Thursday, May 31, 2012

Do You Want to Move Up?

"You and I will never move to the next level with God if we're scared half to death of what awaits us. On this mysterious pilgrimage we will find that when we do meet difficulties and sorrows, they were not meant to stop us but to form the character required for our great harvest in the coming season. Step into your future, Precious One, Something wonderful awaits you."-Beth Moore from her Stepping Up Bible study.
(I had the privilege of going to see Beth Moore in person for the first time! Her energy is amazing and I absolutely love her humility) She spoke over my life and I wept like a baby during worship).

Psalm 126

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
 we were like those who dream.
Our mouths were filled with laughter then,
and our tongues with shouts of joy.
Then they said among the nations,
the Lord has done great things for them."
The Lord has done great things for us;
we were joyful.
Restore our fortunes, Lord,
like watercourses in the Negev.
Those who sow in tears
will reap with shouts of joy.
Though one goes along weeping,
carrying the bag of seed,
he will surely come back with shouts of joy,
carrying his sheaves.
 I was able to spend time with my three main accountability partners, Margaret, Catherine and my twin sis, Jackie. It was a wonderful, edifying weekend. But boy, you couldn't get away with anything! LOL!)

What hope we have in these verses! Our God sees every tear. He wipes them away and even stores them in a bottle. I wonder what He does with them? Does He shows us gallons of tears that we cried while were on earth? Will He cast them into that sea of glass before His throne? There must be something symbolic about it. The point is, He sees my pain. He wants to restore my fortunes, my family. I am already shouting with joy and we have only begun this journey, for greater is He than he that is in this world! I have experienced miracle after miracle since this crisis happened. How  could I not believe Him? How could I not love Him more? He is now my breath.

 I was asked today by a sweet lady in my new Bible study group, "How do you saturate yourself with God's Grace?" I didn't even hesitate to answer, it is just by being with Him. Making Him a priority. Not forsaking my time with Him for a T.V. program or a new novel to escape in. I enjoy those things, but I am finding that I am enjoying Him even more

I like this new me. This new me is more confident, worries less, loves more, gives grace when grace is needed, and forgives quicker than I ever did before.

Monday, May 28, 2012

18 Ways You Can Proactively Protect Your Child From Porn

(This picture is of Andrew when he was four or five at the library. It was the only picture I could find of my kids on the computer)

As I go through these suggestions, I hope that you will comment and leave your own tips that I might have missed so you can share it with the rest of us. This list is in no way exhaustive.

1. My biggest mistake was that I trusted too much. I wanted my children to have friends, especially since friends are not easy to come by when you homeschool. I trusted that these Christian kids would never do such a thing as view porn. Boy, was I wrong.

2. Be careful about giving your child a phone that can access wireless internet. Our children are begging us for phones that have this kind of internet capability. It is like putting the most addictive, pleasurable drug in our kid’s hands and telling them not to use it.  Even if you choose to not give them one these phones, their friends will have them. You have to be extra cautious. Remember, there is no reason why they can’t check their email, look up searches, ect, under your watchful eye on a computer that is in the family room where there is accountability. They are probably going to feel like the freak that doesn’t have the cool phone, but oh well. We know what is best for them, they do not.

3. If your child already has one of these phones, make sure you dialogue with them about friends pressuring them to look up porn. I have a friend whose son was relieved that his parents didn’t give him internet access to his phone. He didn’t have to worry about this kind of pressure from his peers. If you do choose to let them have internet access, I just found out that there are now internet filters that can go on mobile phones (Safe Eyes is one such company).

4. When your children's friends come over and you know they have a phone with these capabilities, tell them they need to check it at the door. This is my new rule. It will not happen on my watch. I fell for the “Oh, Mom, we just want to look up some Christian music so we can listen to it, can we have the Wi-Fi password?”  Once they get the password, they don’t have to ask for it again, because it automatically saves it. Another big mistake!

5. Get a good internet filter. Safe Eyes has been amazing for us. I know there are many other ones, so make sure you do your research. I feel really comfortable with my kids being online now. It blocks out anything that would be remotely inappropriate. So much that it can be frustrating when you do a search. You can adjust your settings for each person in the family. It gives us huge peace of mind, plus it has a timer and it boots them off when their time is up. It costs $49.95 for one year and that covers 3 computers.

6. You can’t trust looking at the history anymore. One of the first things that kids do is to learn how to erase their history. As soon as they figure that out, the rest is “history”.

