Saturday, December 31, 2011

Bring on 2012!!

I have not been the best at making and keeping new year's resolutions in the past and I don't know that I want to call this list resolutions but rather, goals. I think everyone should have a list of goals that they would like to accomplish in a day, week, year, or lifetime. It helps me stay focused on what things are important. So, without further ado, here is my list of goals for 2012:

*To blog at least 3 times a week. I love my blog and I love to do blog posts but I just haven't found the time to do it consistently. I plan on setting time aside to do this. It serves several purposes for me. It is a journal of sorts so I can go back and see what I posted in the past. It is a way for those that don't live near me to keep up....as long as I keep up! :) I would like to eventually get in with BlogHer or some site like that to possibly blog for money. I love to write...and my thoughts are the easiest things to write! :) And, the cyber world is a great place to connect with other moms and women.

*To lose baby weight and keep it off. I lost a ton of weight before I got pregnant with Hannah. I would love to get it back off. My goal for this is by the summer.

*To keep my frivolous spending to a minimum. I spend so much money on things we do not need. I can say, without question, that most of the money I spend is on my kids. I do splurge on expensive monogrammed kids clothes. Brice and I had a great conversation on finances and spending today and I have a new attitude about it.

*To read my Bible more often and start a daily devotion with my girls. I want them to know what is important in life - most important - their relationship with Christ.

*I would like to read a little everyday. I love to read and I just don't set aside any time to do it. I got two new books for Christmas and I would like to finish them and some more!

*To send birthday cards to all of my friends. In accordance with the frivilous spending goal from earlier, I spend A LOT of money on friends for birthdays. My goal this year is to only do cards but do them for as many people as possible and gifts for only my closest friends.

For now, those are my goals. I hope to accomplish all of these by the end of 2012!

Happy New Year!


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Friday, December 30, 2011

Rock A Bye Baby!

This is a sleep post. About babies and sleep. More specifically, about MY baby and sleep! :)


I want to start off by saying the reason for this post is two-fold. First of all, if we decide to have another baby, I want to remember what I did to get Hannah to sleep! The second reason is because so many people have asked me what I do to get her to sleep and I hope to help someone. I also want to say that it might not work for everyone. It is simply what we do. It is what I have done with all three of my kids and it works for us!

When Hannah was first born, the first few weeks were TORTURE!!! She HATED to be swaddled so I didn't swaddle her. She would sleep all day long and be awake all night...you know the brand new baby routine. Hannah would wake up as soon as you laid her down. There were several nights when she would be awake for several hour stretches. It seemed like I fed her all night long and I was up some nights from 12-5 or 6. It was just awful!

We finally went to the pediatrician and she gave us some reflux meds. That same night I decided that part of what was waking her was her startle reflex so I swaddled her. It was like a brand new baby. Oh, we also got a wedge for the bed! She slept in 3 hour increments and went right back to sleep!! WAHOO!!! She did that for about 2 weeks with each stretch seeming to be longer and longer. At about 5 or 6 weeks she was sleeping 6 and 7 hours at a time. The first time she slept "through the night" was from about 9:30-5:00! It was AWESOME!! She did it consistently after that and now sleeps from 8:30/9:30-5:00 and sometimes as late as 7:30. She also usually goes right back to sleep after her early morning feeding which is nice. I will blog about what we do and our routine in a second but first...

WE HAVE SERIOUS DAYTIME SLEEPING ISSUES!!! Serious! Hannah is a super fussy baby in general. She is getting better but there are times when she just screams and I have no idea why. I do feel like I am starting to "know" her better and can tell the difference between when she is in pain with tummy troubles or sleepy or hungry. Her sleepy cry and hungry cry are very similar but I have realized that she is not hungry all of the time but she is sleepy a lot of the time when she is crying hysterically. During the day, we are in survival mode. She might get a good 2 hour stretch in her bed at some point during the day and she might not. I do have to swaddle her in the bed though or she will not stay asleep. She recently started liking her swing and will fuss herself to sleep in it. She likes movement and to be bounced and she will almost always fall asleep in the car after what seems like an eternity of screaming (she hates the car seat but that's another post for another day)!! So...I don't feel like I can complain too much because she sleeps so great at night but sometimes our days are filled with screaming and tears and frustration!

Okay, I mentioned that the first few weeks were rough and I will admit, we survived...that's what our "routine" was. I will tell you that we co-slept (something that scares the tarnation out of me), we slept in the recliner with me holding her, we fell asleep nursing in her room...we slept just about in all kinds of situations. Life was rough...I will not lie. But, after she got the hand of it and we got things straightened out, we were on a roll. :)

I try my hardest to keep Hannah awake after 7:00 PM. Sometimes that is extremely hard because of her poor sleeping habits during the day but I only let her sleep for maybe 30 minutes if she does sleep after 7:00. During the day, I wake her if she is asleep after 3 hours to eat. We are on a 3 hour eating schedule during the day. Sometimes I feed her a little early but I try to wait until at least 2 1/2 hours. She is doing pretty good on this schedule. I will take tonight for an example for you. It's been a rough sleeping day. She ate at 6:30 PM. I wanted her to take a nap but she didn't. I put her in the swing and she played for about 30 minutes and then started screaming. From 7:00 - 8:00 I bounced her, fought the pacifier with her, bounced her on my knee, etc...she was fussy off and on. Around 8:15, I took her upstairs to get ready for night time routine. I got her bath ready and we took a bath. She LOVES taking a bath!!! She has really bad eczema and I think it soothes her skin. After her bath, I took her to the changing table. At this point, the lamp is on, the sound machine is on, and the radio is playing soft music. I have the door closed and we talk quietly. She coos at me for a little bit and I rub lotion on her arms, legs, and belly. Then I put on her eczema cream on her arms, legs, and face. I get her dressed and then turn off the light. I do keep the little blue light on the sound machine on because I need it to see her mouth. :) We sit in the glider and I nurse her (this works for bottle feeding too). I usually feed her on both sides, then swaddle her, then nurse her again to calm her down (she doesn't love being swaddled), and then put her in her bed. I TRY to put her down awake but sometimes she is already asleep. She has learned how to go to sleep on her own though...this is a key thing! If babies can learn to soothe themselves to sleep, they will sleep better through the night because they don't need you to do it for them! :) I put her down, kiss her cheek and leave the room. If she cries a little, I monitor it but mostly let her just go to sleep. Tonight she went to sleep at 9:00 and we will see when she wakes up. Last night she went to sleep at 8:30 and woke up at 7:00! Oh, and we use swaddle blankets from Swaddle Me. I just bought a Woombie and I will see if that works...hoping it will be easier.

She is in her crib, not a bassinet. I just feel like she and I both sleep better when she is in there. We have a monitor that has a movement sensor but with the wedge it won't pick up her breathing so I can't use it right now. She also sleeps with the door closed. All of my kids have since birth and now the older ones don't want the door open at night.

That's what we do in a nutshell. Many could/would and do criticize many aspects of it but my babies have all slept through the night around 7-8 weeks. I, by no means, am an expert...just a mommy who wants to encourage and help other mommies that might need it! :)




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Monday, November 21, 2011

A Little Fun!!

Hi!! I will update about family soon but I wanted to do this for fun. I saw this on Abbe's blog and thought it would be fun!!

