Review of 2013

Monday, December 30, 2013

Can you believe that the year is almost over. Neither can I. But it is and I really wanted to share with my newer readers and those who may not know me some big things that happened this year and some amazing blessings that God bestowed on our family. Here is our recap of 2013.

January - April

For those who don't know in 2012 I was flung into a heated custody battle over my eldest daughter, Kaidance with her biological father Brian. It was not pretty. There are a LOT of details that I will spare you but throughout our ordeal we spoke and prayed one thing: That God would grant us full custody of Kaidance, with visitation rights with her and her dad. 

It was scary. I'm not going to lie. I would be hopeful and faith filled one money and then sobbing uncontrollably the next after a drop off. In July of 2012 we won our custody pre-trial and began gearing up for our final trial in February of 2013.

To make a long story short God remained faithful and answered our prayers. We are not even certain to this day on why, but the Friday before our February 21st court date my ex-husband settled with us outside of court. He agreed to everything we had asked for and prayed for over Kaidance.....even amongst some saying that "we didn't win" because we settled we KNOW who we serve and we know that we did win, because God is faithful.

Some other big events in photos from the first part up until April of 2013. In order, Tony was baptised and make a public declaration of his faith. I was pregnant with our third child, a son, Joseph. And Sophia had minor surgery (her first surgery!) to place tubes because she was getting double ear infections back to back for 6 months. 

May - September

Lots of amazing things happened between May and September! Two of the biggest things were God blessing me with the opportunity to become a Freedom House Kids Ministry Apprentice. It was a truly INCREDIBLE semester of growth and leadership skill building. 

(Me and another apprentice, Harrison!)

Truly and honestly the biggest event of 2013 was the birth of me and Tony's first son, Joseph Isaiah. Born on daddy's birthday we could not have asked for a better birth experience and such an amazing blessing. Brings me to tears (and my knees) every day.

Some other big events in order: Our family vacation to Gatlinburg, TN! Kaidance's first ballet recital, Kaidance's first day of Kindergarten and Sophia graduated from Big Sister class!

October - December

We ended our year with all of the "normal" happenings. Halloween, Thanksgiving, fun and friendships. We are confident in the Lord and faith filled that 2014 will bring many changes, blessings, and beginnings!

Blessings and a HAPPY New Year!


Off Days

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

I was going to be working on a Christmas themed blog post today. You know, the consumerism sucks type posts. But I'm not. I'm not going to right now because I want to be honest about my day.

Today was an off day. It was filled with too many incidents of me warming up the same cup of coffee a thousand times. I watched too much How I met your mother and was truly tired. My spouse and I had a spat the night before, my almost six-month-old baby didn't want to sleep at.all and my other two woke up earlier than normal ready to eat and go about their day. I just wanted to lay on the couch, all day. 

So, in some ways I did do that. I lazied around and didn't do some of the things I knew I needed too. After an amazing day yesterday I thought my week was set. I have so many fun things planned, this is the week we celebrate Christmas and I was determined to get in the Christmasy spirit!

You see the devil works in the day to day situations. Don't be fooled, he does. There were times where he was trying to manipulate my mind into making me think, So and so doesn't love you because they weren't there for you back then, or even your so lazy. You should be up cleaning and dressed and have your make up done. 

The devil is not as crafty as you think. In fact, he's dumb. He uses the same tactics over and over on us and yet we fall for it many times. I knew what he was doing today. He was trying to bring me down. He was trying to steal the joy that I so specifically stated I received just two days ago. He uses lies and manipulation (two of his best traits) and the past to try and wreck our days. Nothing big has to happen for the devil to attack. In fact, in most attacks it's so subtle you don't see the wound until someone else points out that you are bleeding!

Then, oh then, I pulled out a little tiny card from my dear "You are" jar that my mentor gave me for my birthday. It's a jar that has 26 little slips of paper in it and I pull one out each day and carry it around as a reminder of who I am to Christ, to my family, to her, and to others. Today I pulled out the card that said:


Not only did it just say that but it included Psalm 36:5 that reads "Your mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds."

How comforting. Not only does God love me but He has faith in me. He has faith that I can overcome through Christ the negative thoughts the devil is trying to put in my head. Not just that but He gives me mercy for the times when I do have off days. It's OK. I accepted in that moment that the Lord was given me mercy to relax. That I needed to, again, be reminded of the mercy I should be sharing, FREELY, with those around me. That I needed to put my faith in His sincere and completely truthful promises. I told that devil to be quiet (literally, out loud) and then rested in His peace.

So, yeah, I admit, I watched too much How I met your mother and yes, I had to re-heat my cup of coffee a jillion times, but you know what? I still have joy. I'm loved. And tomorrow is a new day.

Be blessed (and try to drink your coffee hot),


Identity Thief

Sunday, December 8, 2013

At some point in time it seems that many people struggle with identifying who they are and why they are on this earth. The most common question I hear from others I talk to who are hurting or lost is, "Why did God make me? Why am I here and what is my purpose?" It is OK to ask those things. God wants us to know who we are and why we are here but a lot of times this question becomes our main focus in life, which can be time consuming and stressful.

