It doesn’t make any sense

I don’t understand how much God loves me.  Maybe that isn’t the Christian thing to say but I honestly cannot even grasp it.  I don’t know of any other example of that kind of love.  Every love I see is based on conditions:  If you love me, I’ll love you back. When you stop, I will stop.  Marriages rarely survive things like infidelity or even years of getting on each other’s nerves. 

But isn’t that what we have done to Jesus?  Haven’t we cheated on him COUNTLESS times with “other god’s” like our job, our ego, or just being too busy.  I’m sure we have “gotten on his nerves” by being disobedient or making poor choices. 

We had a horrible case of the stomach flu here last week.  The baby was sick for almost two weeks with nothing we could do but let it run its course.  As any parent knows there isn’t much worse than caring for a sick baby.  You want so bad to take their pain away.  I know a stomach bug is small fries when I think of my friends facing much larger battles. But when her weak little body wouldn’t hold any food all I could think was, God please just let her feel better!  If it will take the sickness from her put it on me instead!

Just then I got it..for a second, I understood.  That is God’s love.  We don’t deserve a relationship with God, our sin separates us.  But Jesus said, put the sin on me. I’ll take it for them.  (I have tears as I type).  Even if it means I have to die, the worst death you can imagine…I love them that much.  I’ll stand in the gap for you God and for them. 

He didn’t even know me!  It was so many years before I was ever even a thought.  But he did it for me too!??  I don’t understand!!  I fall short all the time, and worse sometimes I am too lazy to even make an effort to fall.  But he loves even me??  He didn’t deserve death, I did!  He did no wrong!

It’s so simple yet so hard to grasp.  I guess that’s why He calls it a gift.  It’s a gift because I didn’t have to work to get it.  It was given to me because He loves me.  I was made in His image,  a prized creation.

He doesn’t want me to earn His love, or try to pay Him back somehow.  He just wants me to realize the great big crazy love He has, accept it, and do what comes totally natural after that…Love him back.

Father I am daily in awe of the colossal tremendous love that you give me, no strings attached.  I know I’m not worthy but you love me just the same.

You are amazing God.


17 Cheap (and romantic) date night ideas

Want to have a fun date night?  Don’t have a lot of cash?  Then I hope this list helps you enjoy your date and save some cash too!

First things first, if you have kids, babysitters are expensive.  Talk to a group of friends about setting up a babysitting co-op.  Where you trade out “tokens” for babysitting instead of cash. 

Now that the kiddos are settled in here are a few cheap and romantic ideas:

  1. Walk down memory lane:  Reminisce on how you first met, your dating life, wedding, and early marriage.  Get those butterflies back in action! 
  2. Stare at the stars INSIDE:  Go to the Planetarium, learn about our universe and cuddle with your sweetie. 
  3. Enjoy the weather together.  Depending on the time of year ice skating, picnics, or going for a swim are all fun date nights.  
  4. Dress Rehearsal: Got a play in your local theater you would love to see but don’t want to pay for tickets?  Call around to see if you can attend the dress rehearsal.  They are often a fraction of the price and sometimes FREE!
  5. Cuddle up with a book:  The book store is our personal favorite cheap date.  I grab a book about gardening or kids and he grabs a magazine or book on sports and we sit together sipping coffee and playing footsie.
  6. Dinner Coupons: has specials and be sure to check your local paper or weekly circular for local coupons. 
  7. Just dessert:  You can have dinner at home, put the kids to bed, then go out for dessert and coffee.  Babysitters usually don’t expect as much if the kids are sleeping the whole time.  I have friends that trade out with a neighbor and do this once a week!
  8. Play 40 questions:  Print out this Conversation starters booklet and get to know each other better.
  9. Take a Tour:  You would be surprised at all the places that would be glad to give you a tour of their business if you just ask.  Candy shops, distribution centers, factories,  whatever interest you and is close to where you live.
  10. Flea Markets browsing:  There’s something for everyone at a flea market and plenty of things you never knew existed — you might even discover he has a hobby or weird collection you didn’t know about…plus often times there is cotton candy. 
  11. Art museum:  Even if you don’t live near the Guggenheim almost every city offers art on display at a local city building or college.  Just for fun dress up and talk with your best English accent as you study the art.
  12. Botanical Gardens:  Almost every town has an amazing world of horticulture just waiting to be explored.  Call in advance and they will gladly give you a tour.  
  13. Share what you love: Spend time teaching each other about your favorite hobby or skill.  Playing an instrument, gardening, crafting, photography etc.  You may be surprised how much you enjoy their hobby. 
  14. Be a tourist in your own home town.  We went on charted tour (very inexpensive) of a neighboring city and learned more than we ever learned living nearby for years!  Contact your local visitors bureau for events and tour information.
  15. Open mic/karaoke night: Check out the nearest karaoke or open mic night.  Even if you don’t participate you will enjoy free talent or lack there of (which is sometimes even better). 
  16. Local College/University events: If you live near a college log on to the school’s website and check out the schedule of events.  Schools will open large events, from lectures & panels, to movie screenings and plays.  Usually free to the public.
  17. Go back home: If you took the kids to a friends house, go back home.  Light a few candles…need I say more?

 What is your favorite cheap date night? 



Surrendering the Secret of abortion Ginny’s story

Today’s Testimony is from Ginny.  It will bless your socks off!
Rated PG-13

My testimony is a testimony about forgiveness. Let me start off by telling you a little about my childhood.  My father was an addict and was never really around much. He would get paid on Friday and we would not see him again until he ran out of money. My mom is a wonderful mother, so I at least had one great parent!  They got a divorced when I was 11 years old.

