Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Picket List

Dear Over Koffee Readers...

I have sincerely appreciated your interest in my family through reading this blog.  It has uplifted my spirits to see your support in so many page views.  Today I am going to link you to a new blog that my friend, author, and photographer, Sarah, has helped me to create.  God is taking me in a new direction in being intentional about what I write.   Over Koffee, as you well know, is one of more journal style, and initially it was intended for my husband to participate as well.  That season is past...for now anyway.  This does not mean that Over Koffee is being deleted, because I still think there will be a season to come back to this....with my husband, but right now my focus will be at The Picket List.  I invite y'all to come on over for a visit and stay as long as you like!  This door is open to all...so bring your friends too :)

Still Enjoying my Kup....
                                          Cindy

Friday, September 21, 2012

Cindy's Testimony

  Jesus saved me as a child of 10 yrs in a junior children's church.  I recited the simple prayer of salvation as the teacher fed me and other children that walked forward words that would lead us to accepting Jesus into our hearts. Salvation was instant; Jesus sealed my spirit with the stamp of the Holy Spirit, and because of my childlike faith I became a child of God.  A transformed life, however, has been a very slow process since that day.

 I was raised in a Christian home with loving parents and 3 younger sisters, and really was not a rebellious child; more anxious to be a pleaser instead.  No, rebellion didn’t enter into my life until I was 30…go figure!  I married my husband at 22 (and he 32), had my 3 healthy babies before I was 30, and struggled to identify the chaos inside of me during those first several years.  When the baby of the three was born it was later diagnosed that my body was experiencing Chronic Fatigue Syndrome piggy-backed with Cyclical Depression.  My arms annoyingly ached progressively and the depression taunted me more days out of the month than not.   I fought with my emotions daily to the point of suicidal thoughts (which never played out, praise God!).  The picture I saw in my mind was being trapped in a dark pit with no light.  God protected me, however, through my baby.  She was the content one of them all as an infant, and I found comfort in holding and nurturing her…and she is what kept my mind off the darkness.   

As a result, our marriage was floundering, heading down the road that this world most often sees nowadays.  My husband would come home from work daily only to see that the house was a complete mess, and I was still in my robe holding my infant, lying on the couch reading Danielle Steele books!  He could not understand this nonsense, and, frankly, I could not either; I could not explain to him the hellish feelings, the physical tightness of my head, the contradicting thoughts of suicide and then love…it was impossible for me to voice at that time.  Among the outer chaos I had a 2 year old bouncing off the walls vying for ANYbody’s attention…especially mine!  And my 4 year old coped with mommy’s moodiness by hermit-ting in her bedroom playing with her dolls.  It was not a positive time in the Davis Family’s life.  We did not have the understanding to move forward in a good way…we moved forward, but with an incredible amount of weight on our life.  

We moved a lot during this time, because of discontentment and unhappiness; and every time we moved I would entertain the thought that MAYbe life would get better, issues would resolve themselves; but they didn’t, they only grew worse.  During that season we attended a church that we helped start in the first year of our marriage.  We had a good support group.  It took me a year after my 3rd was born, though, to speak out the struggle inside of me.  I was at a women’s bible study and prayer requests were being offered, and I felt the prompting (you know, the pounding of the heart…that’s how the Holy Spirit prompts me) to voice my struggle.  Tearfully I shared that morning, and it was freeing to say the least.  A flicker of light started to shine in that dark pit that I had been trapped in…because these women could identify with the struggle.  When I heard them say that they had been through the same issues (post pardom depression, suicidal thoughts, stress, etc.), Hope began to enter into my hopelessness.  I was validated for the first time, and for the first time I didn’t feel like I was the ONLY woman that went through what I was going through.  I hadn’t realized the commonality of these issues, and oh! What a relief it was to not feel singled out.