7.  A simple thing such a putting a password on your computer is huge. So much of my heartache could have been prevented by putting a password on it.  My son had been viewing porn on my laptop even after I had Safe Eyes on the main computer.  That computer was off limits and in my room. I never imagined that I would have a child that would sneak on it and watch porn.

8. This is a no brainer, but no laptops or phones in their rooms.

9.  Remember, they can access the internet at public libraries, restaurants, motels, downtown, and any other place who does not have their access secured. I have another friend who doesn’t have Wi-Fi, but her son can access it in their home on his I-Pod off of his neighbor’s unsecure  Wi-Fi. Scary stuff.

10. Don’t assume because your children are Christians and well-behaved, that they do not have this curiosity. They are not immune to this, nor are their Christian friends. I have since found out that most of the boys in my older boys’ youth group have viewed porn more than once. Honestly, it is a rare kid that has the power to withstand this kind of temptation.

11. I’ve heard that kids with learning issues, ADHD, Autism, lower IQ’s and immaturity issues can be especially susceptible to porn addictions. 

12. Please keep in mind that pornography is not the same as it was back in our day. When we were growing up, the stuff we got our hands on was pretty much magazines. The porn now is sick, heinous, graphic, and very, very unnatural. Sodomy and homos*xuality (men or women) is prevalent in most porn images now. Also, child porn, bestiality, and the use of foreign objects are common place now in hard core porn pictures and videos.  Porn videos are especially harmful to our children because they engage the visual and the auditory senses. This creates an even greater imprint in their brains. The images are almost impossible to get rid of. Also, If we are not careful, our children who have viewed porn will think that this is natural in marriage.

13. Porn statistics are such
                        a. 50% of Christian men are involved in pornography at some level.

b. 20% of women in the church are viewing porn. This isn’t even including soft porn that is in romance novels. They were bad in my day, I can’t imagine what they are like now!

c. This generation is being called the “guinea pig generation”. Never before has there been this kind of access to these kinds of images. The damage is terrible and we will see more and more juvenile sex offender cases if we don’t start taking this seriously.

d. The average age of children viewing hardcore images  now seven and up. The Drudge Report says that children are growing up addicted to internet porn. A third of 10 years olds have seen explicit images. Statistics are coming out that say four out of five 16-year-old boys and girls regularly access porn online while one in three ten-year-olds have seen explicit material.

e. Statistics show that more than a quarter of young patients being treated at a leading private clinic are receiving help for addiction to online pornography. There are fears that the rise of internet pornography is leaving teenagers unable to maintain normal relationships.

14. Porn is the secret sin that is destroying the church. We are losing a whole generation to this filth.  The America church has become like white-washed tombs. Beautiful on the outside, but rotting and smelly on the inside. The stench is becoming so bad, that it is impossible to hide from this. Will we repent of this? Will we confront our husbands if this is a problem they have? Will we say no, when they want us to join in their sin and  watch porn with them so they can “spice up our s*x lives”? Will we take every precaution we can to protect our children? This includes being the bad guy and not caving into your child’s wants and desires for the latest and greatest of the latest technology. Let's start fighting back on this one! The enemy wants our children. Will we hand them over, or will we be brave warriors who stand on holy ground?

15. Pray for protection for your children. Pray that sin would be rooted out of their lives. Pray the “Do What it Takes” kind of prayers. It is better to have it out in the open then find out before it’s too late.

16. Talk about purity often with your children. It didn't seem help in my case, but after my son was found out, he knew he had lusted in his heart and had cheated on his future wife. This was one of the first things he said to me after he had been caught and had repented. He knew it was wrong and he knew where to go to for forgiveness, his merciful Lord and Savior. After we found out the truth, my father told me between broken sobs that my son was outside with his hands raised, singing “Jesus Loves me” with tears pouring down his face. Talk about heartbreaking. I bore the fruit of all my training and teaching that wretched day.

17. Be a safe person for your children to come talk to. If you freak out over the little things, they will never come to you with the bigger things. A teenager’s freedom is more important than anything. If they think that freedom might be taken away, they will lie. They will not come clean with it. If we freak and take their freedom away, why would they ever trust us with their bigger problems? I don’t have the answer to this, maybe you do. My husband and I have over-reacted over many smaller issues, so it is no wonder my son didn’t feel safe coming to us with his problem.

18. Share with your children the serious consequences of what can happen when their curiosity gets the best of them, and they innocently view porn. My son had no idea of the consequences of his actions – what it would lead to and what the legal consequences and the life-time issues would be.

