Love cuts the chains that cut our hearts and sets us free…Day 21…October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month



Hung over from too little sleep and a night intoxicated with lies, I struggle in prayer this morning.

Sitting alone in my little sanctuary at home, the sun streams warm through windows bare and a great expanse of blue smiles down, but I am not happy.

And sweat profuse mingles with tears until I am washed in a saline shower from His fount of Love.

This challenge confronted, Holy Spirit by my side, has been simmering on the back burner of my mind since the day after my birthday a couple of weeks ago.

And even longer.

October 9 marks the tenth anniversary of me giving the boot to a man who abused with his lips as well as limbs, and who injured my sons with his words, actions, edicts and extreme control. Those details are a story for another day as October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month. {And if you are in a bad situation and need help, call this confidential number 1-800-799-SAFE (0r 7233) or check out this website.}

So I get divorced from the man who hurts us, and a decade passes, and there are still certain days when a deeply unsettling spirit of unforgiveness and resentment hovers over my heart, chaining me to a past that God wants me to let go of.


Now letting go doesn’t mean that magically I have no recollection of the awful abuse, but means that no longer will my life be controlled by it.

Not even a little.

For Christ died to set me free. And heal my heart through a relationship with Him. BREAKingmeOUT into an abundant life here on earth as well as eternity with Him.

My life is wonderful now, but the taunts of the bully beaten by the Cross cause me to trip.

And when I allow myself to tangle in post traumatic stress over events that are over and can no longer hurt me, I am not living free.

And I think that must make God, who is a good Daddy who loves me and you like crazy, very sad for Christ’s love at Calvary cost Him everything.

So my prayers spill onto paper for 14 pages.

God shows me why unforgiveness towards my former abuser creeps in. Underscoring all, I hold myself in unforgiveness, utterly responsible, bound with guilt and shame and tormented by thoughts that my actions brought pain and sadness to my sons.

Yet they tell me they have forgiven me.

Telltale signs of their wounded childhood hearts poke through, and coming from a broken family of origin myself, that was the last thing I want to pass on.

And I can’t let go that I failed them, ruining everything.

Bad mommy.

Punishing myself unawares, I hold resentment towards me that festers deep and fractures wide where Christ wants to heal.

For certain days lo these ten years!


Stooping my shoulders and filling my eyes with tears that drench my couch all night long.

Only today is a new day full of God’s tender mercies. And He stirs memories because it’s time.

Time to let go and let God and leave the past in the past and live fully in the gift of each moment of this precious present.

And when all is said and done I share my story with a friend and share these words with you, feeling so much lighter.

No longer carrying something He long ago took away.

Asking His forgiveness for all my unforgiveness.

And for holding a ton of guilt and resentment.

And for falling prey to the enemy’s lies of condemnation.

There is therefore now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Romans 8:1

And then I ask myself to forgive myself.

And that is when the little girl lost inside starts weeping, and my heart goes out to her and I hug her close and tell her it’s okay.

For God works all things for good.

Even my sons’ brokenness is being healed each day as the good work He has begun in them — and me and you — He is continuing to complete.

So I write them each a letter ready for sending with one last sorry for the pain I brought into their lives when my foolish, broken heart didn’t trust God enough to hold me through the long, dark nights.

And I urge them to choose forgiveness all over again, searching their own hearts and releasing whatever God shows them.

For that is how Love cuts that chains that cut our hearts and make them bleed, causing us to limp painful.

And that is when Love sets us free…


Today’s post is Day 21 of a #31days series called First comes Love…

All the posts in the series can be found here. And so you don’t miss a single one, please subscribe here.

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As school buses roll…10 things you want your child to learn by heart


The last rose of summer has bloomed.


Harvest fullness fills the farm stand.


Shadows grow long and lean, and leaves curling on the limb fall softly.


Lines form with last minute shoppers jostling to be first, picking up school supplies.


And moms hurry kids to the ice cream stand for one last frozen treat before school buses roll.


It is the season of routines returning to rule the roost.

And alarms ringing in the early morning and backpacks lined up each night by the front door.

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And in the late afternoons moms will stop to chat until lumbering yellow pods deposit precious cargo into their waiting arms.


