Let’s Talk!

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It was an honor to share our story at City Life Philly!  It was a day that we weren’t sure could or would ever happen, but we are so glad it did. You can listen to our redemption story HERE.

For some, our story may come as a surprise.  Eddie and I know that sharing our journey publicly is a risk and our desire is that God will use it to bring healing and hope to everyone who hears. Overcoming the effects of an affair is not an easy process.  It’s messy and uncomfortable.  And that’s why we share it.  God is not afraid of the messy or the uncomfortable.  So why should we be?

It’s no joke to stand before your friends, family, and complete strangers to share your deepest darkest moments. If nothing else, you feel exposed and vulnerable. So often we have been tempted to keep quiet about what our marriage faced.  We’ve been tempted to buy into the lie that exposing our mess would do more harm than good.  But the truth is, we have felt more freedom with every opportunity we have had to share our story.

Instead of finding that our mess would somehow expose us, we’ve found that sharing our story exposes the lies that so many buy into.  The lie that you’re the only one who is struggling with (fill in the blank). The lie that you’re all alone on your journey.  The lie that no one will understand and everyone will judge.  The lie that keeping your struggles in the dark is better than bringing them to the light.  The lie that hope and healing are impossible.

It’s easy to buy into these lies.  When it feels like no one is talking about the messy subjects and everyone else seems to be doing so great, you don’t want to be THAT person who brings up the taboo topic.  More and more I feel compelled – perhaps called – to start or at the very least be a part of the difficult conversations.  The struggle is real.  But so is the answer.

The freedom that Christ brings is more real than anything I have ever experienced.  Your sin, hurt, anger, singleness, infertility, whatever it is, is not too big for Jesus!  Don’t hear me wrong, it was not “easy” to face the mess in our marriage, but it was absolutely worth it.

What’s your mess?  What conversation do you need to start or be a part of?  I’m praying for every person who reads this.  May you find the strength to face the challenges and messy situations in life.

Let’s talk.

Was it worth the risk?

I knew it was a risk. Most people wait at least 12 weeks to share their exciting news. I felt like we had waited almost 12 years. I couldn’t resist the urge to shout it from the rooftops! We were expecting a baby! I, for the first time in my life, was pregnant. Huge amounts of joy! Huge amounts of celebrating. Many many tears. In less than 2 minutes there were two lines and my world was absolutely turned upside down! The next 4 days felt like this amazing, jittery, nervous ascent to the top of a roller coaster ride!
It’s crazy what can happen in a few short days. I downloaded every app possible to track the growth of my baby. We started the discussion of baby names. I made and went to doctors appointments. I started a secret Pinterest board. And most of all I confidently declared God’s faithfulness in our lives. He’d done it! He’d kept His word. He’d performed a miracle. He’d been faithful.
Little did I know the next two days would feel like the decent of that same roller coaster ride. The difference was the coaster didn’t stay on the track. Instead is came crashing to the ground. After two incredibly tough days everything changed…..yet again. After more doctors appointments and a day in the ER, I wasn’t going to have a baby anymore.

I knew it was a risk to tell everyone. And now I had to tell them it was over.

It was a risk because since my teen years I’ve had medical issues that made me wonder if a family was even possible. After 3 years of marriage, more doctor’s appointments than I could count, multiple types of fertility treatments and various procedures to get my health under control, we felt desperate for our family to grow. We wanted to be parents. I wanted to be a mom. God had promised. It just had to happen. And it did! Just not the way we expected. I have NEVER EVER been disappointed with how God brought Nick and Rosie into our lives. Being their mom has been the greatest gift I could have ever asked for! That story is really a part of other blogs/posts and has been such a joy to experience. And when Nick and Rosie started to ask for a little brother or sister, I was excited to bring them into that conversation.

