not the only one
praying Lord above, I need a miracle
I need a miracle”

“In your hour of desperation
Know you’re not the only one, praying
Lord above, I need a miracle
Lord above I need a miracle”

John 8

john8-7

John 8

New International Version 

but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.

At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

11 “No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

This story has come to me in my readings alot this week. That is always my sign that God wants me to sit and study and read this so much that I have memorized it and see the whole reason behind it. Bible stories are old but they have so much we can pull from it these days that reach us where we are in 2016.

We see that Jesus is just doing His thing in verse 1. He is at the temple and sitting and teaching the people who are coming to sit with Him. He has done this since He was a young boy. But we have the Pharisees. The men who do all they can to separate themselves and try to prove they are superior and at this time they continually are trying to prove Jesus is a fraud. They are defined as being ‘hypocrites’. They see how popular Jesus is and they don’t like it.

The Pharisee come to him. They have brought a woman who was ‘caught in adultery’. How she was caught is not explained. But the Pharisees have no care for how they have humiliated her. All they want to do is come at Jesus and make Him look like a fraud. I feel for this girl.

They brought her and ‘stand her before the group’. In the King James they say they stand her ‘in the midst’. “Midst” means the middle. They made her stand in the middle of this group of people that Jesus has been sitting and teaching. All these eyes are on her. While the Pharisees point and tell Jesus this horrible thing she has done. Then they state the Law of Moses. The law that says she is to be stoned! As if they are saying ‘Jesus what are you going to do with this?!’

By now Jesus had been standing up and probably looking at this girl like everyone else was. I can see him calmly bend over and draw something in the sand. Not a clue what it is. We could make so many guesses. The Pharisees at this point are nagging him for an answer. Jesus, again. calmly stands up. And He opens a can of worms. HUGE can of worms.

You see He not only saw her sin. He saw everyone’s sin. He didn’t see hers as any more horrible than what everyone else was doing. He basically put a mirror up to their faces and made them see what He saw. Yet again He calmly goes back to drawing in the sand.

I would love to know what He was drawing.

Then when all was said and done and after everyone turned and walked away because they realized they were no better than this woman. Jesus stood up. The one man who had the right to stone her because He was without sin. But He doesn’t. He just asks her where everyone went-?? He asks her “Did no one condemn you?” What a question?!

I have to ask myself -why this question ? It was obvious. Did He just want her to see? To see that no one was any better than her? They had all sinned too. No one is any better than her. No one. Except…Jesus.

He doesn’t let her off. He acknowledges her sin. But He shows her grace and mercy. And again a strange request. “Sin no more”. Ha. But He again knows. He knows we all sin. He knows none of us are better than the other. He knows we will sin again. And again.

He loves us UNCONDITIONALLY. He FORGIVES us always. Come to Him and He will set you free. Just come.

 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32