A. Age: 30...almost 31
B. Bed size: queen, with all these kids i would love a king. it gets cramped on saturday mornings
C. Chore that you hate: putting away clothes
D. Dogs: Libby the shih-tzu
E. Essential start to your day: checking all social media on my phone
F. Favorite color: purple
G. Gold or Silver: silver
H. Height: 5' 4
I. Instruments you play: my ipod
J. Job title: medical social worker
K. Kids: Rachel Mackenzie, Lauren Elizabeth, and Hannah Grace
L. Live: texas
M. Mother’s name: shawn...yeah, apparently our family has a thing for girls with boy names
N. Nick names: riri, rik, rikkles
O. Overnight hospital stays: only to have babies...and it was a long stay!!!
P. Pet peeves: bad drivers, loud talkers, talking loud on the phone during a meeting
Q. Quote from a movie: "i beg your pardon but i've never heard of a beautiful witch before"
R. Right or left handed: right
S. Siblings: Michael, Jimmy, William, and Bryan. Brannan - brother-in-law
T. Truth or Dare: dare
U. Ultimate Vacation: Hawaii....or Disney
V. Vegetable you hate: hominy, so gross in taste and texture
W. What makes you run late: kids, sleepimg, tv, talking
X. X-Rays you’ve had: teeth, ankle, CT on head, multiple sonos on liver and for babies
Y. Yummy food that you make: cheesecake, taco soup
Z. Zoo animal: giraffe


go ahead, fill it out too. and let me know you did!
i also love reading others' surveys.

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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Hannah Grace

Welcome to the world, Hannah Grace!!

My blood pressure did pretty well this pregnancy until about 36 weeks and it started going up and down pretty inconsistently. On Saturday, October 15, I went to labor and delivery for a blood pressure check to see how things were because I had been having some consistent high readings. They ended up sending me home with instructions to follow up with my doctor a little earlier than I had planned that week (Thursday). I was scheduled for induction on Friday, October 21.

I went to the doctor on Tuesday afternoon and my blood pressure was really really high! I think the lowest reading was 158/106. I was having some MAJOR pitting edema and did have protein in my urine as well as some visual disturbances. To the hospital I went. I was a bit nervous because I was only 37 weeks along and it wasn't when I had scheduled. Needless to say, God had everything all worked out!

I was at the hospital for awhile and my BP did go back down some but I was contracting regularly. I was also dilated to a 3 with some effacement. I ended up getting admitted to the hospital for what I thought was going to be antepartum until the 21st. The nurse got me in a room and the lab came to draw blood and the nurse came back in and said, "Change of plans. We are going to have a baby now."

I have to say, I was a little alarmed. I wasn't quite sure if something changed or what the deal was but the nurse explained with my history, regular contractions and a term baby, they didn't want to take any chances. I labored by myself for a little while and then pitocin was started.

There were several things that were going through my mind...wow, 37 weeks, I really hope that the baby is okay. I was very hungry - I hadn't eaten since about 1:00 the previous afternoon. I was VERY tired and I kept thinking about how tired I was going to be by the time the baby was born (whenever that would be).

I also want to point out something else really quick. I was SUPER nervous about having the baby that day because of who the doctor was. I knew I would be okay but if I had to choose, I would not have chosen her. After I got to the hospital I was BEYOND relieved to know that it was a different doctor on call that evening. It was a doctor that only works about once a month in the evening. I ADORE her!! It absolutely was a "God thing" that she was there. If I couldn't have my doctor deliver, I could not have hand picked another doctor who would have been more perfect!

I labored for awhile and dilated to about a 4. I decided about 2:00 that I would go ahead and get my epidural to see if I could get a little sleep before having to push. I got the epidural and it was a WONDERFUL experience. The best epidural experience I have ever had. I still didn't dilate much more and the doctor came to break my water. That was about 3:00. She said I had a lot of amniotic fluid. At about 4:00, the nurse checked me and I went from a 4-7-complete within about 1 1/2 hours! I also started feeling some pain with contractions so I pushed my epidural pump. I was SUPER numb when I started pushing. I was afraid it would affect my ability to push baby out. Not the case.

Since my first birth, I really kind of dread having to push. I pushed with Rachel for 2 1/2 hours and I knew that once you start, you can't stop. Lauren I pushed for about 1 1/2 hours. I started pushing and did not feel like I was making much progress because I couldn't feel anything. The baby DID NOT like me pushing and her heartrate kept diving. I had to wear oxygen for a little bit. After 5 contractions and pushing for 10 minutes, the nurse yelled for me to stop! The head was coming out and we didn't have a doctor!!! The nurse held the baby's head in and we waited for the doctor...to say it was awkward was an understatement. The doctor came in and at 4:30 in the morning, Hannah Grace Hester made her entrance. She weighed 8 pounds, 5 ounces and was 19 1/2 inches long. She did have a hard time breathing at first and the NICU team had to come and suction her. They said she was okay. She had apgars of 8/9 which is what all 3 of my children had. She was perfect and had HUGE cheeks!!

She is now 2 1/2 weeks old and is doing well. She is breastfeeding like a champ and sleeps okay. We had newborn pictures taken by a friend from church and they turned out great. Here she is at 10 days old!








One last thought...I know many of you have heard me say that I am finished having babies but now that I am not pregnant anymore, I just can't imagine NOT doing it again. So, will there be a #4? Not for awhile but I am not ruling it out. :P



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Friday, October 7, 2011

I'm Still Pregnant!!

It's been awhile, I know! I am almost 36 weeks pregnant and I am not in the hospital!!! Miracle? I think so! My blood pressure has been good this time and other than having elephant feet and hands, I am feeling pretty good! My legs and feet are so swollen they are shiny and tight feeling. :(

I will have a sonogram next Thursday to see how big this baby is and then plan on induction for October 21. My doctor is on call that day and I will be almost 38 weeks pregnant! I am so excited to meet this new one. Now...if I could just get everything ready! :)

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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering

September 11, 2001

I was a junior in college in Conway, Arkansas at Central Baptist College. I lived in the dorm. I remember waking up and walking down the stairs of the dorm to go to class. When I got to the bottom of the stairs I saw a bunch of people watching the TV and someone said, "A plane crashed into the World Trade Center." I think my response was something like, "Oh" and I continued on to my class.

As the day went on, I quickly started to understand the true impact of that day and what was happening. I distinctly remember having a world history class that morning where we just sat an watched the TV and the room was silent.

I don't remember much about that day. I know there were students who were upset and calling home. I remember some people knew people in New York or thought they had family close to there. I really don't remember anymore.

Since that day, I have read countless stories and looked at heartbreaking pictures. I think the most impactful thing I read was about Flight 93. I read the book "Let's Roll" and loved it! I watched Dateline on Friday night and just bawled as I listened to the widows having to tell their children that their daddy wasn't coming home. That, unlike, 2001, hits so much closer to home. Now that I have a husband and two little girls, I just can't imagine how difficult it would be to tell my girls that they would never see their daddy again and then explain what happened. I am thankful to a merciful God that I don't have to.

Here is a picture of God's grace in my life!


Many things came to mind this morning as I we worshipped a God that is present today and was also present that day 10 years ago in New York. God allows tragedies in our lives and, in fact, is responsible for all things in the universe, both good and bad. God gives and He takes away. Do we understand it? No. I don't believe that we are meant to. What I do know is that God has a plan - one perfect and pleasing will that He will fulfill. He was on His throne on September 11, 2001 and He is still seated on His throne today, September 11, 2011.

