Sunday, April 24, 2011

Our Men..............

Good Afternoon Blog World. This is a topic that has been swirling around in my mind for sometime now. It may seem like an odd topic for an Easter afternoon but it is actually because of the power that Jesus released upon his Resurrection that allows for miracles to occur and prayers to be answered. I am also somewhat avoiding anything largely productive so it seems like a great time to chat. In addition to my current reclining, this is a topic that I tip toe towards with great precaution. Anything I mention doing "right" is ONLY by God's grace and I could write a much longer blog on the things I have done wrong. I want you to know that by the time this blogs hits post it will certainly have been read and approved by my man who proofs each and every one. We are an open book around here but I never want to display a page that he doesn't see fit for reading. The topic is "Our Men" and on that note please know that Jeremy could also write a blog on the way he has so faithfully backed me a million times over when my faith was in the gutter or my sin was soaring high. He has corrected me in love more times that I would ever like to admit so please don't dare hear me saying that I have been his "rock" because nothing could be further from the truth. This is just a blog I (personally) write and it is most often for the encouragement of women so I am telling this from the side of a woman and what we can and can NOT control but also what we can and most certainly should claim. OK, disclaimer DONE.

I honestly think the main reason I am writing is because SO very many women through out the years have chatted with me and been praying for their men. I told a gal the other day, when your man is struggling with his faith it may be one of the hardest things we women ever endure. Over our 6 1/2 (very short) years of marriage God has shown me some holy wisdom that to me has meant everything. Some He showed me in love and through books and some I learned by a good smack in the rear. Regardless I think it is all worth sharing. NO matter who you are or how long you have been married, if you are walking with Jesus you want your man to as well. And if you are reading and you are not married this will be a wonderful blog to remind you that IT AIN'T ALL FUN AND GAMES around these here parts. I am more thankful for my man than anything on this entire earth but I will also say that my man (and my children) have brought out more of my junk and taken more work for me to fight the flesh than anything on the earth. I am constantly reminded of the fact that anything I want to complain about my man on is something that God has ordained to work out something in MY own flesh. I heard a friend say recently that if you want to serve Christ, stay single and if you want to look like Christ, get married. OUCH I would say that is very true and I would say my man would certainly give a strong AMEN in return.

So Jeremy (he has faithfully surrendered himself to you as an example so we approach this with much love), when I met my man there was no more sold out Christian on earth, none. He LOVED people, he loved Jesus and everything else in between was just details. I was so excited because I wasn't up for phonies and certainly not up for religion so this man was the one for me and God had blessed me 100 fold. AND THEN THE HONEYMOON WAS OVER, literally. Oh sweet Jesus, that first year of our marriage I would have used a lot of words but sold out wouldn't have been one of them. JERK would have been what first came to mind and I am sure his words to describe me would have been along the same lines. I watched a man who read his Bible all day every day begin to slowly lay it down and let it at times begin to collect dust. I was in sheer panic wondering what on earth this would mean for our family. We fought in public, that's always attractive and we went to church together but at times I felt like that man's heart was far from God and certainly far from mine. God showed me a VERY valuable lesson that first year and that was this, whatever junk he has is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS, God (oddly enough) was worried about MINE! Another huge turn for me personally during that time was being introduced to Joyce Meyer and her saying "study what you are struggling" which meant if your marriage was struggling, study marriage and so I did. I read book after book after book and one even started with the phrase "don't be mad that you are the only one reading books on marriage right now". Good gravy were they reading my mind?

Another thing (besides a new library and a new focus) I had going for me was SPUNK. My personality comes with a whole collaboration of sins. I can get myself in trouble in 2.2 seconds if I am not under the divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit but every once in while that spunk pays off and in marriage I have just had no intentions of settling. I didn't want a church boy I wanted a radically sold out man of God and in marriage I didn't want to just kind of get along and stay together, I wanted to be madly in love and still do. So that spunk and about 100 books later, things started to change. I don't know how to explain it but I started working on my junk one thing at a time and what do you know, my prayers for J started being answered as well. I started serving him and treating him like the man I wanted him to be not the man he was. I started getting my crazy emotions in check and keeping my big mouth SHUT and he started to be nice. I stopped trying to be his Holy Spirit and what do you know, the Holy Spirit spoke to him. I would pray through when to say truth, when to nudge him to do something at church and then when to just stay still and trust Jesus even when I was seeing nothing in return. But most of all, I started to submit to my man! It actually became a "game" to me because I do like to give satan a good smack in the mouth and because my flesh fought this topic tooth and nail I had to get radical in my efforts. If that man said "Johnny's Big Burger" we ate at Johnny's Big Burger (I would have much preferred frilly). If my man said no I said ok, if he said yes, I said sure thing. I just had to learn how to let him lead EVEN when he was not "walking" per say hand in hand with Jesus. I had to trust that Jesus would lead through him regardless and that all I could control was me and my actions and that God would handle the rest. I am not kidding when I say this, the next thing I knew my man surrendered his life to a call to ministry and started seminary. It was 2.5 years into our marriage but looking back it seemed to literally happen that fast. He was sold out again, not at all because he was going to seminary but because he was hearing God and obeying him and our marriage was bliss and I do mean bliss. Oh Praise You Jesus, I had my man back!

