debbie ring

thoughts that move my heart…

She Is My Daughter

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Have you ever regretted something that didn’t seem that big of a deal at the time?

Monday morning, I became overwhelmed with sadness over something I did the night before.

Scrolling through facebook can be so entertaining – pictures and videos everywhere. Just one click away from laughter or tears, or both. There are things that make you smile ear to ear, cause you to seriously laugh out loud, and then, other posts make you so sad or mad. There are those that make you scratch your head in wonder, and some of my favorites, the things I die laughing over and would love to repost – but can’t. I just can’t, but oh man, they.are.so.funny!

Sunday night it was a video, a video of a young woman who was clearly intoxicated by something. She was dancing away, completely uninhibited with her stomach hanging out, flopping all over the place. The people videotaping were egging her on, laughing and making fun of her.

As I watched it I snickered myself, thinking what in the world is wrong with her? I made my comments out loud, laughed a little and thought the world is a scary place for sure.

I didn’t think anything more about it, came home, did my usual night time routine and went to bed.

Our church encourages us to do a church wide 21 day fast, starting the beginning of January. A great way to start off the new year, giving God the first of our year. Jim and I decided to do the Daniel fast together, eating mostly fruits and vegetables, no caffeine, meat, sugar, dairy or flour.

During this time, when I was hungry, I would pray. When I craved certain things, I told Jesus I wanted Him more than the craving – more than the salt water taffy sitting on the frig in the office, that I tried to cover up with a napkin so I didn’t have to look at it!

Sunday was the end for many, Monday was our last day. We started a day later than most due to a family holiday dinner we had planned months in advance.

During this fast, my prayer has been to draw close to Jesus, not anything He would do for me in regards to things I think I need or want, but that I would surrender myself to what He would want to teach me. Not my agenda, simply His way with me. Another prayer has been that my heart would break over what breaks His.

Also, I’ve been listening to messages, this one was particularly awesome, Dangerous Prayers by Craig Groeshel.

Reading more, a great devotional that specifically spoke to me this morning, Let Us Keep to the Point, by Utmost for His Highest.

Definitely praying and journaling more.

Today, my last day of the fast, was profound. I had to write about this right away, I just don’t want to forget it, ever.

As I was getting ready for work  I kept thinking of the video of that young woman. I was going to post the video here for you to see, but decided not to. Why add to the shame and embarrassment she will feel one day, if not already.

I remembered her dancing with her belly all over the place, she is someone’s daughter, neighbor, friend and maybe, mother, sister or aunt. I thought of my own daughters that must be close to her age and the people laughing and taunting her.

I couldn’t escape the thought, what if that was my daughter?

I became so overwhelmed with emotion as I thought of all these things, but most of all at my own actions, my own laughing and snickering as I watched.

Oh Jesus, please forgive me became my prayer in my car this morning. Tears streaming down my face, the heart ache I was feeling was simply overwhelming.

Over and over I was thinking of my daughters, how I cherish and love them. What I wouldn’t do for them.

It is an honor to be their Mom, a privilege God has given me that I try to walk out in integrity and love, I  fall short often I know. I thank God for them, for using them to reach, teach and stretch me in so many ways. Oh how I desire to make a difference in their lives. I am so proud of them, the adults they have become, the way they love and look out for each other, their jokes and sense of humor that is their own language. This is my greatest joy, these beautiful girls God has allowed me to be Mom to. And, just don’t mess with them – I will advocate for them in every way!

As my pastor says – the minute you become a Mom or Dad, your heart moves to the outside of your body.

What if that video was one of them, and I had to watch and hear people making fun of her. What if I was in a room full of people who were watching the video online hearing them laugh at her. I would be wrecked to say the least, heart broken, mad and so very troubled. Fairly certain I’d end up in jail.

As I processed all this I became so angry at myself for doing the same thing! I was yelling through my tears “Why don’t you just pray for that young woman!” Ugh, just a profound moment.