When my boys were little, with homework done and checked, I worried long into the night.

How would I train them to be men of integrity lacking the support of a mate and male role model at home?


BUS 3 - Copy

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BUS 1 - Copy

But Jesus.

Always Jesus.

My Maker Husband who is Father to the fatherless and Father to us all.

So I asked Him to help me raise them.

And along with reading, writing and arithmetic, many valuable lessons were impressed upon my heart that I wanted to teach my sons before they entered life’s big classroom.

Whether you are in or out of a marriage raising children, here are ten life skills that can help your youngsters as they travel the road to young adulthood.


FAITH — Without faith it is impossible to please God. Without faith, your children will be overcome with fears and subject to believe satan’s cunning lies that swirl all about in the world at large. So model well your belief to your babies.

These have come so that your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
1 Peter 1:7

And tell them that through a faith-filled relationship with God, they will grow into the men and women He has created them to be. And that He desires to have this sweet and personal relationship with them where they are free to share their hearts and minds, their joys and sorrows, their anger and their delights.


INTEGRITY — encompasses honesty and transparency and adhering to a code of moral excellence. It means being the same person doing the right thing consistently, especially when no one is looking.

And the place to learn integrity is in the gospels, by studying the life of Jesus Christ. The most moral Man-God to ever walk the earth. Read your children the stories of His life and ministry. How He obeyed and loved His parents, most especially His heavenly Father.

Be Jesus to your kids and pray without ceasing for them to surrender their hearts to Him early, for healing, guidance and life.


HUMILITY — be meek and modest and down to earth. Confess your own pride and arrogance and take your children to task when haughtiness puffs them up. No one of us is any better than the other, we all eat and sleep and are loved.

He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.
Psalm 25: 9

And Jesus leveled the playing field when He died for all of us. Him stooping low to wash the filthy feet of His beloved disciples and all of us dusty, errant sheeplings.

Show your sons and daughters what putting others first and treating people the way you want to be treated looks like. 


FORGIVENESS — is a vital key to freedom and life.

Personally and relationally, forgiveness can make or break you and your young ones. This was top among the lessons I taught my boys. Forgive those who have hurt you badly and love them anyway, giving respect and trusting God to make it all better.

And single moms and dads: NEVER bad mouth your ex-spouse.

Yes, it’s okay to simply, honestly state that their choices were bad, that their actions hurt. But so do ours, if we are honest. And as God forgives us we must forgive others.

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Matthew 6:14-15

If you perpetuate hatred towards your former husband or wife you will cripple your children spiritually and emotionally, passing on to them a root of bitterness that will defile many for years to come. And much good will be lost along the way.

So let go of the resentment and pain and forgive, teaching forgiveness as you do.

And when you have done something wrong — yelled too loudly, disciplined too severely, raged on the road while driving your kids to soccer practice — confess your sins to God and your children. Humble yourself and seek His forgiveness and theirs.


PURPOSE — I told my sons that God created them and each of us as unique gifts of love to a hurting world. That we are here on this planet to contribute the nougat of art in our hearts which is the essence of our purpose.

And their contributions will count for eternity. Living on purpose and fulfilling one’s destiny will also fill us with joy and contentment.

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


WORK ETHIC — We train our kids to pass the tests, make the grade, get the degree and go out and find a job so they can support themselves on the gerbil wheel of life as we know it.

I told my sons to follow their hearts first.

Absolutely pursue educational goals, but not for the outcome of the almighty paycheck. Find work that your heart will love by seeking God for direction. Then pursue it whole heartedly.

And this, along with everything else we teach our babies, can only spring to life from our life that is hidden with Christ in God.


MONEY — we need money to live in the world, and money can be a great asset for helping others if it is viewed and used properly, from God’s perspective. And money can aid us in many ways from affording health care to having fun.

But the love of money {making it an idol}  is the root of all evil.

As we teach our young ones to seek God for wisdom, He will direct them with a proper balance of caring for their own needs while reaching out to others.