So let's fast forward a few years, we get a little surprise named Cross, we move to North Carolina and then resign from a job there and move home and then we walk into the darkest most difficult times of our marriage. We lost a baby, and what felt like everything we had owned and my poor man couldn't find a job to save his life. To say these past few years have been a hard time spiritually for both of us would be fair. So what had I learned to do when my man was struggling with his faith?? You buck up and you pray and you fight again! You learn to be very intentional about what you say, when you say it, and how you say it to him. You serve him even when you are shaking in your boots that he may walk away from it all any day. You have the house clean when he comes home because that makes him happy or less mad. You put Scriptures on his bathroom mirror until he tells you to take them down. You pull out the pocket size "Power of a Praying Wife" and you pray that man UP! YOU FIGHT FOR YOUR MAN!

I don't understand it but ladies it is our honor and our privilege to get to fight for our men. I DO believe that behind every good man is a good woman and that to date has been my most rewarding calling in life. It is not rewarding when day after day after day you see nothing change. It is not rewarding when you think to yourself, seriously, we have come this far and now he is going to fall off the wagon. It is not encouraging when you know he hasn't read his Bible in weeks or even months, it is not encouraging when you feel like he almost makes fun of you for your walk with Christ. BUT WHEN THEY RETURN, oh for the glory of Jesus, when I watched my man worship Friday night it was worth it. It is worth it when you watch God finally give him a career and watch him flourish doing it. It was worth it when he led a Bible Study Thursday night. It was worth it to hear him set his alarm Saturday morning to go to a prayer breakfast and it will be worth it when we die after a life of serving Jesus radically TOGETHER!

So ladies (and men really) let's all have some godly spunk. Don't want your man to "go to church" or say to yourself, oh well, things are never going to change around here. THAT is an attitude that minimizes the cross at it's core. Claim some things over your family and your man. Pray they encounter Jesus in a way that changes their lives forever and be willing to work out your own junk so that you will be worth the man you are praying to have. Our men could do things for the Kingdom that no man has ever done but what if we have the prayers and the charter to release it. What if our submission was in the way or what if our weakness being worked on was the missing piece to his puzzle. You expect more out of your men than they remotely expect out of themselves, but you give them grace when they are a long way away from reaching their potential. You love them madly (and I mean that in ALL ways) and you care WAY more about their needs and wants than you remotely care about your own. You serve them and honor them in public (even if you hardly believe a word that you are saying) and you build them up in person even if inside your mind is circling words that would completely tear them down. I have opened my mouth a hundred times to "let J have it" and forced myself to instead say "honey, did you say you wanted tea with your dinner". It hurts the flesh to do the right thing but smacking satan somehow makes the pain go away. Your man is worth it dear friend. You probably married them because you thought they hung the moon, well by golly, you just didn't know you were going to have to help them get it there. You are the only one fit to be his helpmate, and sometimes the only opinion on earth that he deep down cares about. And certainly you are the only one up in his business enough to know his each and every weakness in need of prayer. I have seen ladies radically back their men through divorce, addiction, infidelity, and a slew of other strong holds. I have felt like the least of victors when talking to friends that were smacking satan through much more difficult times. But I have YET to meet a lady that wasn't being blessed by her Jesus for backing her man, never, not one. I have seen prayers answered radically and I have seen women still in the war with no true sign yet of victory, but fighting on with joy. So let's back our men and believe we will watch them storm this world for Jesus one day.

