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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Grace Challenge........

Jeremiah 31:2-3 Thus says the LORD:”The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness; when Israel sought for rest, the LORD appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you."

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"As long summer days come to an end and fall quickly approaches, I realize that the leaves of my life are changing. In the preceeding months of 2013, I have experienced alot of grace, God's grace.....I have been challenged as a woman to learn that its okay to do things that bring my joy, peace and the occasional woosaaaa moment but he gave me grace in the struggle of feeling guilty. I have been challenged as a mother in learing that I will be okay with my childen growing up and that I did do a great job despite my feeling inadequate more days than not but he is giving me grace in my emptiness. I have been challenged as a wife.....enough said on that. My health has been grossly challenged, however when I look back, God has given me grace, grace enough to keep on doing what he would have for me to do even when I don't deserve the amount of grace he shows me."

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"God has continued to give me enough grace for each day. Some days I feel His presence boldly, things are going so smooth, then it happens a call, a text, an email and I find myself looking to Him as the feelings of inadequacy abound. He says the words, "you have survived the sword Marsha, just like the children of Israel in the wilderness, I have faith in you". Wow, what loving words from my father in Heaven. I am a kingdom woman. Even with life's challenges, I will remain steadfast and know that He loves me and daily His grace is sufficient for me."


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Weakness to Victory

We are day 5 into our fast. I have completely felt weak beyond my own recognition. Not from the lack of certain foods but the harboring feeling of inadequacy in almost every aspect of my life. It seems as though defeat had went out before me and put a stumbling block before my every step. However when reading my daily devotion this was the core scripture:

"But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

How awesome is the WORD of God, He knew exactly what I needed in my moment of beating myself up. Don't so many of us moms do that? We tend to over analyze and brow beat ourselves for our lack of imperfection. I know I do. This season of my family's life is very different. From adult children moving out to major life changing decisions that change the direction of everything. It just seems like I can't think straight.

Inside my mind its chaotic. Is this of God, by no means, no it is not but it is a very common reality of a wife and mother. Quieting my mind is like trying to stop a train with a broom stick, it may derail but the aftermath is horrific. I have to do lists a mile long and to top it off just received a very long softball season schedule.

It has rained here in Dallas for two days straight. I have felt very in tune with the grayness of the day. I felt as though maybe the rain was washing away the impurities both in the natural and in the spiritual. From attacks on my children and my health, I have prayed for a ray of sunshine, a breath of God's Holy spirit to breath in clarity.

One of the ah ha moments of my morning devotion was that my weakness does not make me weak. My thoughts of inadequacy are just that thoughts, there is no validity to that description. I have to stop allowing these personal attacks justify my character before an amazing God. He does not see weakness, He sees in Him I am strong. I have to stop focusing on the inability caused by weakness and rest in the arms of the ONE who gives me strength when I am weak.

Another realization is that  I am not in chaos, my thoughts are. I need to remove the value that I have applied to all the "things" that run around my my mind. I create the environment for peace or strife in quieting my mind. My core scripture is from when Jesus was in the boat and the disciples were afraid of the storm and He said: 

"And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm." Matt 4:39

Everything Jesus did he did with His spoken Word. I have to take ownership of His strength in my weak moments and begin to speak his Word into those things. I look back to the beginning:

“The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep…” Gen. 1:2

When God was laying the foundation of the earth it was void of shape, it was empty and it was dark however each day he spoke life into it. Life, that's the precious nugget for me. This is life, it will be stressful, chaotic, joyous, peaceful and sometimes painful but it is still life. At the end of creation He rested, the Sabbath. This is the piece of the puzzle I struggle with. 

So as the fast continues I pray for God to teach me to honor the Sabbath, to teach me to seek Him more aggressively, to Love more aggressively, to serve others even greater then before and for Him to draw me closer to my family.

Monday, December 10, 2012

They rise up and called me Blessed!

This past week I truly understood the following verse, Proverbs 31 verses "28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 29 “Many women do noble things,but you surpass them all.”

As a woman, a wife and a mother sometimes I would question things I would say or do in regards to my children. I would pray about it and ask God for the right thing to do or say. It seemed like each day there was another struggle or hurdle where my children were concerned. I would cry in the recesses of my room and wonder these things:
Should I be a stay at home mom?
Should I not let them play a sport?
Is this the right TV Show for them to watch?
Marsha other parents are letting their children do and watch these things, are they really that bad or are you being a prude?