Friday, May 18, 2012

My Amazing Testimony of God's Provision

"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them". -Ephesians 2:10

Thank you, Lord for preparing in advance the works you would have us do. Help me to be faithful to complete whatever calling you have planned for me. Help me to still be able to care for my family needs, while I enter into this new ministry (whatever it looks like). Continue to train me and prepare me to be able to step into that calling with confidence knowing that you are my Protector. Help me to remember that you "hem me in behind and before". You've got my back! 

You have given me a heart that is passionate. It feels as if fire is on my tongue. A message that must get out. A message to warn and to teach. God, continue to give me peace and to restore the fortunes that our family has lost. You will bless us if we do this right. You will redeem, if we believe it of You. You are a capable God and mightier than the enemy of our souls. What he sought to destroy, you will build up from ground level, Your way, not mine, Lord. In Jesus' name, Amen

I ask you this, do you believe that God has great plans for your life? Have you made mistakes, small or big? Do you believe that Jesus really died for your sins? Do you believe He can redeem the worst of situations? I am living proof of that, and I am only at the beginning of this journey. Believe Him. Oh, believe Him. He is good and trustworthy even if your situation looks hopeless. Get on your knees and offer it up to Him. Tell Him it is too big for you.

I have an amazing story to share with you. A few months ago, when we had just found out therapy was going to be enormously expensive and that insurance wouldn't pay for it, I was devastated. I remember being in the van all by myself going to run errands. I was so depressed, so weary with worry and just wondering where in the world that money was going to come from. I finally just cried aloud to God and said, "It's too big. I can't do this! Where are we going to get $8,000, when we live pack check to pay check with just a little put away for emergencies?" I told God to take this burden from me. I couldn't bear it any longer. I felt peace about it finally and went in the post office to get the mail. I got in my van and opened a small letter that was from a bloggy friend (whom I've only met in blogland). As I opened the card, a check slipped out. A check that was written for $2,000!!!! I fell to pieces before my God. I cried and sobbed and told Him that He is real. That He really does handle this kind of stuff. He spoke into my spirit and said so clearly, "I got it handled, Stacie. No need to worry anymore." I never worried about the rest of the money from that moment on. What a gift! He is so trustworthy. God has it all covered. There was some money in the state funds that they were able to access to help us out with the majority of it. $2,000 was all we needed. Can you believe it?!?!

He is for us, not against us. Will you trust Him with me?

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Weaver

The Weaver

My life is but a weaving
Between my Lord and me,
I cannot choose the colors
He worketh steadily.
Oftentimes He weaveth sorrow,
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
and I, the underside...
The dark threads are as needful
In the Weaver's Skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned.


There may be times in your life when it all seems dark and you cannot see or trace the hand of God, but yet God is working. Just as much as He works in the bright sunlight, He works all through the night.

There are those who suffer greatly, and yet through the recognition that pain can be a thread in the pattern of God's weaving, find the way to a fundamental joy.

I pray Lord Jesus, that you would weave me into a pattern that shows your character and likeness. I know this is not going to be an easy road. I never thought I would have to go through something like this. Weave a pattern that is beautiful, that makes sense and that has a purpose.

I can't see much beauty yet, but you are already there. You already know the future and you help me to rest in that knowledge.

Stitch by stitch, mend us. Weave us. Mold us. Carve us into what you want us to be.


Monday, May 7, 2012

A Strange, New Ministry

God is doing something new in my life. At first I was scared, but now I'm starting to get excited.

When I was pregnant with my first daughter 9 years ago, I was with a group of ladies at a good bye party for a dear friend. We started praying and a woman I had never met before asked me if she could pray for me. She felt like God had given her a word for me and asked if I wanted to hear it. Are you insane! Of course, I want to hear it!  This lady prophesied five different things over me. Some were almost immediately fulfilled, while others were to be fulfilled in the future. The one that stuck out the most for me was "You are being trained for something". Hmmmm, I have always thought that my ministry would be to wives and mothers. To encourage them in the Lord. I have written over a hundred devotions, been published in newsletters and small magazines, and I have this blog. I thought I had my ministry. Now I know that for nine 9 years, God has been training me for such a time as this. I never in my life dreamed I would be going through a trial like this. I never thought that pornography would tear our family apart. I never knew I would be a parent warning others about this destructive addiction.