Jeremy Bullock I thank you that you care way more about other people than you care about our junk being aired. I thank you that you put up with a very broken person through a lot of years of marriage (even if they have only been a few they have at moments seemed like a lot I am certain). But most of all I thank God that you have never lost your faith or walked into sin this entire time. You are still the godliest man I know and I wait with anxious anticipation for all that you are going to do while on this earth to glorify our Jesus!


Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter 2011

Good Morning Blog World! I write to you from my "spot" on the couch this early overcast a.m., right side, lamp on, where I meet with my Jesus in the mornings. I have a heavy heart this Easter eve eve after the reminder and realization that today is Good Friday. Growing up I never really knew or understood that Good Friday was the day that Jesus died on the cross and that Easter was the day that He rose from the grave. I probably just thought it was "good" because we got out school. I was disillusioned by the basket, the bunny, and the eggs like the rest of the world.

On that note, a few days back I went to Walgreen's to get an Easter card for Jeremy's precious grandmother who will celebrate her first holiday without her spouse. I was scanning the aisles of cards for "Easter" and I ran across a sizable selection and then I glanced down to a teeny tiny corner of that selection and saw the title "religious". In the middle of Walgreen's I hung my head in shame. How on earth do you have a "religious" section for EASTER for Pete's sake? EASTER IS RELIGIOUS! It is Jesus, it is His death, burial and resurrection and it is forgiveness for all the sins of the earth. But in that moment it hit me, I was horrified mainly because Easter has meant so very much for me.

If you knew of the sins this one soul from a little town called Winchester, Tennessee has committed you would understand. If you knew the forgiveness that cross has bore for this 5'2" gal you would see why I was staggered by the trick of society. A bunny means nothing to me and does nothing for me but JESUS.....well that's a whole other story. He saved my rear, radically changed my life, healed REAL diseases I had and called me out from a grave that a few people had begun to dig on my behalf and I so easily helped finish.

I spent last weekend with some gals that knew that old Kelly. I tend to remain somewhat in a bubble these days. Most people that I "run" with I did NOT run with before. They've never seen me smoke a cigarette or drink a beer (or 12). They've never seen my actions wreak havoc over an entire family or be a complete and utter disgrace to myself. But those gals had and what a perfect reminder for this Easter 2011 season. That cross and that tomb means EVERYTHING to me and one of my greatest fears is that after all He and I have been through I will begin to dumb down Easter to matching outfits for my children.

A little boy asked me the other day (with a blatant look of disapproval on his face) "why is his name Cross? is it like cross the street." And I looked at that sweet little boy who has no clue the impact Jesus could make in his very own life and said "no honey it is like Jesus on the cross". Cross the child is here ONLY because of the cross of Jesus. These two sinners would have destroyed each other long before we would have had the honor and privilege of having a son. Sin would have killed and destroyed our reproductive systems just to be totally honest. That cross means everything to us and our journey to our Cross not to mention our Mercy.

So for this Easter 2011, I pray for all of us, that we will figure out this weekend regardless of where we are in our journey. If you have no relationship with Jesus, I pray that you tell society you have a bigger brain than to celebrate a bunny. I pray that you will grab a Bible and start in John and figure out what really happened that Easter weekend all those many years ago. Or if you have walked away from your Savior who you once knew and loved, I pray that you remember that the cross of today is so precious because it only takes a return to be reunited. It is no more complicated than that. And then finally, if you are madly in love with your Savior please fight tooth and nail this weekend and in the years to come to avoid society's temptation to settle for an egg. I wanna talk to my Jesus on Easter! I wanna snuggle up and thank Him. I want to confess sin on Easter for sure but because of the resurrection I want to walk in the power and not be bound to any ever again. I want Easter to be something I celebrate and thank Him for daily, certainly not once a year. I want this weekend to be one that is of Holy significance on the Kingdom calendar and I want my kids to get that truth more than they ever get a stupid Easter basket. I want to respect this corporate Holiday but at the same time I want it to be very personal to this sinner redeemed.

So Happy Easter dear friends! May we walk humbly this weekend, checking our hearts, seeing how we love others, seeing whether our greatest concern is matching outfits or needy neighbors. May we never do another Easter egg hunt with our children without doing everything in our power to make sure that they know the King before hand! He loves you, He died for you, He rose for you, He is coming back for YOU!


Monday, April 18, 2011


There are no words for this Mama's proud heart! God thank you for exceedingly, abundantly, more than all I asked or imagined!