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Friday, July 29, 2011

Friendships

It seems as though I have blogged about this before...maybe not...if I haven't, I should have a long time ago! I have had many friends over the years...chill out, I am not trying to brag but really...who hasn't had quite a few friends over a 30-year life span!? Some of my friends have been at the right place at the right time and others have been incredibly monumental in my life. One of the biggest issues that I have had is being the kind of friend that I have needed/wanted and not totally stinking at being a friend. This is certainly not meant to be a pity party but there are so many things that have contributed to my "not so great" ability to be a good friend. See, I have struggled with so many things - rejection, popularity, self-worth, envy, jealousy, insecurity, and probably biggest obstacle of all - brokenness.

I went to a Beth Moore conference back in April and she spoke a lot about relationships. It really had me thinking a great deal about my life and the friends that have come into my path. I have struggled from a very early age with being very clingy to those that I called my dearest friends. I am certain looking back that it was because when I was a child everyone in my life had betrayed and left me. I had no stability at home and I longed and craved for attention as well as someone to just love me. I didn't know that true love did not need to be earned. I was always doing things to make sure someone liked me or that I would still belong. This caused so much heartache for me, because as we all know, people move and change, and circumstances pull us away sometimes from those we love the most. These type of normal life changes were utterly devastating to me! I could barely function after someone (sometimes me) moved. It was crippling! This became a big issue for me as I grew up. I was so clingy and possessive that I am sure that I smothered those I was closest to.

As I got older, my issue started becoming a little worse when I would envy others and want what they had...physically, intellectually, and socially. I had a friend in college who I loved dearly and wanted her to love me as much. Everyone loved her and I wanted that. It was very unhealthy and I believe that it was almost to the extreme of idolatry. I would do things to make her like me. When things with our friendship were going smoothly, I felt loved and on top of the world. When we were on rocky ground or something wasn't going just as I wanted, I was down in the dumps and almost depressed. I would do virtually anything to make things right....sadly, that friendship all but ended a couple of years ago.

There is a good ending to my story...I don't want this post to be utterly depressing. That friend from college has sense gotten back in touch with me and we had decided that brokenness (on both of our parts) contributed a great deal to the "issues" in our relationship. I could not tell you how incredibly grateful and thrilled I am that we have reconnected. Although things might not always be the way they once were, I know that God was at the center of the repair of this friendship. My heart is full in that area.

I still have a few friends who I consider to be my best friends. I have friends who fall into different categories, if you will. I have 3 ladies who are certainly my best friends - those that I can talk to about ANYTHING. I have encouragers who I will call upon when I need prayer or to talk - these are definitely a select few people. Over the years I would like to think that I have matured in all areas of my life including the area of friendship. I think recognizing that I have had struggles in this area and attempting to identify the root of those struggles is a giant leap in asking God to refine me. It isn't fun but it is so worth it! I have friends that I will cherish for a lifetime and have had some precious friendships repaired. I am forever grateful!






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Blog Design Giveaway!

I have searched and searched before for the perfect blog design. I always end up doing it myself and am not terribly satisfied with the outcome. A "friend" of mine in the blogger, Twitter world is doing a great giveaway on her blog. Go to her website here and enter!!! I cannot wait to see who wins!! I wanna win!!! :)


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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Day In the Life - Wednesday

There are several people doing these blog posts where you start one day and blog for a week simply about your day...details about it. I was hesitant to do this because my days consist of working but maybe someone would want to read what I did all day....

My day started this morning like it does most mornings with the alarm going off at 6:00 am. Actually, it starts going off at about 5:15 but my husband and I both like the snooze button. When the alarm goes off at 6:00, every morning I check my phone - texts, emails, Twitter, and facebook (my news)! :) I get a shower, get ready (makeup and dry my hair...yep, EVERY DAY). I went downstairs to try to figure out what to wear from the laundry room. Today it was the same black maternity pants that I wear about 3 days out of the week. I really need to get some more dress pants! I put my clothes in the dryer to "iron" them and get the girls' lunches ready. I make their lunches, fill up sippy cups for the car, get their vitamins out o n the counter, and this morning got them packages of mini muffins to eat in the car. I got my clothes out of the dryer and headed back upstairs.

I got dressed and completely ready then went to wake up the girls...this is consistently one of the most frustrating part of my day. I try to go in and be cheerful and give kisses, etc. Now that they are sharing a room, they both wake up at the same time. This morning, they both woke up in great moods, yay! Both of my children are GREAT sleepers...go to sleep around 8:00 and get up when I wake them up at 7:20...the weekend they usually sleep until 9:00. I fight with the girls for about 20 minutes getting them dressed and their hair fixed then we headed downstairs. They grabbed their drinks, gummies (vitamins), and breakfast and we all head for the car careful to not let the dog out. (OH, by the way, Brice is already gone when I get the girls up...he works about an hour away WITHOUT traffic).

We arrived at school (daycare) at about 8:05 and I dropped them off. They are great - they go right in and I don't have any problems. Then it was time for my drive to work. It is almost my quiet personal time for the day. Sometimes I listen to radio sermons from local preachers but this morning, I listened to my CD I made of worship songs from my iPod.

I got to work a little late - about 8:45. We have to park in this lot across the street from the hospital. I hate walking over the skybridge (too many stairs) so I played Frogger and made it across the street. I got into the office and started my morning routine. I printed my census of patients on my floors (basically just a list of who is there). Then I print out all of the social work consults for the day for my patients. I organize myself, say hello to my co-workers and get ready for the day.

This morning I started out a conversation with a representative from one of the facilities that we refer our patients to. She is a friend and was upset so I let her vent/talk. Then I went to my meeting at 10:00 on my orthopedic/neuroscience floor. This meeting is with the physical therapist, charge nurse, myself, and my case manager. It is called a huddle. We talk about the discharge plans/needs of all of the patients on my floor. Immediately after that meeting I headed to my telemetry (patients who need monitoring) floor. I cover 10 of the patients on this 20 bed floor. It is the same kind of meeting as my other floor. This morning, in the middle of the 2nd meeting, I got a page to the ER. I also cover the ER. So I headed down there after my 2nd meeting.

I actually stopped by the cafeteria first because it was now 11:15 or so and I hadn't had anything to eat yet! I grabbed a Dr. Pepper and some chips (healthy I know). I went to the ER to talk to a lady who had come in and said she couldn't afford her medications. To make a long story short, I did not assist her because #1. she is a frequent flyer to our hospital and non-compliant and #2. she was going to be admitted anyway. Anyway, I had conversations with a couple of doctors and then went back upstairs.

Back in my office...it's about noon. I had to follow up from a patient that was in the ER last night that said he couldn't afford one of his medications. I called to get the price of the medication to three different pharmacies. Just FYI, the cost of the this medication was $138! Anyway, got that filled and called him. After that was done and documented, it was time to go eat lunch. My co-workers and I went to the cafeteria and ate. I had a salad and vegetable soup.

After lunch I was incredibly busy. I don't know what order they were in but I visited with a lady in the ER about going to a nursing home, I worked with the ER case manager to prevent a couple of admissions, and saw patients with the following ailments: car accident with back injury, 2 or 3 elective back surgeries (all which needed rehab placement), a recent brain surgery patient, a recent stroke patient, and one man who was a tad confused and I can't remember what he needed or what was wrong with him. OH! I also explained all of the advanced directives. I went back to my office and sent about 6 referrals to different places (rehab facilities, nursing homes, etc) and documented on all of them.