Then…

God really moved my heart, He was saying to me…
“She is My daughter”

“Break my heart for what breaks your, Lord” and He did, Oh how He did, over His daughter. His precious daughter that He knit together in her mother’s womb who is fearfully and wonderfully made.  It was His daughter that I was laughing at, that He created and loves, that He died for.

Undone, completely undone is the only way to describe what He was doing in my heart.

This is a life changer for me, I am so grateful for His Forgiveness, Grace and Truth deposited into my heart today.

God has used my girls over and over to help me understand His love for me. His love for me and you is so much greater than this treasured love I have for my girls, or you have for yours, or anything you cherish in your life.

A truth I’ll forever be in awe of.

In my sorrow, my snickering has turned into prayer for her. My heart has turned into love for her. Lord please protect her, bring Your people into her life, open her heart to You, send someone that she’ll respond to.

I am praying for God’s grace that instead of joining in, I will stand out and up for those who can’t or won’t. Not laughing or making fun, not pointing fingers; but prayer, for His children.

Will you join me in praying for this young woman?

God knows her name.

He knows yours, too.

Psalm 139: 13-14
Ephesians 4:29
Psalm 19:14
Proverbs 29:35

Dark Day

In my quiet time the other day, I was feeling pretty down with nagging thoughts of who I wasn’t.

I love to spend time in the absolute quiet. No TV, phone or people (this is not easy, I have to make it happen or it won’t). Just God and I, journaling my thoughts and prayers .

There is a pattern in this, after all these years, He impresses things in my mind that spur me to dig deeper.

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This is what He nudged me to look up, turning the light on in the darkness.

Through my tears, reading this over and over, He renewed my heart, He is my Friend, my Lord, my Everything.

WHO I AM!
I am a child of God, I am accepted, I am secure, I am significant, I am free from condemnation, I am the salt and light of the earth, a branch of the true vine, a channel of His life.

I am assured all thing work together for good. I am free from any charge against me. I cannot be separated from the love of God, I am established, anointed, sealed by God.

I am hidden with Christ in God. I am confident the good work God as begun in me will be perfected.

I am a citizen of heaven, I have not been given a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.

I can find grace and mercy in time of need. I am born of God, the evil one cannot touch me.
I am the salt and light of the earth, I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit, I am a personal witness of Christ’s , I am God’s temple, I am a minister of reconciliation for God.

I am God’s co-worker. I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realm. I am God’s workmanship. I may approach God with freedom and confidence.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!

Turn to Jesus friends, He never fails!

Weeding Out My Heart

I hate to weed. I don’t know many people who actually enjoy it, my husband is so good at keeping up with it. I take the ‘out of sight out of mind’ approach. Just don’t look; I know, pathetic.

We have a couple area’s that were being taken over by clover, so we made a DAY of it, weeding. A whole DAY. Can you imagine? Seriously, not.my.thing.

As we were out there, I was having a conversation with myself; “What a waste of time”, “I could be doing…(fill in the blank)”, “There are so many ‘more important’ things than this.” On and on it goes, the self talk that surly wasn’t helping me get it done. The dread, the almost anger and resentment.

As I kept this up I decided to pray, have a conversation with the Lord. I asked Him if He would invade my thoughts to help me gain a better attitude as I pulled one weed at a time.

I praised Him for the beautiful day and all the rain we’ve had that made those weeds come out pretty easily, focusing on positive thoughts, then… He invaded.

I started thinking about the parables in the bible about soil, specifically the one that says
“Other seed fell among thorns. The thorns grew up and crowded out the plants.” in Mathew 13:7

This is what was happening on the hill, maybe not exactly thorns, but weeds were crowding out the plants. I’m more than half way done on this hill when all this started to resonate, so I took a picture – the bright green would be the weeds.
weeds
I’m studying Frances Chan’s ‘Crazy Love’ right now, it’s very challenging. In chapter four he says in reference to this scripture “…when the seed is spread among the thorns, it is received but soon suffocated by life’s worries, riches and pleasures.” And, might I add, busyness.