Monetary income is the perfect deceiver of a man’s true worth. Every job from the heart is, ultimately, of equal value. The nurse injects the syringe; the writer slides the pen; the farmer plows the dirt; the comedian draws the laughter. ” ~ Criss Jami


MARRIAGE — is the sweetest gift on earth after knowing Jesus.

It is a blessing unlike anything I have ever known, two becoming one to the glory of God.

Marriage is a lifetime best friendship with boundless benefits that are kept safe within His hands through the state of holy matrimony.

Marriage helps us put away selfishness while grasping hold of the greater good which is learning to live like Jesus, surrendered to the Father’s will.

And while it is good to get your heart right with God through Christ, and to seek emotional healing from any childhood wounds, I have found that the most remarkable healing takes place within the marriage as both partners seek Him first and each other second, with self trailing far behind.

God heals us relationally within the context of relating to our partner because we are made for relationships.

And within the mystery of the marriage bond — reflecting Christ’s love for His bride, His believers — there is a magical transformation that can only be described as other worldly, of the heavenly realms, with purity, love and holiness perfecting each partner, making them whole.

Teach your young ones to seek God first when seeking a mate for life.

To listen to Him and follow His precepts for conduct in a God honoring way during courtship which means hands off and clothes on. {And for older kids who perhaps didn’t follow God’s route, there is always forgiveness and cleansing and being made new to follow more closely.}

Instruct them that the way to go higher in marriage is to drop dead lower in selfishness and pride, ridding one’s heart of the need to be boss and always right.

Male and female, we are co-heirs to the kingdom where His hierarchy of order is love and respect. And husband and wife each give deference to the other as the husband leads and the wife follows, not as a burden but as a gift to God and each other meant to set each mate free to be their best selves.

But it only works well when based upon the Rock that is Jesus Christ and His holy word, the Bible.


LOVE — is hands down and above all the most important lesson to model and teach our children as we all travel along life’s sometimes rocky highway.

Love is a choice of will, coupled with  sweet and inspiring feelings.

But the art of love is work and work can be hard.

Especially after a long day on the job with nothing left to to give one’s spouse. Teach you babies it is best to trust God and to live so tightly woven in Him that His word is part of the fabric of their being, hidden away yet close enough at a moments notice to provide the loving answer to a trying situation.

And love is in the little things. It is found in going the extra distance to close the gap between two hearts.

Love is not for the weak and lazy for it will require everything you have.

And love, which is a very tender and fragile gift, can be lost.

It will die from neglect and abuse. And love lost is a very lonely place to be.

Tell your boys and girls who seek to grow up, find a special love and be married, that we love because God first loved us and only in Him can we truly lay down our lives to love another sacrificially. As Christ did.

Help them memorize and practice First Corinthians 13 over and over.

As parents, our words will be empty and meaningless unless we live the life we are trying to impart.

So we begin at the beginning by grounding ourselves deeply in Him, the author and sustainer of Life. Our Rabbi, precious Teacher, source of all wisdom and love.

Not until we realize deep in our hearts that we are loved just as we are can we truly love God or any other human being.


PRAY — without ceasing. Pray about everything, big and small. Let your children see God work as He answers your prayers — with either a yes or a no.

Let prayer become as integral as breathing.

And prayer is simply talking to God from our hearts, good, bad or indifferent. He knows it all anyway. We can’t hide a thing from Him. So no need for high sounding words that mask your true self.

Pray real. Pray from your heart. Pray believing He hears and answers. Pray!


There are all these things to teach our children as they grow, and so much more.



The responsibility and privilege of training up young ones can seem overwhelming.

So mom, or dad, vest yourself fully in Him, letting Him always lead the way. Him the most important person in your life.

And by your example much will be caught…


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In our wilderness and waste, Help comes…




My heart is struck down like grass and has withered;
    I forget to eat my bread.
Because of my loud groaning
    my bones cling to my flesh.
I am like a desert owl of the wilderness,
    like an owl of the waste places;
I lie awake;
    I am like a lonely sparrow on the housetop.
Psalm 102: 4-7

It may have happened suddenly, or perhaps we saw it coming. And when it did we were devastated, barely able to breathe for the wind had been completely knocked out of us.