I left work at about 5:20 and went to the daycare to pick up the kids. I called Brice on the way home and asked about dinner. He said nothing was thawed so I ordered pizza from my iPhone on the way home.

We arrived home at about 6:30, just in time for the pizza. We ate and the girls watched the Wiggles. We colored, did puzzles, and did watercolors with the girls and then while I posted a Bible study blog, Brice put Lauren to bed at about 8:00 and then Rachel at about 8:45. He has been upstairs since then and I have been doing my blog posts and washing clothes.

Tomorrow....much of the same...I told you...this is going to be boring!

That kind of made me more tired thinking about what I do all day....good thing the maids came and cleaned today! :)


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Saturday, May 21, 2011

God really began tugging at my heart about TRULY dealing with this issue in my life. I still did not feel like I could tell anyone that I considered "safe." I was so afraid that no one would love me. Being the people pleaser that I am, I could not deal with that. God had other plans.

The first time God really started speaking to me about dealing with my abortion was when Brice and I decided to go to a banquet at the local pregnancy resource center in Grand Prairie we had recently moved. It was called the Applauding Life Banquet. It is their annual fundraising banquet. I wasn't sure what it was all about before going. My point is I did not know that the speaker was going to be someone who used to perform abortions and was going to spend the entire evening talking about that!!! Can we say uncomfortable??? Not to mention, I was 6 months pregnant with Lauren. At the end of the banquet a lady got up and talked about wanting to start a post abortion ministry at the center. I left the banquet and told Brice I wanted to help with the ministry. He didn't say much. I didn't either after that.....

A Different Kind of Hope


So...at this point in my journey, we are now at the last part of April, first part of May 2010.

In the spring of 2010 the women of our church went to a ladies conference in Tyler, TX put on by the SBTC. It was great!!! It was a nice time of connecting with the women of our church because we hadn't really had anything like this in awhile but it was another knocking at my heart's door from God. At this conference we went to several break out sessions and a few of them were phenomenal but I felt such a connection with one of the speakers. Not only was she a GREAT Bible study teacher but there was just something else about her that I could not put my finger on that just drew me to her. Her name is Carrie Bond. After Carrie was finished with her teaching segment, she talked about a ministry that she was involved in called "Surrendering the Secret" which is a post abortion Bible study. I didn't know if I wanted to pass out or crawl under my chair. Neither one seemed like a good idea so I just sat there trying NOT to draw attention to myself. See, the difference with her is that she can't have children. Carrie has three beautiful adopted children but was never able to conceive her own yet she is ministering to women who have aborted their unborn children. Can I just tell you how much hope I felt at that very moment???

That was the 2nd time I felt God speaking to me about dealing with my abortion and this time it was a little stronger. I took Carrie's card that day and put it beside my computer with the intention of contacting her about the "Surrendering the Secret" ministry. It sat by my computer for weeks. Weeks turned into months and then God finally said enough.....

After months of looking at "Carrie Bond" on the little card beside my computer I never actually called her...or emailed or...or contacted her in any way.

On Sunday, August 15th, our interim pastor was out of town and our youth pastor preached the sermon that morning. The sermon title was "Turn Around." The basic concept was about God's redemptive power. That He forgives and restores us back to a place where we can continue serving him. This sermon CHANGED.MY.LIFE. I do not know another way to say it. I think after about 15 minutes into the sermon I began crying and by the time he was finished my entire body was trembling and I was weeping. I had ahold of Brice's hand and I didn't even need to say anything. He just knew.

At the end of the sermon Joel gave an illustration about a girl in our church (one of my best friends), Kaydi, who was serving in the youth group when she became pregnant premaritally. The story was so encouraging to me and I just knew....I just knew what God was calling me to do.

I knew that day that God was telling me that I had to follow Him...whatever that meant. I knew that I had to tell Him to take it all because I couldn't do it anymore! It was too much. This 3rd encounter with God was enough for me! I could not get away this time. Even if I had wanted to, I couldn't.

I went home and looked for Carrie's card by my computer...it was nowhere to be found! The enemy was already at work. So I Googled her! Yes, she gets a kick out of that!!! The best part....I FOUND HER!!!! That very night, I emailed her. Was I worried about rejection? You betcha! So.....in order to deal with that I will just tell you, my email to Carrie was not the nicest. I basically told her that if she never emailed me back I didn't care because she didn't know me and I didn't have anything to lose. Classy, I know but I could not handle rejection right off the bat. I think she emailed me within the hour and it was one of the most accepting emails that I have ever received and it was the beginning of what is now one of the closest friendships that I have ever had.

The best is yet to come!


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Friday, May 20, 2011

My Love

So I accepted Christ's forgiveness that day in college and really just kind of forgot about it again...never really dealing with the idea of abortion. I did, however, think that I needed to go and tell a bunch of people about it. That didn't work out so well. One girl asked me, "Why did you just tell me that?' That was a good question because I don't know. And I do believe that me telling a really really close friend of mine ultimately cost me our friendship a few years down the road. The timing was not right....it was not God's timing...it was mine.

I do feel like I should tell you about my experience when I told my (now) husband. I had to tell him because I could not let him marry me without him knowing my "secret." I truly felt like I owed that to him. One night in my apartment I cried and cried I think for about an hour before I told him. He looked at me in my eyes and held my face in his hands as tears streamed down my face and he said, "Is that all?" Not to minimize what I was telling him but only saying that it did not matter to him what I had done, he loved me anyway. That was Christ's love portrayed in human flesh for the first time to me and it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I loved him more that day than I had ever loved anyone. It was the hardest thing I had ever had to tell anyone. You see, Brice and I grew up VERY differently. He came from a very Christian home where his parents have been married only to each other for many years and they all went to church every time the doors were opened. He had barely dated anyone much less had a sexual relationship. I was broken but he loved me anyway. And I loved (and still do) him!

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

What No One Tells You

So, there are so many things that people don't tell you about having an abortion. What they do tell you is that it is easy, you can just forget about it, no one ever has to know, and after it is over, you never have to deal with it again. Well, ALL OF THOSE THINGS ARE LIES!!!! I lived those lies for about two years. The details in this next post are kind of sketchy because I cannot remember the exact time frames and the actual details about what happened that day are a little blurry too but I will tell you what I remember....

After the abortion, I did what I was supposed to do...I forgot...or at least I tried to. It came up everywhere I turned, at church, on the radio, on the TV - EVERYWHERE! But I ignored it as best I could...not dealing with it. Until ONE DAY....I went to college at Central Baptist College in Conway, Arkansas. In my career plan and the path I chose, I had to take a Human Growth and Development course. We sat down one day and opened the book to start talking about the different stages of fetal development and I LOST IT!! I am talking broke out in a cold sweat! I thought I was going to pass smooth out.

I knew that when I had my abortion that I was about 8 weeks along. What I did not know was that at 8 weeks gestation that my baby had a good strong heartbeat. What I did not know was that my baby had a perfectly formed little body with a beautifully shaped head and eyes and a nose and ear buds; beautiful little fingers and a mouth. I didn't know all of the intricate little details that God had already used to design this perfect little human person because THAT is what no one tells you. I was mortified and just sick. What had I done?! I took off out of the classroom like a bullet! I ran up to my dorm room and just fell in the floor and wept.