But, it was a risk to try again. But try we did. Again. And again. And again. And then our world came to a crashing halt when our marriage fell a part. Again that’s another blog for another day. But all of this is to say our journey to get to where we are right now has been nothing short of a miracle and a lot of risks. You see, it was this time two years ago that I went to yet another doctor to get yet another D&C only to be told that I had “pre-cancerous” cells in my uterus. The nurse on the phone very flippantly explained that the doctor suggested that I have a hysterectomy. I will never forget how I felt when I got off of that cold, calloused call. What did she just say? They want me to do what? I went for a 2nd opinion and the new doctors discussed other options. They asked great questions and eventually we went down a different path. A risky path that led to weight loss surgery. We were prayerful during the journey and strategic in our decisions. I don’t regret the risk of getting help to lose 130lbs over the past 13 months. And when we started trying again for a baby in August of this year I knew…….it was a risk.

Sharing this story is a risk. Telling people early on was a risk. Heck my life has been full of risks. I know I’m not the first to struggle with infertility. I have many friends who have never been able to conceive. Others have lost many pregnancies. Others have experienced the joy of adoption as we have. And others have had their own set of struggles in a variety of other areas of life. I’m also not the first person to take risks. Not all of the risks I’ve taken have worked out like I would have liked, but at least I took the risk, right?

I know I’m not the first to have an ectopic pregnancy/miscarriage and I won’t be the last. I can’t fully understand why our pregnancy didn’t work out this first time. I’ve cried many tears in the past weeks. I’ve felt the sting when an app that I forgot to disable alerted me that I had reached a new week of pregnancy. Or turned the page on my notebook to see baby names doodled everywhere. But I’ve also felt other things. The joy Eddie and I felt during those first few days was unexplainable. I wouldn’t trade those moments for anything. The excitement I felt when I told my parents they would have their 20th grandchild was wonderful. The thrill of my kids when they heard the news was priceless. And even the encouraging texts and calls following the loss were reminders that I have amazing people in my life. I really think it’s all been worth the risk.

This past week I have felt the Lord so close. I knew people were praying for me. Those that I had celebrated with just a few days before, quickly adjusted and began praying for us in a new way. I can’t thank them all enough. How did I get so blessed with such an amazing family and loyal friends?

The days following the loss held many tears, and not all of them were sad tears. I wept because I am blessed. I wept because we weren’t sure it could happen at all. I wept because I felt a new hope. I wept because of the joy we felt for those few brief days. I am thankful that there is hope we will experience it again. I’m thankful that our family is whole and healthy, lacking in no good thing. God is faithful. I was so quick to say that when we found out we were expecting. The loss doesn’t change that. God is still faithful.

As we try to settle back into normal life, I know it will never be the same. I’ll grieve.  I’ll feel whatever it is I feel and I’ll process it however necessary. I’ll call my mama. I’ll hug my kids. I’ll give thanks for my amazing husband. I’ll also take the risk again when the time is right. I might wait a bit longer to share it next time, or maybe I won’t! Who knows? But no matter what, may I always choose to say, “Naked I came from my mothers womb and naked shall I return. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job 1:21

Yep! It’s all been worth the risk.

God said “No”

Ten years ago Eddie and I got married and then took a trip to Tennessee just a few months later.  It was a great trip.  We had a reception for friends and family who weren’t able to make it to our wedding in Michigan.  My MIL and BIL joined us for this trip!  A huge highlight of that trip was when we brought home our first two children ;).

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OK maybe not children but Chewee and Josee quickly became a part of our family.  Two adorable little jackabea puppies (Jack Russel and Beagle mix).    We spent the next 5 years training and loving those dogs!  Nick and Rosie came to live with us and quickly fell in love with them too.  We have great family videos of Nick bossing Chewee around.  I cherish those!

Almost five years ago our family made a major move from Detroit to Philadelphia and wisdom said we should not take the dogs with us.  It was heartbreaking but my parents stepped in and took both dogs back to TN.  It was such a treat to go home for visits and get to see our dogs!  Nick and Rosie still tell people that we have 2 dogs – distance didn’t change the love in our hearts.

This week my mom called with news that I’ve dreaded since the day we took them home with us 10 years ago.  Chewee was gone.  That wonderfully stubborn dog chased one too many cars.  My heart was broken.  Sure, she hadn’t lived with us for a while, but she still had a Christmas stocking every year!  She was our Chewee.  I wasn’t going to tell the kids for a while but the opportunity presented itself last night.  The scene that followed broke my heart and taught me something.