Anyone who knows me knows I am busy. I often hear “I know you’re so busy, but…” “I didn’t think you would respond because you’re so busy; I don’t know how you do everything you do….you’re so busy.”

I must admit these statements bother me, not because they aren’t true, but because inside I have this still small voice telling me the same thing … often; “you’re too busy”. But, I justify, ignore, manipulate and excuse that nagging feeling and thought.
I am too busy. I like to think I have a full life, the word ‘busy’ bugs me.

What I know the Lord was clearly showing me this day was that my busyness was crowding out my time with Him, just like the weeds are crowding the plants.

I am ‘with Him’ all day, thinking and talking to Him but being with Him? In the quiet time that I so desperately need?

If I’m completely honest, the answer is no, it is crowded out. I’ve allowed it, not purposely, but like the weed, it starts small then gets out of control.

For me, I have to turn off the noise, shut off the phone or at least the data & internet to just sit in His presence, journal my thoughts, read His word, listen and pray – those days had become slim.

My quiet time comes in spurts but not in the way it should be when you are in relationship with The One you love. If I treated my husband, Jim, the same (and I have), we would not have much of a marriage.

I am overwhelmed with God’s love and how He reminded me spending time with Him is never a waste of my time, even when I’m weeding.

What about you, what is crowding out your time?

Protected: The Stone In My Pocket

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My Husband and Grandson

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Twins!

Why is it so hard to ‘Let Go’?

Reflecting on the weekend I spent with my daughter Danielle in Colorado and how much I admire her for the bravery she’s shown. She made the decision to move there this year to start a new life and j???????????????????????????ob with Southwest Airlines.

I wish I could say that I supported that decision the whole time in was in the process, but I didn’t. I didn’t want her to move so far away to an unknown place from me with unknown people in her life. I was in denial, I didn’t care to know much about it and frankly avoided most conversations.

The year 2014 has brought on so much change for my family, for me. Every single one of us has moved, all 5 of Jim and I’s children AND Jim and I! What are the chances of that?  New jobs, new locations, graduation, kids in college, new friends, conflict and so much more.

Change has been the theme for my family this year.
Change brings anxiety in me, some of it didn’t bother me much, but some really overwhelmed me.

What I’ve learned AGAIN is I want control. If I feel like I’m losing control I feel angry and start thinking of how to stop the thing I don’t like.  Manipulation? Such an ugly word.   It’s confusing because I just want to protect them, I realize it’s fear and what people think that drive me.

Recently the Lord spoke to me about this, with tears down my face I recited the words during Worship “Let all the other names fade away, Jesus take your place” [Wide As The Sky – Matt Redman] I felt like I had a teleprompter going across my mind with my girls names over and over.

How many times do I give them to you Lord only to take them back again and again? I proclaim how very much I trust you in my life, I proclaim how you’ve provided for us, you’ve been my companion, my friend, my Lord, my Provider… BUT here I am in this place again. I could almost hear the Lord saying to me “Do you REALLY trust me Debbie?”

Ugh.. obviously no, as I try to control and manipulate to keep my children near me I realize all I do is get in God’s way and the plan He surely has for each of them. ‘Letting go’ is what they call it, I might as well call it Control.  This season of life has completely changed my prayer life; my fears screaming in my ear, my God calming the storm inside… “What time I am afraid, I will trust”

In the past there are many area’s in my life I tried to control as I professed Christ. Only to surly demonstrate that I didn’t really live what I believed. Hypocrite comes to mind, on so many levels. It grieves me knowing that my actions brought contempt to so many that knew me then and watch me now.  I’m so utterly sorry.

The Lord has taught me so much over the years, His Grace and Mercy overwhelm me as I think on the past and let go of control in the present. I pray that going forward my words and actions always reflect that I truly live what I believe in all areas, including letting go of control and trusting God with my girls.

I continue to pray that any damage I caused to The Name of My Savior, Friend, Prince of Peace and Lord, Jesus Christ be blotted out, redeemed and healed for His Glory.

What names run across your mental teleprompter?