I got saved during this time in my life and my mom and I started getting involved in church. They were so good to us, buying us Christmas one year and food when my mom couldn’t afford it. Really showing us God’s love.  I still talked to my dad pretty often after the divorce, mostly through letters since he was in jail most of my teenage years. It was during this time that I really fell away from God. I always longed for a guy to love me, because my dad always loved drugs and alcohol more.

When I was 15 I “feel in love” or as much as you can when you are 15 years old. I got involved in sexual sin. I only had sex one time, nothing could happen right? Well, I was late on my period. I just blew it off because I cheered and we were getting ready for a huge competition, and I was stressed. But after I was a few weeks late, I knew that something was not right. I went to the health center to get a pregnancy test and it was positive. Yes, the first time I ever had sex I got pregnant, something I thought would NEVER happen.   I had to do the hardest thing I’ve ever done and tell my mom. The look of disappointment on her face is something I will never forget. We cried for hours wondering what we were going to do. Then we decided…abortion.

We never spoke of it, I never went to counseling, we didn’t tell anyone & we “pretended” like nothing ever happened. Yeah, nothing happened. Funny it’s been 15 years and it has not gone away, I think about it everyday. I prayed for forgiveness all the time, everyday, but just could not see how God, or my mom could forgive me for something so horrible.  I went on with my life PRETENDING like everything was OK.

I went off to college where I got involved in Campus Christian Fellowship  and my relationship with God was stronger than ever. I sang in the praise band and was taking mission trips.  I repented to God about my sexual sin and always stayed too busy to date. In high school I felt I needed a guy to love me, but in college I knew that all I ever really needed was God’s love. He showed me that he was my father here on earth as well as my heavenly father and God filled my void.

I trusted God & I told Him that I think I could be single my whole life and be OK with it because He is all I really needed. I felt like God was waiting on that…because it was only about 3 months later that I really started noticing Jason, the man that would later become my husband. He made me laugh and we always had a great time together. When he finally asked me on a date, I was scared to death. I didn’t want to fall back into my old life and he wouldn’t want to date me anyway if he found out about my past. He was an awesome Christian guy who I didn’t deserve. These are the lies the devil always puts in my head. We went on a few dates and I was really starting to fall for this guy. This dating relationship was so different from my past ones, he never really tried to “make a move”, just seemed like he really liked spending time with me.

About a month after we started dating I went home to spend Easter with my mom. She had gotten some tickets to go see a play at her church.  We went not knowing that this would change our lives.  One of the scenes a girl talked about her abortion and how she didn’t deserve to go to heaven. Then the trumpet sounded and Jesus walked out on the stage with her baby in His hands. My mom grabbed my hand and at that moment I knew that my baby was in heaven walking the streets of Gold with my Heavenly Father.

That evening my mom and I cried and we finally talked about the thing we had tried to forget.

My mom and I both said we had forgiven each other and that night I knew that God had truly forgiven me as well. It was the first time I felt a burden lifted off of me, after 8 years I had finally forgiven myself.

I knew I had to tell Jason so he could decide how he really felt about me. I could not hide from my past.  I told him about the abortion and about the awesome experience I had the night before with my mom. His eyes filled up with tears and he hugged me saying, “I forgive you too”.  He continued to tell me about someone close to him who also had walked through an abortion and just told him 2 years prior to this.  God knew in advance to prepare him for me. We dated for about 2 years then got married in 2005. In 2007 we decided that we wanted to try to have a baby.  I was very nervous…not sure if God would bless me because of my past, thinking we might have a hard time because of me. But after 3 months, I became pregnant & my emotions were everywhere.

Would I be a good mom?  Would God really bless me with a healthy baby?  Why do so many people have a hard time getting pregnant and I didn’t?  Our baby was born Sept. 2, 2008. She was perfect. God had truly blessed me. I still have my moments after 15 years. But I know that God is with me and I have to remember that the Devil prowls around like a roaring loin looking for someone to devour and I have to use God’s armor to protect me.

Just in the past few months I have finally gone through the counseling I needed for my abortion. I walked through a Bible Study at Choices of the Heart Pregnancy center called Surrendering the Secret Healing after an abortion and I am finally FREE. I realized that forgetting about my abortion only numbs the pain temporarily and to be healed you must remember…and that hurts, but it’s necessary.

I had a memorial service for my little boy, who I have named Andrew. I was finally able to go through the grieving process that I needed. I am ready to use my past hurts for God’s glory. And that is why I’m volunteering at the Pregnancy Center.

My prayer is that girls who are in a crisis don’t make a fast decision. That they will come and learn their options. Abortion does not “get rid of the problem.” It stays with you forever. I also pray that if you’ve had an abortion and you’ve stuffed it deep, sealed the lid and put “things to forget”, that you will open it up, remember and be healed.

Let’s Surrender the Secret together. Scars remind us where we’ve been. They don’t have to dictate where we are going.

I would like to close with a poem. I dedicate this poem to Andrew….

The Babe I’ll Never Hold

If I knew then

what I know now,

You never would have died.

I’d have held you close

And nurtured you

And kept you by my side.

I’d have sung you songs

And treasured you

More than silver

More than gold:

But this song is all I’ll give

To the Baby I’ll never hold.

I’ve never written poetry

That hasn’t been a praise

To the Lord Who wept with me

And held me through those days.

Jesus, now I’m asking.

I know you hear my plea.

Won’t you take that child in your hands

And hold my Babe for me.

– Anonymous

If you would like more info about healing after an abortion Ginny freely offers her email address Thank you Ginny for using your biggest hurt for his Glory!