I shared the news in it’s most compact version.  At first there were a few questions but within minutes my Rosie girl began to sob.  I’ve never seen her cry like that.  Her heart was broken and mine was too.  And then her next words blew my mind.  Through heavy breathing and broken words this was our conversation:

Rosie – “God said no.”

Mom – “What do you mean honey?”

Rosie – “I asked God to let us see Chewee this summer when we go to TN.  He said no.”

The rest of the evening commenced with many tears and conversations about death.  I’ll cherish last night as long as I live.  I held both of my babies as they grieved and processed the death of their long distance dog.  But I couldn’t get that conversation with Ro out of my head.

In a world where the word NO is frowned upon, I think my 7 year old gets something that many of us struggle with.  We want what we want when we want it!  And the truth is that’s just not reality.  Sometimes the word NO is absolutely necessary.  Other times it’s not what we want to hear but it’s whats best for now.

I’ve asked God for many things.  Most often his answer is “wait” but sometimes his answer is clearly “no.”

Proverbs 19:21 tells us that we all have many plans but it’s the purpose of the Lord that will stand.  I don’t always get it, but I’m learning to trust more and more that HIS ways are better than mine.  I want to be ok when HE says “NO.” It doesn’t mean I won’t mourn or grieve or that I have to pretend everything is ok. Scenes like last night are ok……no good ….. no, they are necessary in life.  We have to learn to trust the great I AM with all things.  And when He says NO, there is most definitely a lesson to be learned.

Last night we wrapped up our evening with a slumber party in our room, skyping Nana and Papa and ultimately thanking Jesus for the wonderful years we had with Chewee.

Listen, I get it.  She’s a dog.  But last night the hurt was real and the grace of Jesus was too!  There are life lessons happening as we walk through this experience as a family.  Rosie quickly recognized God’s answer to her prayer.  Now she will learn how to process that answer.  Not easy, but necessary.

I ache watching my kids hurt.  But I am so thankful that Eddie and I get to be the ones to walk through this with them.  I don’t like the answer “NO” sometimes, but for last night I will eternally be thankful!

I’m a liar……

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….and you might be too! Now before you start crucifying me let me explain. I don’t lie to my husband or my kids. I don’t provide false information on my driver’s license or important documents. I work from home and I’m even honest with the hours I put forth when no one is looking. I try not to be deceptive or exaggerate.  Don’t get me wrong I’ve had to eat crow a few times and confess when my words were something less than honest.  But as a habit, I am probably a pretty honest person. Or am I? If I am truthful in all of these areas why on earth would I call myself a liar?

Well I was reading this morning and I came across words that stopped me in my tracks. Psalms 15 asks the question – who can hang in the tent of the Lord? Who can chill with him on His holy hill? (my paraphrase) I like to spend time with Jesus so I thought “am I invited to hang with him?” So I went through the first few on the list.

1. He who walks blamelessly and does what is right…

Well I’m definitely not perfect at this but I try to do what is right and I rely on the grace of Jesus every day. He makes this one possible. So maybe I’m good to go? Yay, I’m invited to the party! And then I read this…..

2. He who speaks truth …….. IN HIS HEART!

Bam!!! There it is! Do you see it? Sure I tell the truth and I am super conscious of the words that come out of my mouth but what about the words I speak IN MY HEART??

That’s when it hit me. I’m not guilty of lying to others. I’m guilty of lying to myself. How often do I justify the words I’m telling myself? “You’ll never measure up.” “You’re dropping the ball in every area of life.” “You’re nothing special – what can you offering anyone?” Sometimes I wade through these ugly lies (and so many others) and come out on the other side realizing the truth. But other times I tuck them away for later use. I tell myself that I’m not hurting anyone by saying these things to myself. Many times I say that I don’t really believe the lie but I let it hangout in my heart anyway. Truth is I might even wallow in them a bit. Use them as excuses for why I can’t do something or pursue a dream.

I doubt I’m alone in this but it’s not the easiest realization to come to. When we are commanded in scripture to not “bear false witness against our neighbor” we don’t really think about the lies we tell ourselves. So I’ll think on this for a while. I’ll let the truth of God’s Word sink in a bit.  I’ll think about what I speak in my heart and send it through the filter of Philippians 4:8

Is it TRUE?