As I pummeled myself daily with these questions, what I now know to be crazy questions, I would read every book out there about the topics, entangle it with my bible scriptures. I was hunting for the "perfect" way to get through raising my children. As my children entered school, I began to realize that they all learned differently and had different needs from me. I had to be several people at the same time. My oldest son was a constant mountain and valley experience. I would press and press for success for him. I would never take no for an answer when it came to him; he was not going to fall on my watch. Several times one teacher took it upon herself to decide that my son was not going to make it, middle school, same scenario, senior year, not only teachers but even coaches, people that he looked to for good counsel.

He was fortunate because God already had a plan for him. God had placed some stable people in his daily life at school that would simply just love him for him.

For many years some would say it was my fault that he behaved the way he did and his failure was my doing. I allowed those words to permeate my heart. It hurt so bad, I began to blame myself. When we moved to Texas a year ago, it was difficult for all of us. However for him it was even harder. He was trying to let go of his life before Texas while trying to walk into adulthood. I still hurt for him each day.

Some of the people who know me well, would say, don't you know God, why are you hurting? I would look at them like they were crazy. This was my son, I could not let him fall. I pushed him into this world and I will push and push until he finds his way.

When Dj decided to go in the military, I was happy but my heart also cried. I cried because I was afraid, afraid not of the military, but because DJ always needed me. The months passed rapidly and the day approached for him to leave. I went to the hotel that Monday evening to say see you later and it was an emotional roller coaster for me all day.

I remembered back to the day he went to Kindergarten, I let that little hand go and off he went. He turned to look at me and ran back and said "mommy, I love you". My heart feel to my feet. Through his life, I was at everything, both victory and defeat. He never had to worry about mom not being in his corner. So watching him walk into manhood that day was scary for both of us. This was boot camp for the US Army, mom could not roll up to the Drill Sargent and say hey don't say that to him. I was not able to guide him in filling out forms. That had been my job, I am his mom.

I am sure some people reading this are like, REALLY? Yes really. They are my pride and joy.

Well when I arrived at the base Thursday morning, Mackenzie and I walked in the theater where the battery was seated. I looked down each aisle and there he was, my DJ, sitting up straight, clothes creased and crisp. He was diligently looking forward as I am pretty sure he was told to do. I was jumping up and down on the inside. At the end of the ceremony we had to wait again until they were released for family day. I was so nervous. The battery marched down the street and there he was. He walked up to me and gave me the biggest hug. He was a young man, no longer my baby, but my adult son who had finally found his way.

We spent two days together and it was amazing. He even got his own cell phone final drop off was Friday evening. As he got his suitcase out of the truck and was getting ready to walk back with his friends, he hugged me and the tears feel. He said, "mom don't cry, I'm going to be fine." As I stood there as he walked away, this time letting go if his hand, I no longer felt worried. All those years that I had prayed and cried and listened to people speak negative things into his life, God used it all for His glory, Dj has made it, he made further than some of the "golden boys" he hung out with in high school.

So when someone tells you to back off and just let your children be a certain way. DON'T! Guide them, love them, pray for them, be there, know their friends, know their dreams. FIGHT FOR YOUR CHILDREN. It may not be sports or a four year college, it could be the military or a trade school, and that's all OK. As long as you impart the WORD OF GOD in their life and keep speaking the positive things into their life so that when you let go of their hand for the last time, you will have surety and know they will be OK. LOVE THEM FOR WHO THEY ARE! I am blessed!

Monday, December 03, 2012

Staying quiet, even when its hard!

I woke up this morning feeling a bit heavy, not weight physically but spiritually. Some paths that are laid before my family are very interesting. The door was cracked and we are waiting further instructions before we walk in. However for me this is always the rough moment, I know if this is God's will it will be awesome. Everyone may not agree but honestly that doesn't even matter in this season of our lives.

We can make all the plans we want, we can decide what path we are going to take, we can decide that something was designed just for us. That's the problem, we are deciding these things and God continues to put up road block after road block and we continue to go around the warnings, then we have the nerve to be mad or hurt because its not turning out the way we want it to.

God's word says:
Jeremiah 29:11

New International Version (NIV)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

So if we know this, then why do we get all irritated when "our"plan doesn't work. Five years ago, I could give you a rundown of where I would be today. Well, I'm not any of the places I thought I would be, but I am happy. I am fulfilled. In the quiet moments I have learned to have, I have been clear and concise instruction on how to just follow His path for me and believe it or not, He is not done by a long shot with me or my family. God is showing up and showing out.

For so longed I ran the other direction from what was God sent because it was not on my list for "my" life plan. My life plan is a joke, don't get me wrong we have visions and goals for our family but no plan is set in stone because we have learned all to well that God will divert us directly into the storm and wait to see how we respond.