I don't remember much about what happened after that. What I do remember is that someone that I love dearly came to me that day...a friend and knocked on my door. I didn't want to open the door and I said something like, "Who is it?" which was a bit unusual. I had been crying all day and didn't want to see anyone. Long story short, I let her in and we talked...for HOURS. Somehow, for the very first time, EVER, I let someone into my heart and I shared my experience with her. She was loving and accepting and I will NEVER EVER forget that. She cried and prayed with me and she helped me through the darkest time of my life.

The next four years were VERY difficult for me. I sat through a Christian Ethics class where the professor was just a little judgmental as he went through the different types of abortion and talked about how horrible people that have abortions are. I still had not accepted God's forgiveness at this point and this did not help. The turning point for me was one night when I was in my dorm room talking to a dear dear friend...pouring my heart out when she said these words....


"Why do you not think that Jesus' blood was not good enough for you? So, what you are saying is that Christ died for everyone else and every other sin but you and THAT sin? You are too good for Him to die for you?"


You see sometimes we need people in our lives to call us out and keep us honest. That was MONUMENTAL in my life! That was a game changer for me. That was THE DAY that I accepted God's forgiveness for THAT and all sin in my life because you see, God sent His Son to die on that cross for ALL OF OUR SIN no matter how great or small. Yes, I do still struggle from time to time with the "rating system." It is hard to fathom that He doesn't look at abortion and think it's worse than gossiping but it's true!!! God is a forgiving God and I am living proof today that He will restore us!!

And, stay stuned...there is even more to this story! :)

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My Story

There have been so many people lately who have asked about my new ministry at church and I have shared this story in public with different forums of people but I thought it was time to share on my blog. I have shared pieces of the story but this is the bulk of my testimony and story. I don't share for any other reason except to let you know where God has brought me from. The story certainly does not end here...there will be more posts about where God has brought me and what he has done. I am so humbled and overwhelmed with God's goodness I could burst!!

Childhood

My mom had me when she was 18 years old. I had a 2 year old brother and then she had my younger brother almost exactly a year after she had me. Due to certain circumstances my mom felt forced to allow my grandparents (my father's parents) raise the boys and she took me to raise.

I was about 2 years old when we moved in with who I consider to be my dad, Gary. We lived with his parents, Granny and Papa, for most of my childhood. My mom, Gary, and I lived off and on in apartments and houses but never anywhere very long. My mom and Gary never married because she was still legally married to my biological father. When I was about 5 years old, I noticed that things were starting to be different. I don't know if it was because that is really when they became different or it was just when I started to notice things. My mom and dad argued a lot and I noticed that things were starting to get very violent. When I was 6, the house that we lived in burned down. Luckily, my dad was out of town that night and we "just so happened" to spend the night with Granny and Papa that night. I later found out that it was all planned for insurance money. I don't think it all worked out in their favor....just sayin....that seems to be what I remember as a turning point in my life...where things just really started to plummet.

As I mentioned before, we lived with Granny and Papa for most of my childhood. Both of my parents were REALLY bad into all kind of drugs and as I got older I started realizing what was going on. To make this part of my story a little shorter I will summarize....I was drug from hotel room to hotel room making drug deals; I was told not to tell anyone about what went on in my house because if I did "the big fat black social worker lady would come and take me away; I watched day after day as my dad beat my mother until life was almost out of her body; I ran with my mother more times than I care to remember only to come back a few days later; I went to school to escape my home life...unsure if I would come home to my mother alive or dead; I would go to sleep at night with the pillow over my head singing as loudly as I could so I couldn't hear the screaming and fighting in the room next to me or I would run down the hall to Granny's room so she could rub my back and hold me while I cried. I went to 17 different schools from kindergarten to the 7th grade! All the while, it was familiar, it was safe, and it was all I knew as my life.

Move to Arkansas

When I was in the 8th grade my mom came to my school and checked me out of school YET AGAIN! I was furious with her. I just knew it was ANOTHER time where we would just be coming right back a few days, weeks later...she would just disrupt my now teenage life for whatever it was she wanted. You see, this time it was different. My mom had stopped using drugs but my dad hadn't. This time he told her if she was at home when he got back that he would kill her. We left Grand Prairie, Texas that day for Hope, Arkansas and we did not return. It was THE LONGEST Greyhound bus ride EVER!!! I was a month shy of fourteen years old. I was so angry at my mom...for a long time.

My mom got a job and bought her first car and really was doing everything well, except taking care of her teenage daughter. Don't get me wrong...I am in no way, going to play the blame game in this blog...I am just writing my feelings. This was the first time my mom tasted freedom!!! She was having the time of her life! She was going to the clubs and having a great time. She was still going to work and paying bills and doing what she needed to do but I was low on the priority list. She didn't have to worry about me...I was a straight A student and I was pretty much capable of taking care of myself.

Accepted Christ

When we first got to Hope, I knew a lot of people there already. My grandparents lived there for a long time and I had lived there before (remember those 17 different schools? Three of them were in Hope)! I already had some friends from like the 3rd grade and they remembered me! I was invited to church and long story short THE VERY FIRST SUNDAY I went to church I asked Jesus into my heart at at back to school party at the home of Charlie and Christi Zumwalt on August 27, 1995!! God had a plan and a purpose for that little girl in Grand Prairie, Texas all of those years and was protecting me for something greater!!! The only problem, my family is not of the same mindset and when I was so excited about the change that had occurred, my family was not as excited. It was hard to live for the Lord in the environment that I was in.

When I was in high school, there was a lady that I went to church with that poured a lot of time and energy into my life. I was NOT an easy person to love at that time. I was needy. I was clingy and needed lots of love and attention. She was always there and willing to give it. After she came and picked me up one night late after my mom had failed to come home yet again, she said, "Why don't you just come live with us?" She had two children of her own. I asked my mother who really didn't give a second thought about it and I did. She supported me financially and treated me just like her own child. I will forever be grateful to her and she will always always be so incredibly special to me. I love her like a mother. Sweet sweet woman!!! She even drove me to college when it was time for me to go! I just cannot say enough about her.

Worst Decision of My Life

When I lived with the sweet couple I started dating a guy. He was a good guy - Church of Christ. He had never really dated anyone before. I had never really dated anyone before. There was quite an age difference however. We dated for a good long while before we really started arguing quite a bit and the lady I lived with would come tell me to get off the phone - he isn't worth it, etc. but we would just argue about stupid stuff and I would just think it was me being insecure. I would apologize, we would make up. We had a very disfunctional relationship.

I noticed one day that I was very late getting my period. I told a teacher and she bought me two pregnancy tests. I took them in the bathroom of the school and they were both positive. I was devastated. Beyond devastated. I immediately began weeping. My best friend was in the bathroom with me and of course didn't know what to do. I threw the test across the room and wanted to go home. My friend would not let me go home. So, I didn't. I stayed the entire day at school bawling my eyes out and telling every.single.person. I came in contact with that I was pregnant. I don't know why I did that. It was just something that I felt the need to do. Why does anyone do what they do when they are in the midst of grief and shock???

Fourth period came. We only had four period days so it was the end of the day. It was my "teacher friend's" conference period and she sent someone to get me from my class that I was in. I went into her classroom and there she was with her friend, who was also a teacher at the school who I didn't know very well...she was an art teacher. My teacher told me that the best solution for me was to have an abortion and her friend was there to tell me all about it. See, she had had an abortion too and she is doing just fine. It was a great decision. She has two kids now and it was easy, you just do it, forget about it and my teacher said that she would take me to get it done. I literally think I just stood there looking at her. That was not an option for me....until that very moment.