Use It or Loose It

“When we have become complacent the bible calls it ‘lukewarm’ our spiritual lives begin to have atrophy set in”

jimring

This is something I wrote a while back, after my surgery.  Hoping you find it insightful.

ATRO-PHY:  A wasting away through lack of nutrition or use; emaciation.  Also to waste away or to cause to waste away.  Atrophic, atrophied..stress-ball-carpal-tunnel-physical-therapy

This morning as I removed my arm out of the sling, I couldn’t believe it.  In less than three days there was a visible difference in my left arm compared to my right arm.  This is called “atrophy”.  My muscles are already starting to decompose for lack of use in just three days.

My arm was drawn to my side like I still had the sling on and it was smaller and kind of sickly looking.   I couldn’t believe it.  I had to show my wife.  She could see the difference too and was shocked how soon this was beginning to take place.

Then she said the magic words…”I wonder if…

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“It Is Finished” The Gospel According to Two Criminals

The insight here is incredible, It has helped me to understand better it isn’t about anything I can do for myself, it’s all in what Jesus did for me… It really is finished!

jimring

indexLuke 23:32-43

All four gospels give an account of the crucifixion of Jesus, but I think Luke gives the clearest one.

The gospel is summed up in “what we couldn’t do for ourselves, in our own strength, by our own works; Jesus did for us.”

I believe the two criminals that were crucified with Jesus sums up what we believe about the gospel and what we do with it.

We see in scripture that one criminal was crucified on His left side and one on His right side.  Scripture doesn’t say  which one was which, but for the sake of identification let’s call criminal number one, the one on His left.

In Matthew and Mark we see both men being crucified with Jesus and mocking Him, but one had a change of heart as recorded in Luke 23.

In Luke 23:39 it says “Then one of the criminals (number one)…

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Why you get so frustrated…

I journal a lot, it is how my relationship with Christ has grown.  Writing for me is therapy, finding Christ in the midst of my emotions, my quiet time.

(side note, this is not the follow-up blog to “Failing in Love”)

My  journal entry yesterday started off with “Lord, I’ve really blown it” I was so frustrated with myself.  I felt I was in the middle of something that I had to get off my chest,  I just let it all fly out of my mouth. SAD_by_glendali_1080946_sad_silhouette

can’t.take.it.back

Just the DAY before, I heard Pastor Brenda’s amazing message at Cafe’ Chat about how a soft answer turns away wrath. 

Oh yes…true.story.  Epic fail.

I could feel this terrible bubbling up frustration inside of me, this anger just overcoming my thoughts.

It is SO easy for me to blame, to say this or that person is the cause of the anger and/or frustration inside of me.  Maybe it is for you too. 

And maybe like me, you don’t recognize it at first?

“If so and so would do this or that, if I had a better job, if I got the raise I deserve, if he would just ____________, if she wouldn’t have _____________, if my _______________ ” If, If IF, IF!!!

Fill in your blank. 

We all have them, something out there that if it would just line up everything would finally just be OK already!  Sheesh!

I knew I needed to spend time with Jesus, I needed to hear His voice to help me understand what in the world this was.

As I journaled I asked Him to please show me where I was off, what was going on inside of me that was causing all the anger.

I desired the truth, the root of the bitterness – in me. Not in the situation, but in me. 

On my journal page I wrote “EXPECTATION is coming to my mind right now” 

I also wrote about how the night before as I was thinking of when Jim and I were getting so serious in our dating relationship, I was so scared. Isaiah 41:10 is the word the Lord used to help me over that fear.  If you look this up I urge you to also look up the definition of dismayed,, it changed everything for me!

I turn to my devotional after pouring my heart out to the Lord.. Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.  I can’t even describe to you how Jesus has used this little book to speak to my heart.

It starts off “HOLD MY HAND – AND TRUST”  As I finished reading it I went to the scripture references, want to guess the first one?

Isaiah 41:10…AGAIN!

I about fell off my chair, tears streaming down my face as Jesus quietly spoke to my heart …..

