When was the last time you received a love letter?

LOVED BY GOD

Every so often when I least expect it I find a plain white envelope with my name on it. Yellow legal pad pages inside are full of loving sentiments and exhortations in a flourishing script.

And I am thankful once again for my husband’s heart that loves the Lord most of all, and me next, with utter devotion.

The fact that he’s a novelist and a romantic produces beautiful letters that I treasure and re-read.

Especially when my Michael may need to travel and is away for a few days.

Seeing his words in print reassures my heart, making me long for his return.

LOVE LETTER

It wasn’t always like this for me.

My story contains some severely dark chapters including divorce, abuse and heartbreak.

I was often alone.

The wee small hours of the morning would find me still and sitting in the darkness quiet before my single parent household awoke and three boys went bolting from the gate. My often aching heart clutching the love letter from the One who loves me best of all.

Jesus.

His words were a balm for my emotional bruises. I drank it in one daily dose at a time, His love healing me.

Our God of wonders, our Wonderful Counselor, shares words of beauty for you and me throughout the ancient text, a story of romance and redemption from start to finish.

BIBLE LOVE LETTER

Greatest love story ever told.

We may not be able to gaze directly into the eyes of Jesus right now, but we can peer into His heart. His word comforts us with the truth that He is coming back for us.

He will not leave us alone.

And when He returns He will hold us in the sweetest embrace and our hearts will beat as if they had never broken.

Wherever you find your heart today — in a loving marriage, divorced and hurting, single and longing, or missing someone so much you can barely breathe another breath, let God’s word slip inside your heart each day.

Grace, truth and love will kiss your pain line upon line.

Delight in His word as you would words from your lover for He is the Lover of your soul, your Maker who is your husband.

The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.
John 15:9

I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving kindness.
Jeremiah 31:3

But God demonstrates his own love for you in this: While we were still sinners,
Christ died for you.
Romans 5:8

Because of his great love for you, God who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2:4

Love never ends.
1 Corinthians 13:8

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
Matthew 28:20

His love letter written in 66 books can be opened any moment, night or day.

Words of love and exhortation offering hope for you and me.

All of us the darlings of His heart…

~sheila

Is your heart breaking? Or someone you know hurting?
Purchase your copy of Heart Cry today by clicking here.

Heart Cry by Sheila Kimball

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

SANCTUARY 1

SANCTUARY 2

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.

Completely.

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!

JOURNAL

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…

~sheila

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.

MKS Headshot POSTAGE STAMP 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! Please LIKE our Facebook page. Or FOLLOW us on Twitter. For your FREE copy of BREAKOUT Manifesto…When you’re ready to break free of your brokenness, click HERE.

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

LAST ROSE

The last rose of summer has bloomed.

SUMMER FULLNESS

Harvest fullness fills the farm stand.

SHADOWS

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

SUPPLIES

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

JOES DAIRY 2

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

RULES

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.

BUS - Copy

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

STAIR TRIO

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?

BACKPACK

BUS 3 - Copy

BUS 2 - Copy

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.

CLASS MOM

CLASSROOM

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…

~sheila

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View from Longings End…When brothers dwell in unity

BROS 1

BROS 2

BROS 3

BROS 4

BROS 5

Behold, how good and pleasant it is
    when brothers dwell in unity!
It is like the precious oil on the head,
    running down on the beard,
on the beard of Aaron,
    running down on the collar of his robes!
It is like the dew of Hermon,
    which falls on the mountains of Zion!
For there the Lord has commanded the blessing,
    life forevermore.
Psalm 133

When these three young men, my sons, were little I would always tell them,

God has made you brothers, God wants you to be best friends.

And through the years of hardship and trials after their dad and I divorced they cemented a bond that only brothers can share. And perhaps it was even tighter because of the loss the family suffered.

They said they would stick together come what may.

And when son#2 (red shorts) relocated out west to be closer to his girlfriend, and son#1 (center) took his bride and followed, then son#3 said to me, “Mom, my brothers are my best friends. I miss them. I’m going too,” and I realized just how powerful those words of mine had been all those years earlier.

They live short distances from each other in the same city surrounded by mountains and this mama and her Michael have to travel far to see all three together again, like they were in these photos from Mother’s Day 2011, before the nest emptied inside of 13 months!

And while divorce fractures and disrupts the unity, our great God binds up our wounds and cements our bonds of love in relationships that go the distance no matter how many miles may separate.

Whether we are brothers or sisters, husbands or wives, parents and children — the Lord wants us to live in unity.

As God’s prisoner, then, I beg you to live lives worthy of your high calling. Accept life with humility and patience, making allowances for each other because you love each other. Make it your aim to be at one in the Spirit, and you will inevitably be at peace with one another. You all belong to one body, of which there is one Spirit, just as you all experienced one calling to one hope. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God, one Father of us all, who is the one over all, the one working through all and the one living in all.
Ephesians 4:1-3

~sheila

 

Wishing you weekend blessings of summer wonderment, my friends…

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LINKING WITH SOME OF THESE LOVELY BLOGS:
Jolene at Alabaster Jar; Laura at The Wellspring; Ruth at GraceLaced Mondays; Fay at Happy Wives Club; Naomi at What Joy is Mine, Monday Musings; Kendra at A Proverbs 31 Wife; Elizabeth at Marriage Mondays; Kathy at Cornerstone Confessions, Titus 2 Tuesday; Lauren at Mercy Ink Blog; Beth at Messy Marriage; Rosalind at A Little R&R; Kate at Teaching What is Good, Women Helping Women; Jennifer at Tell His Story; Tracy at My Daily Walk in His Grace, Winsome Wednesday; Shell at Intentional.Me, Thought Provoking Thursday; Serenity Now Weekend Bloggy Link UpWomanhood with Purpose Friday Link UpFaithful Fridays.
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Moms the Word

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In our wilderness and waste, Help comes…

NODESERT 1

DESERT 5

DESERT 2

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…

~sheila

 

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LINKING WITH SOME OF THESE LOVELY BLOGS:
Jolene at Alabaster Jar; Laura at The Wellspring; Ruth at GraceLaced Mondays; Fay at Happy Wives Club; Naomi at What Joy is Mine, Monday Musings; Kendra at A Proverbs 31 Wife; Elizabeth at Marriage Mondays; Kathy at Cornerstone Confessions, Titus 2 Tuesday; Lauren at Mercy Ink Blog; Beth at Messy Marriage; Rosalind at A Little R&R; Kate at Teaching What is Good, Women Helping Women; Jennifer at Tell His Story; Tracy at My Daily Walk in His Grace, Winsome Wednesday; Shell at Intentional.Me, Thought Provoking Thursday; Serenity Now Weekend Bloggy Link UpWomanhood with Purpose Friday Link UpFaithful Fridays.
Saturday Share Fest

TGIF at Bible Love Notes

Spiritual Sundays

The Sunday Community

A Heart Reflected