So we kicked and we cried. We grieved the loss and felt great pain – whether from an unwanted divorce, death of a beloved spouse or a child’s substance abuse – forgetting to eat and unable to sleep. Especially in a cold and lonely bed now half empty.

And we hugged ourselves to ourselves, and thought that we might die.

But we didn’t.

And one day we realized that we had to get up off the sofa and dry our tears and start moving forward. Especially if our babies were little and they needed us to be fully present each day.

Daytime was doable because the hours sped by full of activity, but in the evenings, as night fell and the house settled, the places in our soul deeply wounded start to scream, and everyone falls asleep.

But not us.

We lie awake, or we shed tears in the shower with hot water soothing muscles tense from the sad and sorry burden we shoulder each day.

And we can feel deserted, like a solitary owl lost in a vast wilderness.

Cold and all alone, bereft of hope or joy.

Yet we are never alone. The Lover of our soul is always with us.

He has promised never to leave, never to abandon us. And all of His promises are yes and amen.

And this is where we find our hope. This is the way out to a new beginning.

This is where strength soars. And it is there for the taking and He gives generously, as gently He prods us to take the next step and do the next right thing in a life we never wanted yet now have.

And His word says all the darkness is being worked for good, ultimately, even though our eyes cloud with tears and we wonder how that could ever be possible.

So we choose to trust.

We hold His hand.

Wait to see if new dreams might come true.

And in the still place a single sparrow, uncoupled like us, is truth in motion. Our Father loves every single one of them that has ever spread its wings across the sky.

He loves us so much more.

He is our greatest comfort and truth heals.

Southern Utah desert

We look to the hills.

Help has come…



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A Heart Reflected



A single Saturday…or how He holds a woman’s heart through the seasons…

Pretty petunias in summer

Enjoying your deck in the summer


SUN (2)

It’s just me at home this Saturday.

My Michael is out for most of the day and I am home with Jesus who is with me always.

I take a break from my to-do list and sit on the deck letting the sun’s rays relax the stress away.

And the lushness of summer in full bloom is lovely all around me. I drink in delight, thankful for the gift of beauty He gives me right outside the French doors.

I breath deep and let go.

And this is a summer of leavings. Three of my dearest girlfriends have relocated, all hours away. First Marie, then Cindy and finally Georgette.

We will be leaving our home, my Michael and me, very likely by the end of summer, as a bid has been offered.

My son is leaving today, too.

He and his wife fly back to Utah tonight. Giving and receiving farewell hugs and tender I love you’s tug my mother’s heart.

In the last two years all my boys left home. I run my finger over a small slip of paper that has hung in my kitchen cupboard all these years. The one Matt scratched with simple words of love and a silly picture. And the empty nest aches, uncomfortably different from the fullness of the baby days when there was barely enough time to catch my breath.

love notes from a child


Michael stops home during his busy day — perfectly choreographed, thank you Lord, to coincide with Matt and Tiff’s unscheduled arrival from their dad’s — and gives hugs to them and a kiss to me as he heads back out.

I wave from the steps, close the door behind me and slide my favorite James Taylor CD into place, hitting play.

And I let go some more.

In the stillness today my mind returns to a Saturday years ago when I was divorced and my boys were with their dad for the weekend. My plans with friends had fallen through at the last minute.

It was another beautiful summer’s day and I started my “day off” with a long prayer walk at a nature preserve in a neighboring town. Then I picked up something special to eat for dinner later on and came home and read a bunch of magazines on the deck all afternoon. My single mom self relishing the R&R.

And in the solitary singleness of those years, those  long and sometimes desperately lonely years, my woman’s heart fell more deeply in love with Jesus Christ. He was {and is} my best friend forever, a faithful partner, the lover of my soul.

Though I was alone, I wasn’t.

He was there with me, listening to the murmurings of my heart. His word echoing through the emptiness how much He loves me. Wiping tears away time after time.

And dear woman reading this now, He is there for you, too, whatever the season of your life.


The treats I had purchased that afternoon years ago became the makings of a special Saturday night date with my Lord.

I set two places, making the table really pretty.

I lit the candles.

I wore my little black dress.