— many won’t make it past this but if it does I’ll continue to put it through this Biblical thought filter:

Is it honorable?
Is it just?
Is it pure?
Is it lovely?
Is it commendable? Excellent? Worthy of praise?

So I’ll wrap up by saying this. I have dreams. I have hopes and desires for my future and the future of my family. Sometimes it’s easier to shelve those dreams by telling myself it’s not possible or that I’m being prideful or selfish. But I don’t want to live like that. I want to fulfill ALL that God has for me. And if I am going to do that I think I HAVE TO BE HONEST even in — no no especially in the words I speak to myself. So I’m gonna work on this. It might take some time to change this sneaky little habit. But now that I’ve recognized the issue….there is NO GOING BACK!

May “I Do”

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It’s been 9 years since I promised to love Edgardo Galindo forever!  I had NO IDEA what I was getting into!  No really, I didn’t have a clue.  But I have never been more thankful that I jumped into this life long commitment.  I am so thankful for all that God has done in our lives and in our marriage.  I love who Eddie is.  Even when he drives me crazy!  🙂  I love how patient and kind he is.  I love how he has taken crazy steps of faith to follow God’s call on his life while working and serving our home.  He’s not loud or overbearing (I take care of that for the both of us) yet his gentle and compassionate ways melt my heart on a daily basis!  Probably my favorite thing about marriage is the fact that we know each other better than anyone else.  We have all kinds of inside jokes that would make no sense to anyone else.  We have looks that no one else would understand.  Sometimes words are unnecessary.  We just get each other.  Sometimes words are unnecessary because we know we’re driving each other bonkers.  Yet even in the midst of all of that we are learning more and more about who God created the other to be.  Our marriage has been harder, crazier, funnier, more surprising, and more extraordinary than I ever expected.  And I couldn’t be more thankful for the man God set in my path!  Thanks Eddie for this adventure!  I’m super excited about the next 60 years with you!  And don’t forget…..16 years from today we go skydiving with the kids!  You promised!

“May I” — take 2

MAY I FINISH THE LAUNDRY SOMETIME THIS WEEK!

 

I have a friend who declares that laundry can never actually be done because you’re always wearing something when you do laundry (well let’s hope).   I guess that’s true.  But I’ll aim high for today’s “MAY I.” Laundry is the task that I think most families despise!  Unless you’re my MIL.  She loves to do laundry.  But I’m not.  It’s not that I mind actually washing the clothes but putting them away is a pain.  That’s probably why I’ve recruited my 6 & 7 year old for this task.  The truth is it’s a team effort for us.  When you have four people constantly dirtying up clothes everyone needs to pitch in to complete the chore.  So as I work from home and stare at the heaping pile of clean laundry sitting on the sofa, I declare to myself – “I Will Finish the Laundry.”   I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!

A Month of “MAY I’s”

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MAY I ALWAYS LIVE LIFE ON PURPOSE!

Today is MAY 1st!!  As I lay in bed last night not being able to fall asleep I started to think about the next month of our lives.  The idea of a month of “MAY I’s” popped into mind.  Over the next 31 days I have decided to make declarations that I believe will encourage me and I hope others as well.   In some ways they may also be prayers.  For today, I declare my desire to always live life on purpose!

Do you?  Do you live with full intentions or just let life happen to you?  I know I’ve done both.  Or rather I DO both!  And in some areas I definitely live more on purpose than in other areas.  For instance parenting.  Am I perfect?  Absolutely not, but I have made it a priority to read, ask questions, and take classes.  I ask other parents whom I trust and respect what they would do in different situations.  I read through different books that I think could help me on this parenting journey.  I don’t have this whole parenting thing down, but I refuse to just let life happen when it comes to my kids.  Same with my marriage.  I love my husband too much to just expect things to always go well with little to no effort on my part.  I did that for years and the results were detrimental. I have to be a good wife…..ON PURPOSE.  In other areas of my life I’m not so purpose driven.  And in those areas, I struggle.   It’s hard work.  I have to put time and energy towards the things I do on purpose.  I don’t think that it’s about being perfect at something I think it’s about being purposeful.  So as I take inventory of my life, I see areas that are lacking in purposeful living.  May I do something about that……MAY I LIVE LIFE ON PURPOSE!