My identity struggle has been a lifelong issue that I can truthfully say is no longer a struggle anymore. It's been a long and dark road, one that I wish didn't take so long, but now I am excited to stand and say, "I know who I am. Who are you?"

I went through phases of my identity struggle which I'd like to share with you. Each phase posed a new question or struggle or even a doubt when I was sure I had gotten past this issue. The enemy wants to attack our identity. He doesn't want us to know who we are, but we don't have to let him win this fight.

My struggle with identity began before I was even born. It doesn't sound possible but how we are brought into this world and who is surrounding us can make a big difference on how we view ourselves from the start. My biological father had left my mother at a movie theater when she was six months pregnant with me. As devastating as it sounds for me, it was much worse at the time for her. This began phase one for me.

Phase 1: I'm not good enough.

It's not often that I don't hear of someone saying they've never struggled with this phase of identity, even if just for a moment. When my biological father left me the seed of abandonment was planted in my heart. It took root as I told myself, "I wasn't good enough as a daughter for him to love. I wasn't good enough with my behavior, etc." 

I went through many years of this phase, from being just a child to my teenage years. Instead of focusing on who I was/am in Christ and developing those characteristics I put myself down on a daily basis and would criticize everything I did.

Megan, your writing isn't good enough. Your body isn't good enough. Your smile isn't pretty. You are so loud, you annoy everyone.

These damaging thoughts rooted in my spirit and it took a lot of prayer and counseling to rid myself of them.

Let me be gentle in my words with this next sentence. We are not good enough. It is through Christ that we are made new and through Christ that we can do anything good that we have done. 2 Corinthians 12:9 And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 

God is not blind to our weaknesses or our struggles and part of knowing who we are is being OK with not being good enough. When you realize that you are weak and that it is through Christ and His grace that you are able to be anything near good you let go of that "I am not good enough mindset."

This quote by Patrick Rothfuss sums up what I feel with this phase.

“It's like everyone tells a story about themselves inside their own head. Always. All the time. That story makes you what you are. We build ourselves out of that story.”
― Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind

When we tell ourselves over and over that we are not good enough to do anything then we lie to ourselves and prevent ourselves from reaching our full potential. Not just that, but from what we read int his quote we are literally birthing our own story into reality through these thoughts and words. What we should be saying is, "I know I'm not good enough by myself but with Christ, who perfects His power in me in my weakness, I can be a good mom, daughter, artist, etc. 

Within this first phase destructive habits were born. As a teenager I did a lot of self-harm things that I shouldn't have. I began throwing up all my food thinking I wasn't good looking or skinny enough, I would date men to gain attention because I was loved starved from the other male figures in my life, I even drank occasionally to drown out the pain of not feeling good enough. These things had taken root and while some would go away others got worse in phase 2.

Phase 2: Why can't I just be someone else? 

This was one of my most destructive phases. While I did start some bad behaviors and habits in the previous phase those habits became a whole new level of unhealthy in this phase. From later teens (about 19) until I was about 23 I was a self-hating woman who did anything and everything to change who I was so that I could just be someone else.

I really struggled with accepting myself. I thought everyone else wanted me to change (and honestly I'm sure some did) and so instead of working through that I just tried to be someone else. I'm naturally loud, so I wanted to be quiet. I'm outgoing, so I tried to be shy. Everyone seemed to like blondes, so I dyed my hair.

It was a never ending cycle of "who would Megan be today?" I had a serious eating disorder, couldn't figure out which clothes were my style and at times would drink myself into a non-remembering state. I didn't want to be who I was because everyone around me seem to find something wrong with me, even if it was just something minor.

Within a year or so of this lifestyle I was a completely different person. At one point when I was younger I was compassionate and kind hearted. I had a love of people and a desire to be relational. Within this phase I lost all of that. I was mean. I cursed worse than many sailors and my love for the Lord dwindled because I decided that if I couldn't give my entire life and heart I shouldn't give it at all. I was becoming a product of what I thought others wanted and thought of me, and ultimately becoming truly unhappy.

A quote that reminds me of this is: “Nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everyone I've ever known.” ― Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

While I think we can obtain traits from others around us I was beginning to feel like the things that made me unique were being shoved down deep inside. I could barely pull them out. I felt like a person who was drowning in an open sea. Nothing but water surrounding me. I could hear the Lord saying, "STAND UP. I am your sandbar!" But I couldn't.

It took counseling to get me out of this phase. I had to finally look deep into scripture and also at my heart to learn that God had created me uniquely to be just who I was (flaws and all) because He needed me to do something unique for His kingdom. For those who may be in this phase. You don't need to be. God loves you for all your uniqueness and if others have trouble accepting it, they may not be someone you want in your inner circle.

These two phases were my biggest struggle areas. After phase two I said, "Enough is enough," and really dealt with my identity issue. I leaned on scripture and wise counsel to help me through and to finally learn who I was. So, you ask, how do I know who I am?

How do I know who I am?

The first big piece of my missing puzzle was to understand that God created me in His image (Genesis 1:27). This was important to know because it made me understand that anytime I insulted myself, I truly was insulting my savior and my creator. How would you feel if a child you bore said, "I hate what you created?" Not fun.