In church we are studying Job, a book that really breaks down the fall of a "faithful man", a man that was not know to find fault with God, a rich man both financially and spiritually. However when he fell, he fell hard. He began to place God in the witness chair and wanted to lay out his case before the thrown. Finally at the height of the storm, God finally answered back. He basically told Job, "Do you have any idea who I am?"

I believe that is true for alot of us. We tend to think that in the storm we have to go in survival mode and begin to tear apart our life to see where we went wrong. Even if we get close to an answer it will never be the complete finality of our situation. God can take our storm and quiet it in the flash of a moment. We are just to busy fighting the storm instead of quietly riding it out. When a ship is in a storm, the crew will place the ship in the direction of the storm because trying to turn around and divert the other way will tear the ship apart, they just buckle down and ride it out. We should be as the sailors and learn that sometimes its too late to turn back and we must just ride out the storm, listen for the seas to stop raging and the waves to stop overtaking us.

It was much like that with Jonah, God sent a storm to the waters nearing the boat Jonah was on. This is in contrast to Job because Jonah had placed himself in this situation and instead of being truly honest with those he got on the boat with from the beginning, he just allowed the storm to rage until he was confronted. This is when you need to get Jonah off your boat:

Getting Jonah Off The Boat

Jonah 1:1-17

Background: Jonah on board this ship is very symbolic of how we can allow things to get into our lives that don’t need to be there. It could be a sin, it could be harboring a bad feeling toward someone, it could be a wrong relationship, it could be allowing something in our lives that keeps us from moving forward with God. Here are some lessons on getting Jonah out of your boat.

Don’t let him board in the first place—v.3 these men didn’t realize who was getting on their ship. All the trouble that they were about to face could have been avoiding by not letting Jonah on board in the first place. Prevention is better than cure. So many times we allow people into our lives or things into our lives before we fully know if the Lord is involved in them coming into our lives.

Realize why the storms are in your life—v.10—these men did a personal examination of what was going wrong. They cried out to their Gods, then they confronted Jonah to see if he was the cause of their storm. Too many times people just keep riding through storms when they need to get rid of a Jonah. You will not have that perfect peace until those things that need to be removed are removed.

Don’t get rid of the wrong things—v.5 When we try to fix our problems and situations, we end up throwing out all the wrong things. I don’t know all they lost in their efforts here, but I do know this: Jonah was their problem, not the things they threw overboard.

Don’t work to keep Jonah in your life—v13 It is amazing even after they discovered that Jonah was the problem, they worked hard to keep him aboard. If God tells you to get rid of something, get rid of it. You can do a million other things, but until you obey the voice of the Lord, there is no peace, there is no end to the storm.

When you get rid of your Jonah, your life will immediately get back on course. v.15—we find out an amazing thing here, as soon as they threw Jonah overboard, the sea calmed. It is true today, that as soon as you surrender it over to the Lord, your sea will calm.Today, throw Jonah overboard. An old hurt, a bad habit, a wrong relationship, even a wrong or negative attitude, get it out of your life today, so you can have the peace of God in your life anew.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


This morning on the ride in to work my husband and I were talking about a "bet" he and a childhood friend made. Basically the bet was that another childhood friend would not make it up to Dallas from their hometown while my husband is on holiday here in Dallas during the holidays.

As I chuckled, it was evident that was always the circumstance for this friend. His family is very church driven and unless its church he generally is not "allowed" to participate. That really bothered me because I learned long ago from a mother in my home church Blessed Assurance that my marriage and children are my first ministry.

Over the last few weeks I have been getting to my WOW ministry group early and working in the bookstore, at that time of the morning the mens ministry is in full session and the session plays in the bookstore on the monitors. I have been hearing alot about men and the need to have and nurture authentic relationships with other GODLY men, not perfect men but men that will be there in your season of victory and your season of defeat.

I would never discourage my husband from those types of relationships and Lord knows over the years of being married we both have needed those authentic relationships that will make sure we don't hear what we want to hear but what we need to hear. I have always been involved in ministry and so has my husband. However I learned to prioritize my family. It did not mean I loved God any less but the 4 walls and 20 meetings of the church would go on with or without me.

As a young wife I did have an amazing marriage to watch growing up, my parents, married for more than 20 years prior to my fathers passing. I watched my mom have a life beyond our home and so did my father. I watched as my fathers friends would come and hang out when he got sick and when mom became ill her friends rallied behind our family in care for her. My parents never gave each other permission to go somewhere or even had to ask each other. They had daily communication and knew when to pull in the family reigns and reconnect. There was never a time that we did not have a hot home cooked meal or that daddy didn't pay the mortgage.