How about you?  Do you live life on purpose? When you don’t, what are the results?  When you do, what are the results?

I winked at Jesus

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Really I did.  I was laying in the bed the other night having a conversation with Jesus.  Asking for guidance in a specific area of my life and as I’m listening I felt I knew my next step.  I was happy.  I was thankful for His direction.  So with a half grin on my face, I winked at Him.  You know the kind of wink.  The wink that says “I understand.  You got this. I think we’re on the same page now. Thanks for speaking.”  Then I laughed at myself.  Who winks at Jesus?

This may seem extremely silly, and it kind of is.  But it really captures a season that I’ve been going through in my life.  I’ll speak vaguely b/c the details aren’t important.  The lesson is the real reason I write today.

We all go through seasons in life.  Ups / downs.  Trials and successes.  Recently we’ve faced a challenge in one specific area of our lives.  At first I displayed my response through a spiritual temper-tantrum.  Not pretty, but it really did happen.  But then I realized that this was an area in our lives that has been a reoccurring struggle.  So I committed to the Lord that I would walk through this HIS way.  I read James 1 and prayed that I would find joy in the midst of my trial.  I asked that HE would produce a maturity in us that we haven’t had in this area of our lives.  And then I read Hebrews 12 — vs 5-6 “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.” vs 11 “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  LATER ON, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

Now I’m probably like most people in the sense that I don’t initially care for a swift kick in the pants.  However, through my recent challenges I have been reminded that God is not doing this TO me, but He is doing this FOR me.  Bad habits had gotten me into a rut that I didn’t know how to climb out of.  I didn’t even want to pray about it b/c I figured it was just the rotten fruit of what I had sewn.  But this time when I felt the Lord rebuke me, I didn’t resist.  Maybe a little at first but then I decided to truly let HIM weed out some things in my life.  That decision led to a peace that I cannot explain.  My situation isn’t really all that different.  But my perspective sure is.  All this time I’ve been holding tight to my way of doing things and the results haven’t been that great.  But since releasing control, I’ve seen God work out details that I could never have done.  I’m digging my heals in and anticipating that “LATER ON” that He talks about in Hebrews 12.  But in the mean time, I’m going to accept this discipline.  I’m going to be thankful that He loves me enough to allow me to go through this.  And let’s be honest, when I see Him working out details and leading my family…..I’ll probably wink again.

 

Hearticure

I was around 27 when I got my first pedicure.  It was right before my wedding and my mom and I went together.  I was a little nervous b/c no one had ever handled my feet before.  Everything was going really well.  My feet were soaking in the warm water and and I just sat back and chatted it up with my mom!  And then the little lady came over and took my foot and began to buff off all of the hard calloused areas on my feet.  And then it happened.  The little woman looked up at me and in her thick Asian accent asked “You raised on farm?”  I could not believe it!  My mom and I began laughing so hard.  “Why yes ma’am I kind of was raised on a farm.”

Have you ever stopped to think about the pedicure process?  Let’s think about 2 things.  One, callouses form on your feet when something rubs up against them so long that they become hard.  Two, in order to remove the rough, hardened skin, you have to rub something else against it.  Most often a pumice stone is used to remove the dead hardened skin.   How is it that it’s the same action but each cause a different result?  Shoes or rocks or other things rub up against your feet over a period of time and your feet become hard and calloused.  But take a pumice stone and rub it up against your feet and the result is soft, smooth feet feeling refreshed and ready to go.

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Well I’ve heard and read a lot of things regarding the Christian church in America lately and I’ll be honest it can get overwhelming.  I have my opinions regarding many of the topics but more than that, I’ve been looking into my own heart.  What do I do when I don’t care for a modern day church tradition?  How do I process what appears to be unbiblical conduct by individuals who claim to be followers of Christ?  How do I make sure I am walking in obedience to what the Word of God teaches?