That evening I called my boyfriend to tell him to come over so I could tell him the news...no, he still didn't know...I was at school all day and I didn't have a cell phone back then!! I had been given advice from every angle about what I should do. I had at least 4 people tell me on different occasions that day that "the only thing for me to do" was to have an abortion. I was given many different reasons why it was best. My head literally was swimming.

On Saturday, my teacher's husband called to tell me that my teacher would NOT be having any part in this and called me a baby killer and then hung up on me. I am not sure what she told him. I talked to mom who wouldn't say much except that she would take me, she would sign for it but she couldn't afford to pay for it. I found someone to pay for it and my boyfriend ended up paying him back. I made the appointment on Monday and had the procedure in Little Rock on Wednesday...the day before Thanksgiving - November 25, 1998. My mom took me and my best friend went with us.

Because I had told anyone who I came in contact with at school that I was pregnant the previous week, I went back after Thanksgiving break and told everyone that I had a miscarriage. I never spoke of it again until college....almost 2 years later....

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Redemption...It's Sweet!!

I know I haven't posted in awhile and I have composed about a dozen posts and haven't finished them but this post seemed necessary and I just felt called to do a little "digging" on the subject...

We all have issues and we all have a past. Even if we haven't done anything that the world deems "horrible" we ALL have things that we deal with...skeletons in the closet, so to speak. These issues are often something that we keep quiet and secret in fear that others might reject us or not love us anymore. As I have posted in the past, that certainly was the case with me. While I don't believe that we must confess all of our sins to everyone that we meet, in my particular situation, I knew that God was wanting to use my past mistakes to help others, and before I could do that I had some confessing to do! The truth is the ONLY One that we must confess our sins to is Jesus Christ. He wants true repentence from us and more than anything He wants to forgive, redeem, and restore us!

My life was stagnant and God had so much more in store for me but what was holding me back was my issue (my secret). I truly felt that if those that I loved the most knew what I had done - the truth - that they would not love me...or even like me. That was the scariest part for me and what God revealed to me was incredible. I knew that I was going to have a conversation with someone that I loved, admired, and could potentially lose because of the news I was going to tell her. However, the entire process God was whispering in my ear..."whatever the outcome of this situation, you will be okay. Just trust in Me." I was terrified but I listened and I followed and the results were life changing! She was hurt yet forgiving and loving. Our relationship has nothing in the way now and I think we are closer now than ever before!

I say all of that to say...WHATEVER your issue is...Christ wants the same thing for you! Whatever is keeping you from joy, peace, and ultimately doing what God has planned for your life needs to be confessed and then redeemed. That's what He wants for you!

I was talking with one of my long time very best friends yesterday and she is going through such a rough time but the transformation I have seen her in 4 short months is just incredible! A life that was once filled with sin of all kinds is now having to deal with the consequences of her actions but she has given her life to Christ and she is dealing with everything with grace. I have never been more proud! She is asking me some really tough questions and it has prompted me to look further and have in depth conversations with my husband.

My friend asked me about divorce and what to do based on what the Bible says. Yikes! I know what to say to someone who isn't vulnerable and going through the situation at the moment but the LAST thing I wanted to do was discourage her or tell her something that wasn't true according to the Bible. This is what I think the Bible says about divorce....

In Matthew 5 it says that anyone who divorces his wife and remarries is committing adultery and thus causing her to commit adultery as well. In I COrinthians chapter 7, Paul reinforces this saying that "a woman must not separate from her husband but if she does she must remain unmarried or reconciled to her husband. A husband must not divorce his wife." (vs. 10,11). But he also goes on to talk about the relationship of believers/unbelievers. If either party is a unbeliever and willing to stay in the relationship the believer they should stay together because the believer will sanctify the unbeliever. Then he stated that if the unbeliever wants to go, the believer should let him go.

What does that all mean? Well, I believe that

1. divorce isn't wrong in God's eyes - remarriage (or adulterous relationships) after divorce is wrong

2. if two people (one or the other or both) aren't believers during the time of marriage, you were never truly married in the eyes of God anyway, so He does not honor your marriage. Legal marriage is not bound by God's (biblical) standards

3. if you are believers and a divorce is inevitable for whatever reason, you must make the choice to decide what is most important to you. Should you stay single for the remainder of your life in order to keep with God's commands?...I believe so. Yes, that's a tough pill to swallow but often following God's way is not easy.

I love my friend so much!!! She has done almost a complete 360...going to church everytime the doors are open, reading her Bible for direction, and doing her best to provide for her little girl. She is still in the midst of some very difficult trials and will likely face more in the future but she is doing so well!!

God has redeemed her from her past as He has me...will you surrender EVERYTHING to Him too and allow Him to work in your life? There is such freedom in forgiveness!

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

His Love Is So Amazing!

This month is all about love! God has really given me so many blessings and opportunities over the past several months. I cannot tell you how amazed I have been. Then I think, why am I so amazed...God is awesome and I should expect blessings but blesses beyond what I could ever think or imagine - Ephesians 3:20.

I was able to speak and give my testimony a month or so ago and then I spoke again this past week at Kingdom Women. Kingdom Women is a ministry of our church that focuses on Kingdom work. I was privileged to speak for about 20 minutes about my life, where God has brought me, and how He has blessed my life. It was a great experience!! I love those women! Some of them are matriarchs of our church and some of them are my very best friends. I just spoke from my heart...about God's love.

It was a blessing for me to speak but more than anything was the blessing that I received after I was finished. This has been a rough couple of weeks for my husband and I in the ministry area. There has just been "stuff" that he, in particular, has had to deal with that has been quite challenging. The very night that I spoke I received two emails that just made me sob! Women that had the kindest words that I have heard (read) people say (write)...women that were sort of unexpected actually. The encouragement was just overwhelming and then I thought...

This is what it is all about!!

God has called me out of a dark place and asked me to share things that are no easy...to be transparent and real even though what I talk about isn't pleasant or easy.  But it is all for His glory!!  It is all about allowing others to feel God's love and forgiveness by sharing what He has done for me.  That is definitely REASON TO REJOICE!!!

"And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony."
Revelation 12:11

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Friday, February 11, 2011

Perfect Love!

A heart from God Pictures, Images and Photos

This is the time of year when we think a lot about love. February. Valentine's Day. Many people are planning on what to do with their boyfriends, fiances, and husbands for Valentine's Day. We think about what to get our children and their little friends.

You remember those old little comic strips - "Love is." Over the past few days I have been thinking about what love is. What does love mean?

Let's go to trusty ole Webster:

Love
[luhv]
1. a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
2. a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.
3. affectionate concern for the well-being of others: the love of one's neighbor.
4. the benevolent affection of God for His creatures, or the reverent affection due from them to God.

There were several other definitions but the above seemed to be more relevent to my post today. We love our children. We love our husband. We love our other family members and we love our friends (sometimes as much as our own family)! We can also love chocolate, cheese dip, and Chinese food! :) Hmm...those are all foods! Ha! Sorry, I digress! How often do we use the word love and not even think about what we are saying. I think sometimes the word is overused. I did a little research to find out how many times the word love is used in the Bible. It depends on what version is used but I came up with 610 times. Most of those refer to God's love for His people or commanding His people to display love toward one another.