Thank you for these amazing photos!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Hope really does help............

Hello Blog World. I am writing you on this Friday eve with glorious hope. This is not just any weekend around the bend, this is a weekend with plans of joyous Beth Moore, road trips, awesome friends, and I am hoping a meal that is far from "clean". I haven't packed a single thing but I honestly feel like it would be so wrong to leave town without saying hello first. My social butterfly has been squished these days so I am getting a whole lot of adult conversation out on this here blog and I am hoping you are at least not bored to tears. I also, of course, wanted to update you on one HANDSOME young man and one PRETTY pretty princess. They are going to bed right now which makes them the absolute loves of my life. Other moments are not so warm and fuzzy but this weekend I know will help with that as well. Cross is about 6 feet tall right now. It kills me. I asked J last night how we ended up with an 8 year old and he just smiled and sighed. He is LOVING the warmer weather and every day he is loving his sister more and more. He wants to ring her neck sometimes but if he is getting a treat, his first question is "what about Mercy girl" so in my book all is well there. Mercy is a dainty princess who tries to growl like her brother but it just doesn't work. She squills, prances and Jeremy even said yesterday-throws a ball like a girl. She received some play clip on earrings the other day at a CHUCK E CHEESE Birthday party (that could be a whole other post) and watch out world, I have put those things on her ears four hundred times and I honestly haven't minded a single one. I have honestly LOVED having a girl.

Let me say right now (for fear someone would thing I was bragging)Cross is trying to trick Mercy to get out her bed so she will get a "spank spank". I can tell you that gal is WAY too smart for that little man. That's another great topic while we are on the subject, strong willed verse not. Good Lord have mercy (little m) on this mama. I have had my eyes open to just how difficult it is to raise a strong willed child verse an obedient, people pleaser. THE LOOK WORKS, even the teeny tiniest raise in your voice can cause total tears heart break and I know she is often looking at her brother and saying to herself, "why Cross, WHY?" I have even seen her furiously shake her head NO to him to try to keep his behind out of trouble. She is going to hold him back a little and he is going to push her right off the edge. It has honestly amazed me but in a good way. I really do KNOW that God has made my boy a leader and that He is going to do great and mighty things for the Kingdom, it is just going to take every last ounce of mine and his father's energy to get him there. And Mercy girl, well, we will have to help her understand that despite the fact that she wouldn't hurt a fly or disobey if you paid her 2.2 million dollars that she still IS a sinner and in great need of a Savior. I think that will be taxing on the mind more than the body which in this moment may sound better but I know I will always have concern for them but probably for very different reasons.

Other random tidbits include Mercy's English is coming along great. She talks and talks and talks and now there are many many words we actually know involved. It will break this mama's heart (honestly) when it is all in English because I love hearing that little Amharic chatter. She has pretty much captured the heart of everyone she has met. Total strangers are apologizing for staring and grown men are holding her with the death grip of no return. Speaking of holding we have seen HUGE strides in her attachment. PTL No more walking up to strangers and holding her arms up to be held. She goes STRAIGHT to mama or daddy and even on our little date the other night she acted perfectly normal the next day, like we had never been apart. I am SO thankful for God's grace because even though she will be with Jeremy while I am out of town, I never dreamed I would be willing (or so needy) to leave town for 36 hours just 5 short weeks in.

I have also FINALLY gotten my snuggler. I have gone all my life with most of the closest people to me having ZERO sign of touch as their love language. Now I have a little girl who will kiss me 400 times over and lift up her shirt to have her underarm rubbed while watching a movie. I am in snuggle Heaven and I am sure my man is thrilled. I honestly have to put her down and make her go play just so I can get something done. What a GREAT problem to have.

So as you can tell, Jesus has done great things! We are a family of 4 and besides the obvious color difference, if you saw us out you would never know we hadn't all been together since birth. They are siblings to the core of cores. She jumps and leaps when her daddy gets home from work and as far as this mama goes, can't even remember life before her if I tried. What paperwork? What waiting? What fundraising? All I know is obedience ALWAYS brings about a blessing.

I guess I better be heading to the bed soon to get my beauty rest before I hit the road with another Jesus performed miracle of a friend and hopefully one more. We are all proof that God DOES change lives, He does do miracles in this day and that nobody (I am proof for sure) is too far gone to be redeemed! Jesus you are mighty and worthy of our praise, may we trust that You are for us, always!