I would never want to be a wife that is so suspicious that every male friend my husband has is going to influence him to against the principles of the God we serve. I value each one of my husbands friends. These are men that I know would make a drive at 2 am to be by his side. I too, have friends that would do the same and none of these friends even in the hardest of times for us have ever told us anything that would direct us from God.

Even my Pastor, Bryan Carter and his beautiful wife Stephanie, have become transparent vessels of authentic relationships both in how they conduct themselves as pastoral leadership, husband and wife, parents and as friends. Pastor Carter made a statement this past Sunday that although he and his family were due to go out of town for Thanksgving, they decided to disconnect as leadership and reconnect as a family, just his wife and children. I found that so valuable. He and his wife both have mentioned time they have shared as individuals with college friends and how inportant those times are as well. With so much valuable transparency, its hard to live any other way.

However this generation is so greatly divided on things based on old world wisdom.

"Todays young women have become a culture of independent women, women who lead the household, who make the decisions, who control the day to day life, do most to all the parenting/discipline, control the finances, speak their mind and not tolerate anyone who disrespects us and maybe I’d go as bold as to say, who questions us. I had to take charge when my husband was out to sea all the time and I know many other wives that did the same but I can testify, I DID NOT WANT TO DO IT OR CONTINUE WHEN HE GOT HOME. This is NOT what God wanted. More than realizing, it is so hard to break the habits that the feminism era has brought our way. Now I am not saying that all the changes that were made were negative.

Nowhere in the bible does it say that husbands can disrespect their wives, control with an iron fist and make each and every decision.

What it does say is this…. Ephesians 5:22-33 (NIV) 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[a] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[b] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Pretty heavy stuff …surely something that would get this generation of "independent, non mess taking women" in an uproar, but that is because we don’t want to understand what Paul was really saying. They take it literally, that women are to be submissive. But that isn’t really what Paul’s intent was. He was giving a directive for a "voluntary" yielding in love on the part of the wife.

Nowhere does it say that the husbands are to control their wives. Instead it instructs the wives to take submission into their own hands. This does not deny the husband and wife's essential equality before God, which Paul mentions in Galatians 3:28, where he declares, "There is neither ... male nor female, for all are one in Christ."

Both men and women share equality not sameness before God. Paul tells us that wives submit to husbands as the head of the household just as Christ is the head of the church. We don’t question that we need to submit to the head of the church and thus by following this teaching, wives are doing this as an act of obedience to the Lord… by submitting to our husbands we are showing reverence for the one they submit to…the Lord. And this submission doesn’t mean we don’t’ stand up for what we believe in, it doesn’t mean that men are always right, that we have to believe all they say to be true.

What it does mean is that ultimately it needs to be the husband who leads the family. "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church" (verse 25) does not mean husbands, "Be the head over your wife." Rather Paul tells them to love their wives. Paul says three simple things about this love. The husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church (verses 25-27), as his own body (28-30), and with a passion transcending all other commitments (31-33).

I used to have so many things on my to do list. I have learned that although they may be there still, I have to know when to disconnect from this world and reconnect with the ones who matter most and to learn that nurturing those valued relationships will carry me for the rest of my life.

I close with this:

The author of one site I read put Paul’s direction…his urging to the husband to set the tone of spiritual leadership in the home in a way that made it so much clearer... At the heart of mature masculinity is a sense of benevolent responsibility to lead, provide for, and protect women in ways appropriate to a man's differing relationships."4 A husband needs to assume a certain responsibility for the spiritual growth of his wife. In order to do that, though, husbands must "give themselves" for their wives (verse 25) by laying aside many of their own personal desires and conveniences in order to fulfill a higher and prior call.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

2012 Year in review!

As we end 2012 I am so thankful for the Victories and Trials this year has brought. The plan "I" had is definately not the plan GOd has for our family or for me individually. We have been in Texas for over a year now and we are finally just beginning to settle in. Its been different with school schedules, work schedules and plenty of hurdles along the way. I am learning to sit and be still even when its hard. I am learning to get through watching my children move on to lives of their own. I am learning that in order to live a life that glorifies God in each season, I must take some sticky notes off my wall and understand the seasons of my life. I am learning that everything is not a right now moment, except a clean! Sorry folks, God is still working on me in this area and my obsession with CLEAN. We finally took a full family vacation to Atlanta this year and spent time with family. We had a blast. Well to catch up on the family: William: Still in California for now working and searching for jobs here in Dallas Marsha: Breathing.....writing my testimony, finally joined a womans small group at church and loving it, crocheting...not sure if I really like it, reading all I can about adoption, PINTREST JUNKIE. Darrell: He is in the US ARMY now. He left September 25th and will graduate on December 7th 2012 and will head to Virginia for a few months of school. I am so proud of him. Chloe: She is in the US ARMY. She graduates bootcamp January 17th and will also head to Virginia for school for a few months. Keanu: In the ARMY now and will graduate January 24th and will go to Georgia for school till the end of May. Adrenna: Wow time flies. She is a senior at CHHS in Cedar Hill and will graduate in June 2013. SHe will attend either U of Texas at Arlington and study NUrsing or attend Arkansas State int he fall. Bailey: She is in the 10th grade and plays varsity softball. She is doing great and is expecting to have alot of recruiting opportunities this spring. She is also the football manager for 2013/2014 football season Mackenzie: Well my little drama queen is taking her talent to the stage in the spring production of "Grace" a gsopel remake of Grease. I am very proud of the strides she is making. With 2013 right around the corner the praying and goal setting is in full effect and we pray our friends adn family are doing the same for 2013.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Name Change