This past week I was reminded of God's love. I read this passage:

1But now, thus says the LORD, your Creator, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel,
"Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name; you are Mine!
2"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they will not overflow you
When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched,
Nor will the flame burn you.
3"For I am the LORD your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I have given Egypt as your ransom,
Cush and Seba in your place.
4"Since you are precious in My sight,
Since you are honored and I love you,
I will give other men in your place and other peoples in exchange for your life.
~ Isaiah 43:1-4

WOW!  How does it feel to think that God loved us so much that He would give up all others for us???  That just touched my heart in so many ways.  That is true LOVE.  I heard someone say this week in reference to that passage - "I don't get that.  I have never been loved that way so it is hard for me to understand."  Isn't that true for all of us?  Not everyone I know had a childhood like I did.  There are people that are able to tell a true love story from the time they were small, but even the most precious love that we have received on earth can never compare to the love that we receive from Christ.  

As I blogged previously, I have experienced God's love so deeply this past year...in a way I never have before.  I have truly allowed myself to feel completely loved and cherished in His eyes.  GOD LOVES ME!!!  Unconditionally.  Truly.  Forever.  No matter what I have done or will do.  NOTHING can separate me from that love!!!  Praise HIM!

One of my new favorite songs is from Hillsong and it is called "At the Cross."  The first stanza then the chorus says this:

"Oh, Lord You've searched me
You know my ways
Even when I fail You
I know You love me.

At the cross I bow my knee
Where Your blood was shed for me
There's no greater love than this"

It goes on from there but that's my favorite part.  Christ paid the ultimate price for us.  He endured such suffering, shame, pain, and death so that we wouldn't have to suffer eternally.  Why?

BECAUSE HE LOVES US!!!




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Friday, January 28, 2011

I'm Famous!!

Okay, so not really but I am blogging for the hospital that I work at!!! Here is my first entry.....this blog is all about moms!

Enjoy!

texashealthmoms.blogspot.com



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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Lighten It Up!

In the midst of still “recovering “ so to speak from my last post, I wanted to lighten this post up a bit. I do want to say, however, THANK YOU so much for all of the encouragement, support, and love after I shared a very difficult part of my life with you all a couple of days ago. I just want to be clear….that post was NOT about telling my story necessarily but about giving God the glory and sharing about what He is doing in my life. I have been on an amazing journey and am so excited about what is to come!! If you need healing from an abortion, please let me know and I will get you in contact with someone who can help. My email is rikkihester@sbcglobal.net

Let’s talk about my kids!! :)

Lauren is almost 2! Can you believe that? She is just growing up so much. She has such a little personality. She is a much easier toddler than Rachel was. She takes to discipline well and has such a different personality that her sister. She has been very sick! We went to Care Now on Friday and she was diagnosed with strep and the flu!!!! We are taking Tamiflu and Omnicef and she is feeling SO MUCH better!!!! She was being so sweet when she was sick but the funny thing is that she did not want me or her daddy, she wanted her sister!!! She wanted Rachel to rock her. I got a little picture. Isn't this precious????


We also did pigtails for the first time! I think she's cute! :)


Rachel is growing up big. She has really been talking a lot about God. She seems to be "getting" things a little better. I just can't believe she is 4!!

Our latest battle with her (you know there is always something) is that she unties her shoes at school. She got these super cute light up Twinkle Toe Skechers and LOVES them but got in trouble several days in a row for untying them on purpose....AND lying about it. Not a happy momma!

She is so smart! Takes after her father! Her teachers say that she can read and sound out words better than the kindergarteners. I am a little concerned about the fact that she will not go to school until she is almost 6!


So, nothing SUPER spiritual in this blog post but I needed to take a break from the heavy stuff and just blog for fun!!!  :)  I will go back to the spiritual stuff soon!!!

Again, thank you for hanging with me.  I hope that all of my new blog readers will keep coming back!  :)











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Saturday, January 22, 2011

For the Love of LIFE!

Tomorrow is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. This day always falls on the Sunday closest to the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. Today, January 22nd, marks the date that abortion was legalized in the United States. It is the 38th anniversary.

Over the past several days I have read a few articles that center around abortion, choosing life, and what people are doing about both. I have read about a doctor who performs abortions illegally and keeps the contents stored in jars. Human body parts in jars. I have read about a couple that did IVF and then got pregnant with twin boys. Since they wanted a girl, they decided to terminate their pregnancy of these baby boys in hopes to get pregnant with a little girl. This couple had suffered the loss of a baby girl shortly before getting pregnant with the twins. They were quoted saying that they "deserved a little luck" and this was their "right." This case is sad but the fact is that many women choose to have abortions for all different reasons. Many women feel justified in whatever their reason is.

Approximately 40 million abortions are performed each year. That represents A LOT of babies but it also represents A LOT of women. It is horrific if you really think about what abortion is. Let me tell you what it is not....

*It is not "the easy way out"
*It is not something you can just forget about
*It (the baby) is not "just a ball of cells"
*It is not a decision that only affects the mother

It is murder. It is, in many ways, a permanent solution to a temporary "problem." It is heart breaking to think of what happened to an innocent baby. It is also heart breaking for many years for the mother (and many times father) who chose the procedure. It is physically, emotionally, and often times spiritually difficult...and let me just say, that's putting it mildly.

Jane Roe (Norma McCorvey) wanted to have an abortion. She was not allowed to according to state law. She fabricated a story that she had been raped since Texas state law said that a women could have an abortion if she had been raped. She had no evidence and later admitted that she made up the story. After getting two lawyers, ultimately giving birth, and three years later, abortion became legalized in the United States - January 22, 1973. This was Norma's 3rd pregnancy...all of which she had placed for adoption.

Eventually, McCorvey's views about abortion changed. She stated that she signed a piece of paper giving women the "right." What those lawyers did not tell her was that women would be coming up to her for several years thanking her for giving them the chance to have multiple abortions. She attempted to overturn Roe vs Wade but her petition was denied. She became a Christian and now considers herself "100% prolife." Here is an excerpt from one of her books,

"But a few weeks after my conversion, I was sitting in O.R.'s offices when I noticed a fetal development poster. The progression was so obvious, the eyes were so sweet. It hurt my heart, just looking at them.

I ran outside and finally, it dawned on me. "Norma," I said to myself, "They're right." I had worked with pregnant women for years. I had been through three pregnancies and deliveries myself. I should have known. Yet something in that poster made me lose my breath. I kept seeing the picture of that tiny, 10-week-old embryo, and I said to myself, that's a baby! It's as if blinders just fell off my eyes and I suddenly understood the truth--that's a baby!

I felt "crushed" under the truth of this realization. I had to face up to the awful reality. Abortion wasn't about 'products of conception.' It wasn't about 'missed periods.' It was about children being killed in their mother's wombs. All those years I was wrong. Signing that affidavit, I was wrong. Working in an abortion clinic, I was wrong. No more of this first trimester, second trimester, third trimester stuff. Abortion--at any point--was wrong. It was so clear. Painfully clear."

McCorvey now has a ministry called Roe No More Ministry and speaks on behalf of babies and women all over the United States who have been destroyed by abortion.

I did not know this about Roe vs Wade until I recently did some research.  She is ABSOLUTELY allowing God to "work all things for good" because she loves him and recognizes that she is forgiven and loved by God.  This realization is so hard for those that have had abortions.  They feel broken, unworthy, unlovable (by anyone, especially God), and destroyed.  It is a decision that you cannot take back, but choosing what to do with the experience is what is important. 