“I am here, don’t be afraid”

I then look up the other scripture reference with anticipation setting in…

undone is the only word that I can think of to describe my heart as I read..

Psalm 62:5 & 6.

Right from my journal

Right from my journal

If you can’t read my oh so neat writing,  it says..

My soul waits silently for God alone, for my EXPECTATION is from Him.  He ONLY is my rock and my Salvation, HE IS my defense, I SHALL NOT BE MOVED.

Expectation? Seriously?

tears, stunned, awed, overwhelmed with wonder and gratitude.

He is such a loving personal God, He knows your detail and wants to talk to you!  I knew immediately where the frustration and anger were coming from.

He showed me, I felt it, I heard Him, I know.

I let an attitude of expectation in people drive my emotions….Instead of Jesus.

After I got myself together, praising and thanking Him for such a quick answer, I went on an expedition of the word expectation.

There are many in the dictionary, my favorite is:  An expectant mental attitude;  a high pitch of expectation.  I had a mental attitude all right.

I looked up every scripture I could find with it, here are a few:  Romans 8:19, Proverbs 23:18, Phil 1:20

As you look at these you will see there isn’t any mention of putting hope in the expectations of people or situations, only in Christ.

So what does this mean?  Does my expectation in Christ mean that I expect Him to answer all my prayers and make people just do what I expect?

Oh goodness, that just sounds terrible.  Really, I’m not that bad… am I?   Ugh.

This has been a hard week, seeing yourself in light of Scripture isn’t easy.  Following Christ isn’t for the faint at heart.

____________, (insert your name)
Do not be afraid, loose courage or dread what is coming, be silent in Me and Me alone, your Expectation and Hope. (Isaiah 41:10 & Psalm 62:5)

What do you put your expectation in?  Your marriage, children, job or future?

When I had finished this precious time with Jesus, my heart was in a new place, a deep understanding.   I’m learning that if I put my expectations in  anything but Christ, I will be frustrated, disappointed, hurt, angry and bitter.

I’m choosing to trust that He knows all of what is to come and He will give me the truth and grace to face tomorrow without putting my hope and expectation in or on people.

How about you?


Failing in Love

From the time I was a little girl I wanted a  boyfriend.  I grew up on a ‘mini’ farm, a Tom Boy in every way.  I Loved my horses more than anything, riding was my passion.Digital Image

I remember a boy named Joey in the 5th grade who I had the biggest crush on.  He sat beside me one time on the school bus & I was thrilled.  My heart beat so hard, hands so sweaty, I was sure he shared my little crush.

This was my chance I thought,  I slowly place my hand on his knee.. ever so smooth. Yea right!    This was the boldest thing I had ever done, I can’t even believe I actually did it –  but  was sure he shared my feelings, I mean he chose to sit beside me!

In my heart  I really thought  he would grab my hand and we would be boyfriend and girlfriend. He proceeded to look at me and I at him… and said…

“Are you afraid I’m going to fall off the seat or something?”

M.O.R.T.I.F.I.E.D  isn’t even close to how I felt, totally embarrassed.   I removed my hand and stared out the window until I could get off that bus.

longest.ride.ever!

From that memory on, relationships have been painful for me.

Moving into Jr. High I was always the 1st on  the bus after school.  The bell would ring and we would all go to our lockers, say our good-bye’s and get on the bus.  As I would wait I watched all the guys walking the girls to their buses and giving them a kiss good-bye.  I remember  stalling after the bell rang so I wouldn’t be the first one on, maybe then I wouldn’t look like the lonely-girl.

I always wonder why I wasn’t good enough to be someone’s girlfriend.  Or the guys that were interested were not the one’s you would ever pick to date…ever.

I was convinced something was wrong with me

It wasn’t until High School when my parents divorced and we moved to a new school  that I started in my first relationship.  I was the ‘new’ girl and was making friends.   It felt great to have this fresh start.

Over time this first High School relationship failed and after that  there was a succession of many more failed relationships, if you can even call them that.  Looking for love in all the wrong places certainly rang true in my life, over and over.