Well many of you that know my family, know that this blog was originally created to keep our loved ones that lived out of state in the loop of our crazy life. My last post was more of a "exhale" for me. This time we have a name change for our blog, 7 Quilted Hearts. I will explain:

As of late, although my anxiety has gone, I have been overwhelmed in the day to day tasks that used to come so easy to me. Menu planning, keeping schedules in line have all taken a back burner to utter chaos. I began praying and asking God, really? I know, I know, why ask why? It seems as though daily that each of my children were dertermining their own rules, boundaries and plans. I have begun to feel defeated in my spirit. For 16 years I have been the household planner, scheduler, maid, cook. launderer, bank, atm, taxi driver. I am sure many moms out there can relate. In the midst of that all, attempting to nurture a marriage and also grow as an individual proved to be a mountain placed in the road of my life.

We have now been back in Texas almost a year and no it has not been easy. Acclimating to the way things work outside of our protected military lifestyle has proven to be rahter difficult. I work full time and yes my job is demanding. I come home and the work does not end there. We have softball, end of the year concerts, cheer and topping it off preparing for graduation in a couple of weeks.

As I was leaving and exhaustive day at work, I called my husband and just had a complete melt down. I cried all the way home. Telling him how defeated I felt. The children are making me bonkers and work is stressing me out, I told him as the tears rolled down my face. See my week began like this: Monday home sick from work with an ear infection on top of a sinus infection that was birthing an upper respiratory infection. Mind you this was not the bad part. I am diabetic, getting sick is not in the plan book for keeping blood sugar down. I also had been working overtime on a project for my manager, one weekend can really change the balance in your life and this is where I went wrong. I did not pray about the project, I just said yes. Well my children have had me home on weekends for so many years now after leaving clinical nursing, that something changed in 4 hours on one saturday that I worked overtime.

I know my God is able to all I could ever ask and give me strength in my weakness but I also know that some things I bring on myself and I caused this chaos to fester. I longed for the week to end, praying God please allow me to have some peace this weekend. Well I guess it was not His calendar for me because we had prom, 6 softball games and a couple of other unexpected catastrophies. I found myself asking why, really God why me? I have not rested in 3 weeks. Not like I am just napping any other time but just truly being able to do the things I needed to do to give me peace.

I wole up this morning and as I headed out the door to drop Bailey off at a game I knew I had to be in church. See. softball sometimes keeps us going on both Saturday and Sunday. As greatful as I am that my church has an I phone app, I knew I need to be there front and center. I race home to rally the rest of the troop to make it to the 9am service. We jumped in the car, every one in front of us was standing in my way of making it to the Lord today. Cars too slow, cars too fast, lights, you name it it was there.

We hustle in and the only seats were up. I place my bible on the seat and stand there as the praisee team sand there worship song. I held back the tears, I just couldnt cry another day. Being almost 40 and having puffy eyes is not cool. Our pastor was not there today but did leave us in capable hands. The sermon was from the story of Abraham when he took Isaac up the mountain to sacrifice him. The message was about being tested. I listened ferverntly to each word spoken and it was me, church was for me today. My challenges are not any worse than those in the bible. I have to begin to breath. I have been holding my breath and just functioning and now here I am suffocating. I have to stop, pause and just breath.

I renamed this blog because our family dynamics are changing so rapidly and trying to keep it all together takes work. Some of us need to be repostioned and trimmed a bit, others needs to moved around the pattern in order to understand each other. I value everyday in my life as though it was my last but it doesnt make the chaos any less frustrating. I am an OCD, Neat Freak, Jesus lover who all be it likes to control her surroundings, does understand that sometimes my God is going to yank my chain to align me back to 2nd place.

James 5:11 -

Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.