You see, I had an abortion.  November 25, 1998.  I was 17 years old in need of direction and spirtiual guidance...something that was seriously absent at that time in my life.  I was a Christian.  I knew it was wrong but I didn't think about that at the time.  I needed a solution and EVERYONE told me what I should do.  So I did.  I regret it every. single. day!  I have so many "issues" in the area of self-esteem, self-confidence, and feeling loveble....most of which I attribute to my choice to end the life of my unborn baby.  It is something that I am not proud of but God has said that I must share this about myself in order to help others.  That is what Romans 8:28 is all about!! 

Just this past year, God spoke VERY vividly to me and said that I had to stop allowing Satan to control this part of my life.  I had made a very bad choice with very bad circumstances but for almost 12 years, I had allowed Satan to tell me that if anyone (besides those that already knew) ever found out, they wouldn't love me anymore.  I believed that with all my heart.  After weeks of struggling with this, I finally gave it to God and allowed Him to work.

I am now a certified leader for Surrendering the Secret - a post abortion Bible study that promotes healing and hope to women who have had an abortion(s).  I went through the 8 week study and have allowed God to use me through speaking at church to a group of women.  I have done the study with one other girl at church and on February 7th, we will start another group.  She is now a co-leader with me.  I am so honored to be able to not only help other women heal but to spread the news of the Gospel as well, because Surrendering the Secret does that so well!

God is a forgiving and loving God.  He can forgive ANYTHING if we ask and call on Him.  That has taken me a long time to realize but I am so blessed to hold onto this truth now!! 

Here is a video of a song that Matthew West has recently released that he wrote after a post-abortive woman shared her story with him. 



"For as high as the heavens are above the earth, great is his love for who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us."
 Psalm 103:11-12



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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Wrapping Up 2010

SOOOO...I know that I am SUPER late with this post and I am just not going to post about Christmas at all except to say that it was great, the girls had a blast, and I just can't go back and post about it because we have to move forward.

I had a tough start to the new year with the death of a girl I lived with in high school. It was so sad. There were so many GREAT things that happened to me in 2010 and first and foremost I have become closer to God than I have ever been and I am SO incredibly grateful.

Some of these questions are trivial but I thought it was fun and many of them really made me stop and think. Enjoy! Feel free to copy and repost with your answers.


1. What did you do in 2010 that you have never done before?
Read a fiction novel...I read 3 complete ones! :) Also, I have never poured my heart out before God and told Him to use me however He wants. I literally said, "Whatever you want from me, Lord, here I am. Use me." Scary, overwhelming, and utterly exciting!!!!

2. Did you keep your New Year's Resolutions and will you make more for next year?
I try to not set resolutions. I always have the goal of bettering myself and the beginning of a new year is a good time to do that.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Not that I can think of right now. 2009 was the year for babies for my friends.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Yes. The final day of the year. Rachael Beard. I lived with her family when I was in high school. She was killed in a car accident early on December 31st. She was only 26 years old and I was devastated! Just so sad for her family...especially her sweet sweet Momma...I love Audra so much. She was like a sister to me and that family was/is like my own.

5. What places have you visited?
I am boring. I think the only two states I went in 2010 were Arkansas and Texas. Arkansas - Hope, Little Rock, Hot Springs; Texas - DFW Metroplex (since I live there), Weatherford (many times), Tyler, Canton

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?
More patience and understanding when it comes to my children. Maybe another child... ;)

7. What date from 2010 will remain etched in your memory and why?
There are several...March 12th - my baby's first birthday! August 18th - heard a sermon that changed my life!!! August 28th - had the hardest and most precious conversation with Christi - someone who I consider as close to me as my own mother!! Also, October 26th - I have a rock in my purse to mark this date. It was a significant day because it was a day that I celebrated freedom from a stronghold that Satan has had over my life for 12 long years!!

8. What was your biggest achievement this year?
Surrendering everything to God and laying my shame, guilt, and sin at His feet!

9. Did you suffer illness or injury?
No. I did have some strange ailment with my elbow but it was just tendonitis...no biggie! :)

10. What was the best thing you bought?
A silver heart charm with two little feet on it.

11. Where did most of your money go?
MY GIRLS!!! :) Clothes, bows, shoes, etc. Daycare!

12. What song will always remind you of 2010?
Probably "Broken Into Beautiful" by Gwen Smith or "You Are For Me" by Kari Jobe

13. What do you wish you had done more of?
Read my Bible, prayed, loved more intentionally (on purpose and deeply)

14. What do you wish you had done less of?
Watched senseless, STUPID, television. This really became a conviction of mine after a Women's Retreat this past November. I no longer tape Days of Our Lives and through prayer, I have not missed it at all. I felt like God was really telling me that it was trash and took me away from things I should have been doing.  Also, I wish I had worried less about what others thought of me.

15. What was your favorite TV program?
Grey's Anatomy (no, God hasn't convicted me of this one yet)  :)

16. What was the best book you read this year?
Redeeming Love

17. What was your favorite film of the year?
Well, I only went to the movies twice. I saw "Eat, Pray, Love" and "Sorcerer's Apprentice." Between the two of them, "Sorcerer's Apprentice" was the better one. I just don't watch many movies. I love old movies. I like to go back and watch older movies.

18. What did you do on your birthday and how old were you?
I actually just had my birthday. I went to work. It was a good day. I turned 30!!!! It was a big birthday for me but I actually cried because of how good people were to me. I felt very blessed!!! I have great friends!

19. What political issue stirred you the most?
Wow...what a loaded question. I hate the healthcare issue. I will not go into a lot of detail but I just don't feel like the government should be allowed or given the authority to decide who should or should not have insurance. I will agree that our current healthcare system needs work but I just feel like the plan in place is not where it's at.

20. What was the best new person you met?
CARRIE BOND!!! Without a doubt! I have never met anyone who I just immediately bonded with (no pun intended). Carrie is such an encouragement to me and has helped me so much this year in my walk. I love her so much and I feel like I have known her all my life. So blessed to have met Carrie this past year.

We had an amazing service this morning at church!!! The title was "Great Expectations" and it was basically talking about what the vision for our church is for the upcoming year. I am so excited about everything we heard!!!!! I am very excited to be a part of a new ministry at our church and cannot wait to see what God is going to do. We are starting a post-abortion Bible study. We will use the curriculum "Surrendering the Secret" which is a great tool!

The greatest thing I have taken away from 2010 is that God loves us UNCONDITIONALLY!!! NO MATTER WHAT! Not only does He love us, He forgives us. It does not matter what we have done, He forgives us. Psalm 103:11-12 has become one of my favorite passages:

11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

I have felt freedom this past year like never before but where all of this has been such a blessing; it also means that God has called me to another place. Where I have received freedom, I desire for others to experience the same kind of freedom. When God calls us to do something it is not usually easy. This journey has not been easy thus far and satan has been all about it! BUT, God has called me to this place to help others and that is what I will do. Because as we were reminded this morning in our worship service..."For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:10

I will follow You!

"And we know that ALL THINGS work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."
Romans 8:28 (emphasis mine)










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Saturday, January 8, 2011

In A Funk!

I really do plan on blogging again!!! Promise! I actually started a blog about 2 weeks ago and never finished it. I am hoping by the time I do finish it won't be outdated! Anyway, please don't stop reading...come back again! My hope is to catch up tomorrow. I did a lot of house work today so maybe tomorrow I can "play." Lots to tell you about.....


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Reason to Rejoice
 
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