I also needed to truly grasp that my uniqueness was purposely created by God and that God was not unaware of my gifts and my weaknesses. (Jeremiah 1:5).

Lastly I needed to know that it was a daily choice to encourage my own thought life in accepting who I was (Ephesians 4:22-24) and that I needed to be bold and say, "Meg, you are beautiful. You are wonderfully made, you are His." The words began to seep into my spirit and slowly over the course of two years I began to truthfully believe those things about myself.

Lastly, how do I stand firm in this truth?

I've shared a lot. But if I could leave you with one piece of experience I would with this. The enemy does NOT want you to know who you are. He does NOT want you to be confident in the roles that God has given you.

Last year was my first serious test of standing firm in my identity. The enemy attacked me from all sides (even using my children) to try and tear me down. In a custody battle with my ex-husband for our daughter Kaidance every inch of who I was was torn into. It was both embarrassing at times but mostly humbling to know where God had brought me.

There were also things that happened in my marriage and the enemy used those situations to try and PULL me back into previous phases. "See, you are better off being like so and so," or the age old, "You just weren't ever good enough Megan."

At times it was very daunting. Very tiring but I stood firm. I stood firm and held to the promise that God would use me just as I was if I would only allow him to help me walk through it.

I did. Today I stand more confident in who I am then I've ever been before. I'm accepting the things I know are my personality and working on things I know I can change to better myself and the talents God has given me.

"Freedom lies in being bold," Robert Frost.

You want to be free from identity issues? Be bold and be yourself. Make a list of things that make you unique, who you are, scriptures that support your walk and identity in Christ. Start there. I know I am loud, crazy, unafraid to talk to anyone, a go-getter. I love deeply. I hurt deeply. I am compassionate and have a servants heart. I am a natural born leader, spontaneous, and not afraid of conflict.

These days my list of things I love about myself outweighs the things I dislike 100 to 1. It's incredibly freeing to love yourself for who God created you to be. Try it.

Be blessed,


For The Cause - Inner City Missionary

Monday, December 2, 2013

The saying, "You discover yourself and your purpose in your serve," has never been more true for someone today than it is for me. Since I began serving at Freedom House in 2012 my entire life has changed. I realized how important it is to make life more than just about me To reach out to those who need help, to wipe a tear away, and to spread hope. 

These past few weeks God has been speaking to me heavily through my serve. From a young age I knew I was going to be a missionary. As a young girl I wanted to be the female version of John the Baptist (not kidding). I always had big visions of traveling to other countries and preaching God's good word. I do still feel a call to that just not full time. I continued to pray all these years and continued to ask God, "How can I strip myself of ME and become more like YOU? How does being a missionary play out in my life?"

It is through serving that I believe God is revealing my destiny. God has gifted and granted me one of the most amazing abilities. This is to speak to others and relay a compassion for the hurting. I have a heart for the hurting. When they hurt, I hurt. When they want, I want for them. I don't want to see them suffering any longer. There are times when I am asking for a donation or speaking about a cause that I don't even remember all that I've said. I just know that God has already worked on that person or business's heart because they can rarely hold back tears or their generosity. They get it. They get that it takes community.

It is through tears, my sweet friends, that I believe I know what God is saying to me. Not only am I to continue in Kids Ministry but God is calling me to be an inner city missionary. One who is NOT ashamed to go above, beyond, and outside of her comfort zone to ask people to step up and help their community. There ARE resources out there. We just need to use them. We need to allow the Holy Spirit to use us and to be sensitive to our communities and those in it. Miracles don't have to just be seen overseas they can be seen right here in our homes and in our local churches.

I used to be an extremely selfish and mean spirited person. I used to only think of my wants, my desires, and what could please Meg. God has and is removing those dust mites from my spirit. When I get into moments of selfishness it's like God instantly shows me in the physical or in the spirit how much more important it is to be selfless and show God's love and kindness. Your generosity, friends, can change an entire world. It doesn't have to start or end with one particular event. It can be a lifestyle lived. 

Will you join me in this cause? Will you be willing to say "YES!" to serving YOUR city? Or in helping me serve mine?

My first big non-profit project in 2014 is donations for the Ronald McDonald House in Charlotte. Monthly I will post blog posts, events, and all kinds of information on the Ronald McDonald House and ways YOU can donate. You can give. Simple things. 

For January I am collecting:

- Women's feminine pads (all sizes including lights)
- Free and Clear Laundry detergent (high efficiency) 

These items are easy to obtain. If you are in another state don't fret if you want to give. We are collecting donations for Walmart and Target to do a big purchase the last week of January. We are also ALWAYS looking for a group to go and help bring the items the first week of the new month. 

God wants to use you. He can use you if you allow Him. What a simple way of giving back. I hope to fill my life with plenty of opportunities to give (not just monetary but of my time too). Will you step up and serve?

If you are interested in donating please note that I can pick up items at any location in Charlotte. Please contact me directly for more information or to drop off. or (910) 554-2181. We also have an event page for January's donation on Facebook at: Ronald McDonald Charity - January.

Most importantly don't forget to pass this along!