James Taylor played softly in the background.

And at the stroke of eight, as well as every moment of every day, He was there with me.

My beautiful Lord.

We dined together that night {although He didn’t eat a bite!} and I felt him gazing into the depths of my single woman’s soul. Enraptured by His love, He made me feel beautiful. No longer abandoned and forsaken, He made me feel wanted.

His healing grace penetrating my broken heart.

Slipping between the sheets, I felt wrapped in His love, protected by His presence. An ever present gift.

And He, with me always, sent sweet dreams that keep coming true



Heart Cry by Sheila KimballIs someone you know hurting? Or maybe your own heart is breaking? Heart Cry, 40 Reflections for a Woman’s Soul  Purchase your copy today at our Heart Cry eStore.

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Linking with Sandra.

A road map for newly marrieds…Or how to keep your marriage together in a world that’s splitting apart

Young marrieds

The best way to begin a marriage is to start with the end in sight.

What are your dreams, your hopes and even your fears? Envision the outcomes you want for your marriage and future family from the moment you say, “I do.”

Having a firm idea of where you want to end up and how you will get there can help you step off on solid footing in the most daring adventure in life.


Couples who are wise will build their marriage on the principles of the living word of God. After all, marriage was His idea.

God said, “It’s not good for the Man to be alone; I’ll make him a helper, a companion.” So God formed from the dirt of the ground all the animals of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the Man to see what he would name them. Whatever the Man called each living creature, that was its name. The Man named the cattle, named the birds of the air, named the wild animals; but he didn’t find a suitable companion.

God put the Man into a deep sleep. As he slept he removed one of his ribs and replaced it with flesh. God then used the rib that he had taken from the Man to make Woman and presented her to the Man.

    The Man said,
“Finally! Bone of my bone,
    flesh of my flesh!
Name her Woman
    for she was made from Man.”
    Therefore a man leaves his father and mother and embraces his wife. They become one flesh.
    The two of them, the Man and his Wife, were naked, but they felt no shame.
Genesis 2:18-25The Message

So think deep and long about what you each value, discussing what life means and understanding why we all are here. And don’t forget to make our Father above a founding member of your union.

Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
    and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
    But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
    two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Ecclesiastes 4:10-12

As life partners who are equal in essence, but different in function — both husband and wife bearing the image of God — choose to lay down selfishness, immaturity, anger and always having to be right, for the better gifts of unity, wisdom, peace, joy and love.

This is especially important for young marriages from families of origin that have experienced divorce, addictions, abuse or some other type of trauma. You may have never learned what a healthy marriage looks like.

And trauma leaves us wounded.

When we are wounded — like an animal bleeding in the woods — we can be dangerous to each other. In licking our wounds from yesterday, we go for our mate’s juggler today, shredding his or her heart in the process.

And we will tear down our marriage with our own hands.

As a 20-something bride from a less than functional family, I fussed over wedding details, stuffed my suitcases for the honeymoon, and angrily dragged a lot of heavy baggage into my first marriage.

Sparks flew until my marriage burned to a crisp and all I had left was a broken heart, children who were hurting, mounting bills and a pile of ashes.

So, dearest couple, don’t do it.

Don’t make yourself number one in marriage. Let God be the most important person and serve your spouse before yourself.

Cherish each other and all the precious moments of marriage. Be grateful and compliment each other ten times more than complaining. Go out of your way to do something nice just because. And don’t sweat the small stuff.

Seek to protect and grow your marriage daily by learning how to love each other well. Read a daily dose of 1 Corinthians 13: 4-13. We prefer the J.B. Phillips translation for this passage.

This love of which I speak is slow to lose patience—it looks for a way of being constructive. It is not possessive: it is neither anxious to impress nor does it cherish inflated ideas of its own importance.

Love has good manners and does not pursue selfish advantage. It is not touchy. It does not keep account of evil or gloat over the wickedness of other people. On the contrary, it is glad with all good men when truth prevails.

Love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything. It is, in fact, the one thing that still stands when all else has fallen…

When I was a little child I talked and felt and thought like a little child. Now that I am a man my childish speech and feeling and thought have no further significance for me…

In this life we have three great lasting qualities—faith, hope and love. But the greatest of them is love.