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Avoiding all things productive................

Sometimes when I have a long list of things to-do, especially for a long time, I get stressed. I am the type A kind of person who likes to make her list and then mark it off. I am not a procrastinator, I am the opposite, I am OCD about my list and life is not life as it should be until it is ALL DONE. After Ethiopia, the fact that I was going to be a full time stay at home mom told me that I would have nothing but time on my hands, but nothing could be further from the truth, at least not so far. There has been a LOT of post adoption, readoption paperwork and stuff to do and I am beginning to move into shut down mode. That is always a great time for me to blog. It is like my form of running away, I run from the have-to-do list and embrace the just-because-I-want-to-do kind of things in life.

I would blog 2 times a day if I could but right now that is far down the reality list. Cross and Mercy take a LOT of attention and focus right now. I have been doing good to keep the house somewhat picked up, the food at least somewhat cooked and purchased and for the love of homemaking what did women do before the washer and dryer? My lack of a dish washer is the constant keeper of my time but with Ethiopia fresh in my mental mind I am trying my hardest not to complain. I am sure you can tell! The thing that really triggered my "all work and no play" state happened a few weeks ago. I was reading a blog, of a stranger, and she was giving the sweetest and most innocent recap of her weekend. She had gone out with friends and her husband on Friday night (without kids) and then out with girlfriends on Saturday morning (again without kids). I was down right annoyed with my internet friend. Who died and made her queen of the world? How did she get all those breaks and write about them with zero mention of guilt or apology?? God gave me the grace to know, that was my que, I NEEDED A BREAK. Parenting makes you feel guilty for the thought of a break and then add in adoption and you are in martyr mentality faster than you can blink your non-mascared eyes.

So here is what we (I) have to remember, Jesus really is about your business, if you need a break, He knows, He cares, and He is a Man with a plan. Your role is really just to pray. I have prayed off and on over the past few weeks. How do I balance, QT with Jeremy, Cross, Mercy and MYSELF????????? How do I get a date night, a one on one night with each kid and a girl's get away, all in one month, all in one budget? I felt God telling me, take it one day at a time, do what is best today and that was a few weeks back. Well let me tell you what has unfolded over the past two days literally and if you tell me Jesus only cares about the largest details of your life, I'll tell ya you are missing out on all the fun. Jeremy and I obviously haven't had a date in now almost 5 weeks (great for the marriage, NOT). Well we got invited to a fundraising dinner in Nashville (PTL) and we talked about it and talked about it and said YES! Mercy has been doing great at her hour or two of childcare here and there so the kids are going to a friend's and my man and I are going OUT. Then I got invited to something this weekend where a combination of super heroes and Jesus are present so my little man and I are going on a hot date while my princess and her father go on a daddy/daughter breakfast. I bet they will be the cutest thing in Clarksville, TN (please don't think I am bragging, I just can't get over the two of them still). And THEN a girlfriend at Bible Study today said she was going on a road trip to a conference next weekend and asked if I wanted to go and I did something I never do, SPONTANEOUS!!!!!!!!! I text my man, he said yes, and I didn't ask twice, I AM IN!

So out with the productivity of life, let's start living. Please know I am not bragging on me, I am bragging on Jesus. Two girl friends have asked me about this exact topic this week so I wanted to write about it, sisters we need a break and satan ain't gonna roll out the red carpet for ya, you gotta ask Jesus to do that. This morning as I walked, unknowing of the icing on the cake He had in store. I just told Him, Jesus I still feel like I need a break, a real one, like more than a few hours here and there. Imagine my reaction when one short sentence paved a way for His answer. I now know He was saying, "I know sweet one and I have it all planned already, you just keep walking".

He is more personal and more trustworthy than we ever give Him credit. All of this may not work out as blissfully perfect as it sounds on paper. Satan will want Jeremy and I to fight tomorrow night and Cross may have a fit on the floor in his Spiderman suit. My friend and I will have to fight satan tooth and nail next week to get the heck out of dodge and get us some Jesus, but that is just life after the fall and Jesus is the only thing that makes it remotely bearable. So get up and get out a little. If your personality is like mine and people would be far less impressed with your social life than your productive life, live a little, life's way too hard on us not to. So I am signing off, going to bed, it'll ALL still be here tomorrow. I have a date to prepare for, two actually, and I am making plans to be dazzled, you should too!