During this enlightenment I sought out medical advice from my family Doctor, who prescribed an anti-depressant.  It helped some to keep me “stable” and made me groggy too; and I really did not care for being controlled by a substance…still don’t.  This took care of depression for a time, but it did not resolve the marriage troubles.  Finances were unkempt and confusing, we were behind in everything and could not seem to ever get out of that black hole of debt.  I became bitter and resentful while my husband did his best with what he knew how to do (clearly, I see that now).  He held the job and I “held” the kids, the laundry, the whatever-it-was-I-did-at-home (it’s a blur); and my heart was beginning to become hardened, critical, and self-pitying.  I was an ugly person on the inside (of course I didn’t realize that then…this is all hindsight).  I became the self-righteous wife that did absolutely nothing wrong, but held accountable everything HE did that was not right; namely, the finances.  I felt very insecure and blamed him for not making enough money for us to “make it”.

Meanwhile my husband’s mother passed away suddenly and it devastated all of us.  It drew us together for a while, as sorrow most often does in marriages; however,  shortly after the funeral, my husband took a job transfer away from home and moved the family to the big city.  It was depressing because we had to live in a motel room, but it was only for a month before we found a small apartment.  Cost of living was extremely high though, and this did not help our situation.  Again, my emotions ran high, I wanted to move back home, nothing was going right…by me.  I took a part-time job working for the same retail company my husband was working for but in a different location.  I actually liked what I was doing, getting out of the house while my oldest was in Kindergarten and the other two stayed home with daddy (we worked opposite shifts I guess, I don’t remember).  But it only took a few weeks of working, coming home to a stressful home, and wanting so much to move back to where we had support, to gather enough fantasy-making ideas to drum up the courage to do the unthinkable to my family.  

 I ran away.   

I had a backpack full of clothes for a few days and hid it under my bed.  I headed out the door one morning while the rest of the family was asleep; this was routine when I went to work.  I drove the same direction towards work, the only difference was, I didn’t turn on the off ramp to go to work, but kept going straight in the direction of where my sister lived, two hours away.  My wallet was deplete of money (what was I thinking!?), just my clothes and my “fantastical freedom”.  Or so I thought. 

Caught by surprise, my sister still welcomed me in.  She and her husband took me out to dinner, and allowed me to stay the night; but not without the tender questions.  And then the guilt entered in, and I was overwhelmed with conflicting emotions; I felt convicted to call my husband to tell him I was ok and where I was.  Oh! The fear I arose in that man (he called all the hospitals in the area!), the confusion I caused in my little girls (more so with my oldest,  she was 5 yrs old, the other two were not old enough to consider what was happening), and the disappointment that haunted me all night.  I was not free. 

The bird had flown the coop only to find out that the coop was indeed inside a larger holding cage.

I went home the next day to a merciful husband who embraced me and a little 5 yr old girl asking, “mommy why did you leave without saying goodbye?  My heart sank, and I wanted to die.    

Soon after this “event” we moved to the high desert that was soon to be a 4 hour drive to work round trip for my husband; but it was much more affordable.  The temperatures during the summer were 110 degrees every day, and of course it was 3 months of the summer that we stayed put.  It was during this season of driving for my husband and lots of pool time for us girls that life turned for the worse.  Finances were worse and out of control, communication between my husband and I was zilch, we were miserable, temptations rose to their heights, and resistance to those temptations was counteracted by self-pity, self-righteousness, and lack of self-control…and I’m talking about me here.  My mind was heading for divorcing my husband and voiced it a few times.  He sadly, but willingly, moved out and bedded down closer to work, while I continued the fantasy that we were already divorced; and during this deceitful time I searched the scriptures inside and out for any justifiable way out of this marriage.  He had to be unfaithful to me in order for divorce to “biblically” take place.  So, with ignorance and foolishness, I prayed just that…that he would make the choice of unfaithfulness.

Little did I know that my faithfulness was being tested, and I failed disastrously.  Slap the scarlet letter on me, because I just gave my husband a justifiable reason to divorce me!   

I became the adulterer. 