I wonder if you too can relate to this missing place in your heart that ache’s to be filled?

  • You know it’s there but can’t understand why?
  • What’s wrong with me?
  • Why do I always think I have to have a boyfriend?
  • Will I ever be loved the way I think it’s suppose to be?
  • Is there really such a thing as a soul mate and if so how will I ever find him?

I understand you sweet sister, I truly understand.

Or maybe your story isn’t about a bunch of failed relationships, but just 1.   Or maybe in your life you’ve never had one, or maybe you did and he left you for someone else.  Maybe you are in a great marriage, but still feel something is missing.  Whatever your relationship story is, there is an answer to fill the ache of your heart.

After 16 years of marriage and three beautiful daughters, we divorced.   It was painful and ugly and I am so very sorry for the part I played,  I am equally grateful for what God taught me through it.

I found myself ‘back in the saddle again’, searching to fill that ache with a relationship.  During my marriage I did make the decision to accept Christ into my life; I  was learning about Him and raising our girls in the church.

I would learn about God through the papers they would bring home from their Sunday School classes.   I was an adult woman learning on an elementary level the stories of God and it was AMAZING!

I was too embarrassed to let anyone know I didn’t know these stories.  What a gift He gave me through my girls.

It wasn’t until I got to the end of myself; through the demise of my marriage and other relationships that I started to understand I had issues.  I am a slow learner, clearly!  Through counseling I learned I was codependent and an enabler.  Two things I didn’t know anything about even though I was a classic example of them.

As a newly single person I was trying to understand what God’s views were on dating.  What did He say about how He created men and women, marriage and sex?   And what about dating after marriage and children?    I clearly was not healthy in this area and wanted to know the truth, not everyone’s opinion but God’s way, He is Truth.

In order for change to occur the fear of staying the same has to be greater than the fear of change”

In this quest for truth Jesus started to become my friend.  I would journal my heart to Him, read His word, get in bible studies, read books and listen to messages all about dating, relationships, men and women.

Jesus was teaching me that He is and was the relationship I had searched for all my life, in every way  – not just on Sunday’s or Wednesdays but in a personal way.

He loved and accepted me for who I was, not what I thought I should or needed to be.  For the 1st time in my life I was becoming a whole person all by myself.  A beautiful relationship….with Jesus.

I’m not talking about religion.

This relationship has revolutionized my life so much that I can’t stop trying to help women understand it in their own lives.

  • Do  you think that it is only for ‘religious’ people?
  • Do you think you have to ‘clean up your act’ before you can get there or wait for a better time?
  • Or maybe you’ve made so many mistakes and bad choices that you are sure He is done with you or you lost your chance?
  • It’s for other people, those people who know the bible?

Oh dear sister – please know this is right where I was.   He taught me that He desires you right where you are,  I had habits and life style choices that were not Godly in any way.   And still, there He was wooing me to Himself.

right.where.I.was.  period.

And now, here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to start all over again.I’m taking her back out into the wilderness where we had our first date, and I’ll court her. I’ll give her bouquets of roses.  I’ll turn Heartbreak Valley into Acres of Hope.  She’ll respond like she did as a young girl   Hosea 2:14 

He doesn’t want you to control you or have you act like you have it all together, or try so hard to get it right.  He simply wants to love you right where you are, just the way you are.

It’s not based on if you are fat, skinny, tall, short, rich, poor, religious, smart, dumb, educated, tan, beautiful or anything else.

it.is.just.your.heart.

Do you feel that tug in your heart?  That is Jesus – He desires you to respond to that tug.  He is such a gentleman, He won’t force Himself on you.  There are no strings in this relationship.

 Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.  Revelation 3:20

Won’t you open the door, send a friend request? 

The relationship you are desiring is in Jesus and maybe like me you don’t even know it…

Unlike my first crush on the school bus.. He not only wants to hold your hand, He wants to hold your heart.

 You Are More, you’ve been re-made: Video

Please let me know your thoughts below and watch for the next blog about God’s provision!

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