I won’t deal with all those answers in this blog, but I will share my conclusion.  I need a Hearticure!  As things begin to rub me one way or the other, I truly believe I have a choice as to weather I allow it to callous my heart or make it tender towards the things of God.  I’ve been hanging out in Ephesians 4 and this sticks out to me:

4 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

Listen if you know me you know that I have opinions.  You know that I often represent those opinions in a passionate fashion (not typically through a blog or social media though).  But My desire is to KNOW God’s Word and to stand for TRUTH in a world where truth is being skewed on so many levels.  In reality MY opinion doesn’t matter at all!  It’s His Word alone that matters!  I don’t have all the answers.  I don’t even know how to process all that I hear and read from the contradicting sides of “Christianity.” But I do know that if I’m not careful to constantly be checking my own heart, I too can become hard.  If I’m not diligent about KNOWING God’s Word for myself, I too can become rough around the edges when conversing with others.

So as I read God’s Word, I pray that my heart will soak in it’s truth and soften to the leading of the Holy Spirit.  May HIS words gently sluff away the hard calloused nature so that my character will become more like Christ. I don’t want to compromise His Word even the slightest.  I want to stand strong in the wake of the enemy’s sly tactics.  But may I stand as Christ did.  My prayer is that I will walk in a manner worthy of the calling, with all humility and gentleness, bearing with one another in love and eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  After all, our love for one another will show all people that we are true disciples of Christ (John 13:34-35).

There’s no place like HOME….but where is home?

19! That’s the number of houses/apartments I have lived in since birth.  8 of those have been within the last 3 years.  And that doesn’t include 3 dorm rooms and the countless number of summer homes for internships.  On top of that, I went to 7 schools from K-12th grade.   Moving and living new adventures is nothing new to me. 

But in all of my years, I’ve never questioned where HOME was.  It was wherever my parents where.  I knew that if I had to go anywhere I could go to where they were.  And technically that will always be true.  But over these last 3 years, this concept of HOME has been something I’ve really struggled with.  We’ve all heard “home is where the heart is” and although that’s a nice little quote, my heart was all over the place emotionally these past 3 years and that made “home” something that was hard to grasp. 

Don’t get me wrong, there is a joy and security in being wherever my husband and children are.  But again, our many moves and life’s circumstances made it difficult to feel like I was truly HOME.  I realized this when we moved for a short time to Tennessee to be near my family.  We were there for only a few months when I realized I had lived most of my adult years in Michigan. That made me think I would feel more at home there.  (don’t worry Mama and Daddy wherever you are will always be a place I love coming home to).  And then out of nowhere God graciously called us to serve in ministry back in MI.  I was thrilled b/c it was the HOME I thought I was searching for.  And although we cherish our time over these past 2 years, there was still this unsettling in my heart. 

When we decided to move to Pittsburgh so Eddie could go to school, I was terrified.  Not so much for the move (been there done that), but b/c I thought I would never feel like I was HOME again.  I didn’t just want this for me, but for my husband and kids too.  Moms set the tone for home life and I knew that any unsettled feelings I was having would have a direct affect on my family.  But as always, God has been so gracious to us.  And even more specifically to me.  We have lived here for 1 month!   And I have to admit that I am feeling more settled than I have in a long time.  Being the analytical person that I am, I had to ask the question, WHY?  Why am I more settled than in years past.  How can I have this much peace when there are so many unanswered questions regarding our future?

Unbeknownst to this inner struggle, a great friend sent me a text over the weekend.  She knows our story and thought the verse might encourage me. (Thanks SS)  It was Psalms 90:1

Lord, through all the generations you have been our home! (NLT)

So here’s what I’ve learned and what was confirmed in this verse.  I can be anywhere anytime and it is in Christ that I will find my HOME.  My husband, kids, house, and stuff are merely blessings that have been given to me by a loving and gracious Father.  We are in the center of God’s will for our lives.  It’s scary at times.  Lots of uncertainties.  But I know we are where we are supposed to be.  And with that certainty comes a sense of HOME.  I cannot tell you how thankful I am for this! 

Matthew 6:21 says “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  My treasure is in Christ!  In His Word!  He provides a dwelling place that is truly my HOME no matter where I live.  I guess with this in mind, HOME really is where the heart is….when you’re Heart is focused on Christ!

Lord, through all the generations you have been our home!