My husband found out, threw up, was tempted to take the girls and go away…but he did not.  Again, grace was given to me and my husband yearned for me to come back to him.  The humbling part of all this was how God was working in my husband during this knowledge of sin.  I was away on a “getaway” to my parents house seeking out divorce lawyers, and he stayed home with the girls.  As he was busy puking, the thoughts of “how could I have let it get this far” came into being and God was putting forgiveness into his heart already.  On the other hand, I was already divorced in my mind and had not acted on the conviction that was very gently poking my heart of sin yet.

When my husband called to inform me that he knew what I had done (via a journal that I kept on our shared computer. I had written all the hurts that I was experiencing from my husband, that he hadn't known about previous) and that he read my journal, he was, in one sentence, threatening to take the girls and wanting me to come home.  I was angry and hurt and did not want any part of him anymore, but I listened anyway.  The conversation eventually ended with an agreement that he and the girls join me at my folks and I agreed to go see our Pastor together.   

My pastor asked me, “are you willing to give your marriage another try?  and I replied, “what do I do about my feelings for this other man?  He said the most profound thing he could have ever said to me…because it snapped me out of myself.   

He said, “That is just a fantasy, it is not real.”   

And something inside me changed, and the next thing I said was, “what. Did. I. do?”  What did I just do to my family?  I was horrified.  I was devastated.  I felt dirty.  I felt ashamed.  I felt disgusted. Sick. 

 But God. 

Where there is Truth spoken there is freedom!
And that’s when the healing began.

We began to reconcile our marriage.  We moved back to “home” where all our support had been.  God brought me a prayer partner that lasted a year and a half, meeting together weekly and having positive words spoken into me and about my husband, things that I hadn’t realized that I was taking for granted in him.  Oh what a wonderful time that was!  My husband was meeting with a small group of men as well.

During this year of reconciliation the Lord prompted me to write a 12 week devotional for a group of people that I had worked with; one devo per week.  That was an amazing time of growth in my life; that of hearing God in the wee hours of the night, and learning to step out of my comfort zone.  It was a glorious year of renewal and rest, spiritual growth and grace, and personal thanksgiving of God’s mercy that I had not contracted a disease or was pregnant.  Even though that year still came with it’s own struggles, we were on the road of healing.  And then it happened. 

Almost a year later to the day of my sin, I received an email from my husband that would have answered my “prayer” a year previous; you know, the justifying factor for divorce.  It was a letter of shame, and guilt, and asking for forgiveness, but understanding if I did not; it was a letter of confession and coming clean; a letter from a man that was releasing a very heavy load that he had been carrying for a very long time.  Yet, I was still devastated. I won’t go into the details of his end because that’s his testimony, but I will share that his sin happened a year after we were married…8 years before this email.    I called my prayer partner and she rushed over to be with me.  We prayed, we cried, and we talked.  And the choice that I made that August day was 

I will stay with my husband because I do not want to miss out on God’s blessings.”   

Do you see how God worked in this?  I had to forgive my husband because a year before I had received the same forgiveness…and that’s how God works.  His grace is sufficient. 

This is when the spirit of ministry entered into our hearts as a couple.  God was creating good out of the bad in our life to be able to identify with other couples going through similar circumstances.  And I would share with the women who wanted to give up, “the grass is definitely NOT greener on the other side, it’s prickly, painful, poisonous, full of pride, deceitful, and harmful to you and others around you; it leaves scars!”  And my husband would speak to the men about loving their wives like Christ loved the church.   God began to “train us up” as I was mentored into leading worship in corporate church settings; and my husband began to have a heart to seek out ministry opportunities instead of the retail he was working in.  And God provided 9 months after I chose to stay with my husband.  We moved several states away to our first ministry position in the Christian Camping world that was located in the beautiful Northern part of the Sangre de Cristo mountains in Colorado… and from there God continued to move us like he did with Abraham.  We were learning to obey when He called us to move…and blessings followed.