One night about a month ago, I was half dreaming and half awake when this sermon started forming in my mind. It went on and on and on. After I really woke up, I realized that God had given me a vision for my future. He confirmed during my prayer time that I will be speaking publicly about our family's testimony. At this time, I was still so scared, ashamed and wanting to protect my children from embarrassment that I didn't want to share our story. I know God wants us to be honest about where we are and what has happened to us. He can't be glorified if we keep it all a secret and more importantly, Satan uses secrets against us.

There is a relief and peace that comes in knowing that I can now say (carefully) what has happened to us. There is hope in knowing that God can use our family's testimony to warn parents so that they will not have to experience the pain we have gone through.

When I realized what God was asking me, I started to panic. I asked all kinds of questions to God. I was wondering how I was going to raise a family, be a good wife and mother to my other five children and yet have a public ministry. God has asked me if I will trust Him with this. I told Him I would tell this one on one, to MOPS groups, to homeschool groups, or even to Dobson if that is what He asked me to do. Where He leads I will follow. I do know one thing, a ministry has been born.

Almost everyday, I have the privilege of God putting someone in my path whose lives have been affected by pornography. Others ask me all the time, "How can I protect my children?".  My favorites are your stories that either tell me in person or email me privately. I am amazed at how widespread this problem is. Some of you have been hiding it for years and years. The shame that is involved in these secret is unparalled. If we don't start talking openly about this stuff, then it will continue. More importantly, people will not heal.

I also have a real heart for homeschoolers in this area. I think we need to be careful about thinking our kids are in a bubble and that they are untouchable when it comes to this. It just ain't so.

Will you kneel and pray for me? I know the enemy does not want this message to get out. I know that I will no doubt come up against some intense spiritual warfare. "Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in this world."

I am grateful that my son is not trying to hide what he did. He is begging me to warn anyone who has ears to hear. This will be our legacy, our ministry. It was nothing that I ever wanted or could have predicted, but I know that God has put me on earth to fulfill His purposes. Am I willing? You bet! Will it be easy? No way! Nothing worthwhile ever is.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Divine Surgery

"When your dreams are shattered, pray for a new dream. Then you dream a new dream and you don't quit."-Unknown

Are sickness and hardship, then, always some divine "punishment" to turn us around? Of course not. Illness and injury and tribulations will come in this fallen world, just as our Lord told us they would. But how we respond to those hurtful events-no matter why they come into our lives-will lead us to the same bottom line.

We must bend our knees to King Jesus.

We must submit our lives and dreams and plans and hopes and fears and ambitions to God Most High, the heavenly Father who loves us so dearly. He who knows the beginning from the end knows precisely what He is doing in our lives, and we may trust Him without reservation. No matter what.

Is it possible that in the times of apparent darkness God is wanting to communicate something healing to you and me? I'm not saying we'll never feel the sword of God's Word cutting away the spiritual cancers in our innermost being. What I am saying that in the darkest of times, on the blackest of nights, God may be preparing us to receive the very thing we need.

Divine Surgery may not only save our lives, it may also achieve an extraordinary work within us that would be impossible to accomplish any other way.

It is only natural for us to be anxious. It's natural to ask questions of the surgeon. "How long will this take? Will this hurt? Will it work? Will I live? Is now the right time?"

I've chosen to believe in the Great Physician. He knows my medical history, His office is always open, and He still makes house calls.- Ron Mehl author of God Works the Night Shift

The past three months, I have been under the knife. Oh my, how it has hurt. It has purified the fake right out of me. It has made me press into Jesus and be grateful for my salvation. My relationship with Him has changed. It is fuller, richer and much more deep. I thank Him for rescuing me, loving me, being my Rock, my Healer.

When I felt I could hardly breathe because of the pain in my heart, I felt him actually give me breath. When I endured loss after loss, God was there to listen. When I felt like I was screaming and beating Him on the chest, asking Him "why?", I would end up at His feet. Weeping. Praying. Pouring my hurts out to Him. He cleansed me of my impure motives. He taught me to forgive in a way I never thought possible. He is teaching me to love the unlovable. He is teaching me how much He loves me.

As I move into our new kind of normal, I will go back and read my journals. I do not want to forget how the Lord answered prayer after prayer. How He provided for us in miraculous ways. I have so many stories to share now that I am on the other end of this. Some of these stories will blow your socks off!

Whatever you are going through right now, press in. He is faithful. He loves you and He wants to show you just how amazing He is! He doesn't promise to remove our circumstances, but he does promise to walk through them with us.
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