Don’t ever let love fail.

Be ready always to say “I’m sorry” and “I forgive you.”

Quit being contentious, choosing to fight or demanding your own way. Fights begin because we don’t get what we want. We fight because we prefer “me” over “we.”

Sometime, we fight, get angry, or become bossy and controlling because we are afraid and hurting inside. We erroneously believe we must be strong and hard with protective walls in place, controlling everything all the time, because we fear getting hurt like we’ve been hurt before.

Only this time isn’t like before.

This time is for real and for keeps and unless you are wise, you may lose it all. So when you don’t know what to do in your marriage, or in life, ask God. Simply stop and pray.

If needed seek help from a professional counselor, pastor or an older, wiser married couple. And get your heart healed and work on any weak points in your marriage before the babies start coming.

If you and your spouse have major areas of difference start addressing them now. Gently. And trusting that your common goal is a better, stronger marriage with the building up of each other in love.

And though your past can contribute to the destruction of all you cherish in marriage, please do not use your past hurts as an excuse to behave badly in any relationship. You always have the choice to change. So choose wisely.

But you can’t do this alone. You need God.

Open your heart to the One who loves you so much that He died for you.

Nothing you have done, nothing that has ever been done to you, will ever make Him love you less. He takes you just as you are because you are His. He will never let you go not even when you run away from Him out of shame or fear or pride.

When both spouses put their faith, hope and trust in God through Jesus Christ miracles can happen. Marriages grow strong and healthy, broken marriages are repaired and a solid foundation is created for a future family.

Couple sleeping and hugging on the bed in bedroom

But when you fight, fight fair.

Fight the issues, not each other. At the end of the day you’ll sleep in the same bed so remember you are best friends with your spouse and never go to bed angry with each other.

Sometimes when me and my Michael are having a disagreement, one or the other of us extends a hand and asks, “Should we pray?” Holding each others’ hand — a simple gesture of physical touch and connectedness — can remind us that we are in this together. We are not each others’ enemy.

But the enemy of all of our souls is a  formidable foe who diligently works to harden hearts, lead us astray and destroy us, our marriages, and all we hold dear.

For there is no higher example on earth of the relationship between Christ and His beloved believers than a God honoring marriage where husband and wife consistently lay down their lives and their selfishness, to serve one another in love.

And when we don’t hold God’s design of marriage in high esteem, when we make little idols out of ourselves, we can wind up with a no-one-wins-but-the-lawyers divorce.

The scars of that heartbreak will be with you for a lifetime for when two whom God has joined together split apart, it is messy and painful. And even 20 years down the road something simple may trigger a flash back to the loss and your heart in that moment breaks again.

You will cry for what you have lost, realizing that your poor choices created irrevocable consequences and what is gone is gone.

Then you will remind yourself you have been forgiven for your part in the divorce, but the pain of the split and all its ugly fallout will wrack your body and wreck your soul and the only thing that will save you is His grace.

Amazing grace.

God tells us in Malachi 2:16 that He hates divorce. I think He hates it because of all the heartbreak it causes.

Marriage is a sacred covenant bond created by Him for companionship between one man and one woman. It is a laboratory for learning to love and a crucible for healing. It is the only place to enjoy God’s luscious gift of lovemaking and the best place for raising children.


So when you say I Do, mean it.

And then work hard every day to learn how to be a good wife or a good husband. Extend grace to each other, ascribing the best intentions to the others’ heart when they do something you do not like. And love and pray for each other all the time.

Set your heart and mind on God and know that in marriage your only option is success…


{If you are in an abusive marriage, or where there is unrepentant adultery or addiction, seek professional intervention immediately.}

Maybe someone you know would benefit from reading this post. Please share it with others? And if you would like to receive our new posts as we publish them, subscribe now for free! For your FREE copy of BREAKOUT Manifesto…When you’re ready to break free of your brokenness, click HERE.


Thank you, Kendra, for featuring this post on Living Proverbs 31.

Linking with A Proverbs 31 Wife.

Linking with Jolene.

Linking with Beth.