That was my 30’s.  And then I turned 40 when I thought life was only going to get better.  I had imagined that 40 was a magic number and “poof!” things changed!  You see the marriage still had work, and I still needed more transformation, a heart remolding, because every now and then the past temptations would haunt me and I would entertain the thoughts…never acted upon them…and God would always remind me “My forgiveness will not be mocked!” and I would be allowed to remember the details of my sin.  God will always have the victory! 

 And He will always pick me back up and dust me off to set me on that continued path that He sets before me. 

Nevertheless, 40 came with, yet, a new set of difficult circumstances all it’s own.  It was a year of physical pain and relational heartache.  I was scheduled for my first Mammogram and I had heard rumors of the horrors of the event.  But that wasn’t horrible at all; what brought horror to my life was the phone call I received two days after the procedure letting me know that another Mammogram was crucial as soon as possible to view an area that looked abnormal.  The memory of my mom with a mastectomy due to breast cancer and the death of my Aunt at 39 years of age for the same, penetrated my inward being, and my life fell apart in an instant. I sobbed in my husband’s arms, and all the imaginings of “what if’s” came into view, and that made me cry even more.  My husband sent out an email of urgent request to all of our friends for intercession on my behalf that day.  It was a day of embrace, not only to each other, but embracing all the things we should not take for granted…like family. 

The 2nd Mam came out normal and we praised God and did not forget His faithfulness to us. 

A couple of months later a couple of close friends turned on me …my perspective of course.  I thought I had been a good friend when speaking truth into them, because I felt God was prompting me to do this.  I had asked permission from my friends to do so in fact, but the relationships turned and I took it very personally because it was hurtful and offensive as they criticized and harassed my family and me.  Unfortunately, we had to cut them off completely; and because of this I became cautious with future possible relationships with women.  

 But God!  

 Within the past year and a half God has worked on me in this area and has taught me how to forgive…again!  He has introduced me to the topic of soul ties…positive and negative ones.  He has identified for me more in detail what my ministry is…and guess what?  It’s to women…shocking!  And now more reconciliation has been introduced back into my life with these past relationships, and what freedom that brings!

Here we are, now, in Red River, NM, located in the Southern part of the Sangre de Cristo mountains…which, interestingly is translates “blood of Christ” (and that’s no coincidence in light of what God has done for the Davis Family), our 11th move since that first year of ministry, 9 1/2 yrs later, and 7 states pinned. What an adventure it has been, the journey of a life-time!   

To this day, I do not take any meds for depression, because I was healed in Jesus Name 4 years ago at the church we are now attending … for the 3rd time.  I still claim that healing!  My marriage with Steve is a whole lot healthier and freeing…and in fact we will be married for 20 years come November…, our finances are in order and we are living by faith, our girls are grown up in the Lord and seeking Him daily as they venture out in the world of public high school, and we are once again living in a motel room…well, 2 bedrooms and a living area, but in different circumstances and hearts full of joy seeking God in Everything we do and say.  Jesus is our Lord, He is our Provider, He is our Healer and there is not another life that I’d run to that would be more thrilling than this life I live now.  Everything in my past, my rebellion and sin, I know is forgiven and forgotten, and I only talk about it to bring Hope where hopelessness invades, hoping and praying that but one heart might come to a saving knowledge of my Savior, Jesus Christ.

The journey continues…

Embracing My Kup...
                                    Cindy

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Readying Ourselves (Revised)

We are discovering (after 26 moves) that we were created for change, wired for moving, connected to the calling of Jesus' ministry through our life.  From one project to the next we journey; an adventure that will not be justified by man, nor defended by ourselves, but Jesus. He is our advocate.  Whether the stay be a week, two months, a year, or six; only He decides when to take us from this place to that.  We are only to stand and be ready.

It will only be eight months and He will move us onward to another mission.  Our purpose here is finished, and only He knows what exactly that purpose was in the great scheme of things....we have an idea, but only a smidgen.  The next direction has not been revealed to us as of yet, and come August 31st (our last day working at Hope House) we are trusting that word will be spoken as to the where and the what.  Jesus asks us to have faith and trust Him in everything, and so we are and we will.  We are only to stand and be ready.

Our bags are getting packed, our things are being separated...some for keeping, others for the yard sale, trying to figure out what we will be needing for this next thing.

Our emotions are kept at bay as "the children are not to be told until the last week" (emphatically spoken, and not by us). And this I mean the children that live at Hope House.  Our own children are always in the loop, and we stand together, praying together, being ready together ;0)
 

*sigh*

One thing for sure, though, I will not be shaken.   My God is Greater and "...the hand of the Lord is powerful..."  Joshua 4:24.

Joy in my kup...
               Cindy

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Engulfed

WOW... it's been 6 months since we arrived Hope House Children's Home and I've only written two posts here.  That should tell y'all how engulfed we've been in this ministry.  

Engulfed and overwhelmed most often, yet able to grab hold of those little nuggets of golden moments and opportunities that God allows us amidst the seemingly seamless inner turmoil that these kids live with day-in and day-out.  

They are stretched like rubber bands through love-based disciplines and structure; and just like rubber bands, they bounce back when spiritually and emotionally "wrestled" with by nameless, invisible enemies (only I believe there are names for them).  Many know how to survive, they've had to, and these are some of the toughest "skin" to break thru.  Hard shells covering the most tender hearts; if only to be allowed a glimpse.  


Sweet smiles, heart-breaking tears, bubbling laughter, shocking outbursts; all consuming to the one being engulfed by the contagiousness of it all.

This ministry is easy; it's difficult; it's humbling; it's infectious; it's exhausting; it's rewarding; it's personal, but most aspects of it cannot be taken personally; it's life-changing; it's heart-breaking; it's heart-softening; did I mention engulfing?


This is a ministry that one is called to be engulfed in others; yet it is so easy to get engulfed in self.  


On that note ... please pray that my heart will produce a protective barrier from the engulfment of self, and be all about others.  


EnGULFED in my Kup...
                                          Cindy
 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Survival VS. Life

I suppose it's about time that I write something here because it's been a while.  I've been a bit busy working full-time with 21+ girls under the age of 19 and then come home and, with what energy I have left, do my best in being wife and mom to my own family.  I originally started this ministry with Steve to be part-time so that I was able to be who I need to be at home; however, due to the recent staff "holes" I felt that I needed to volunteer to be there full-time until more help came.  I'm pretty tired to say the least, and right now, at this moment, I probably should be taking a nap before my family arrives home to allow my body and brain to re-energize; but some still small voice interjected with that thought of this update and so I'm complying ;0)  

*deep sigh*

As I listen to the different species of birds chirping outside my opened window, God is reminding me that as much as He cares for the little details of a sparrows life and surroundings to be able to survive, that He even more so pays special attention to my life, my family's life, and our specific surroundings that we live in right now.  

Today I feel like mentally diving into survival mode; but with that would follow the emotions and then the physical and then the relational aspect of my life.  That would not be healthy.  

Sparrows instinctively know how to survive...because God gave them this instinct.  

I know how to survive...because my parents have taught me the basics of survival, not to mention the circumstances of life...lessons learned.

But do I only want to survive or do I really want to live!

God reminds me that He gives life and gives it abundantly.    
So how do I feel it abundantly?  
What does this look like?
I have an idea, but what do you think?

This is open for comments and discussion.  What has been your experience?  What are your thoughts on the abundant life?

Enjoyin' My Kup.....
                                   Cindy

Friday, January 27, 2012

And Yet...

"Joy comes with the morning".  

My eye caught this statement written on the desk that my computer is sitting on, and it dawned on me that this describes the beginning of 2012 coming out of this challenging past year of 2011 for me personally... 

A year of failed relationships, which resulted in a broken heart...mine, physical pain, and two huge moves which put my family living in 3 states in one year...the 3rd of which we landed on the last day of the  year, and of which we now reside.   

On the other hand, the triumphs and joys that did occur filled the holes where the failures and pain did not...praise God!  In Him there is refuge ;0)


Joy does come with the morning...and so do new mercies.

We are now in Marsing, Idaho ministering at a children's home called Hope House.  If you're interested you can find the story behind the ministry at www.ahome2come2.com.  

God is so good and faithful to have led us here on December 31st, 2011.  Packing during Christmas season is not a recommended task to follow, but I have to say that the family event that took place at our home on Christmas evening was a fabulous one to remember.  

Thank You, Lord for that "stone of remembrance"! 

Two days after that event we packed the kitchen and the Christmas deco (because everything else was already in boxes) and into the Uhaul Budget Truck it went...and on the road again we were off on another adventure!

I will not be sharing much about what we are doing here or updating in detail on this blog (or maybe I will, who knows); however, if you'd like to be on our mailing list for receiving an update/support/prayer letter on a quarterly basis please email me your mailing address at cindysmusicpassion@gmail.com and I'd be happy to add you on the list. 

Steve and I and the girls are extremely happy and at peace here at Hope House.  It sums up all the experiences we've had from the time we were kids through our ministry journey ... the opportunities the Lord gave us to learn and be used by Him...


And His JOY comes with the morning.  A new day has dawned, a new year has arisen, a new season is coming to bloom in the life of the Davis Family.


EnJOYing My Kup...
                             Cindy

Friday, December 16, 2011

Beyond the Tinsel

The pine tree, in all its' varieties, would most likely be voted (if there was a vote) the most popular symbol for Christmas in this modern era.  It's the one item that is most common in tradition and begs the attention of people gathered all around.  From cities' central park to the living rooms across America, from hospitals' waiting rooms to corporate office buildings; they're everywhere.

While some people randomly spend money to adorn this prickly "mascot" with sentimental ornaments and twinkling lights, others are meticulously drawing up "plans" to display the best themed tree of the year.  For most house-holds it's the gotta-have-it  item of the season or "it's just not Christmas!" ... even if it's a bit of a Charlie-Brown Christmas Tree.

With that said, I am observing a mite difference in this year's Christmas season.  Quite possibly it could be because we (my own family) will not be purchasing, or (as our tradition has been the past few years) hiking up into the snowy forest and cutting down one of its fresh beauties, that I'm noticing more than a few folks will be following suite for different reasons.

Yet, still my itty-bitty childhood tree found its place on the fireplace hearth. 

The Christmas Tree Lots have fewer trees even.

Causes one to pause and think.

Beyond the tree are the many lights and competitions of how bright one can light up a single home.  This year the neighborhoods are darkened.

Beyond the lights are the many presents occupying the base of the tree...or maybe just a few this time ... with hearts filled with thanksgiving and gratitude for only the few.

Beyond the presents ... is ... the foooood!!!  And we all know this activity takes the most time to plan and execute.  Included in that is who is doing what:  from turkey to ham, from mashed to scalloped potatoes, pies to sugar cookies, and on the list goes.  The kitchen becomes the Center for yumminess and the center of stress.  This year, however, in my household, the menu will be 3 scrumptious soups, a variety of breads, and homemade pies = shared talents from multiple family members and no stress!!!

Beyond the food is the Nativity ... in which I've discovered we've inherited collected four of them unintentionally, and only one of them encompasses the baby Jesus...or a clay model of Him anyway ;0) 

And here at the end of this post lies what ought to be the most important reason of all for worshiping ... ahem ... displaying the pine tree, shining the lights, presenting the gifts, and preparing the food... JESUS.

WHY?

Because He is the One who makes all those things or events possible...or not.  He can give and He can take away, and He is to be blessed either way.  This Babe that was born to save us ... is the same Babe that arose from the grave.

I wonder if this modern era is beginning to realize that its forest smelling mascot and all that follows it is not what its all cracked up to be, or that there's more beyond the tinsel and the twinkles and the toys.


I wonder.


Enjoying My Kup...
                          Cindy