Posted on 1. August 2011

Top post for the month of July

Hello my perfectly imperfect friends.  It’s time to recap the most popular posts for the month.

Two of the top three posts were testimonies.  YAY!  I love it when others are touched by the awesome stories God writes in the life of everyday people. 

Top posts are as follows:

1.  Trading Pounds, Stephanie’s story Stephanie’s amazing story of finding her true faith and losing 145lbs! 

2.  This is not a fairy tale: Heather’s story Heather’s story of redemption and grace in a broken marriage.  Every couple should read! 

3.  Eating organic...imperfectly not nearly as heartfelt as the first two but some good tips on eating organic and still being practical.

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I don’t really have a picture to go with this post so I figured it was a good time to show of our ridiculously cute kids.  I’m only a little biased. 

Now it’s your turn.  If you have a blog link us to your most popular post...or feel free to upload a link you have enjoyed lately. 

Posted on 15. July 2011

This is not a fairy tale...Heather’s story

Today’s post if testimony from Heather Benton.  You will love it!  Grab a tissue!

I decided after much contemplation to share my story in hopes that it might inspire. My story is not a fairy tale.  It is in no way the story that I would have ever imagined. I have always drifted towards taking the long road, and this story is just that. The long road that ultimately lead me to God, and myself. Strange how that happens.

 

Nick and I were married on May 21st 2005. I was pregnant. A few long months later our son arrived in December. We bought a house, had a baby, and were newly-weds. Life was moving very very fast. We ran into all the struggles you could imagine during those first few years. Financial issues, struggles with being new parents, struggles with being husband and wife. 

About 5 years into our marriage neither of us thought we could live with each other anymore.  We discussed just calling it quits. We were driving each other crazy, we were miserable, and we were making our son miserable in the process.

Nick came to me one day, serious this time, about getting a divorce.  A part of me was relieved.  This was my way out. I was tired of arguing, tired of bickering, tired of the screaming matches.  The other part of me was hesitant. I kept asking myself what was the point in the last 5 years if it would just end like this?

 

Nick was on his way out and I confronted him. “Who was she,” I asked? I wanted the truth. I was tired of the secrets.  He told me he was going to see a girl he had met on the internet and that he was in love with her.  And away he went

 

I was left at the house alone and bitter. Down right angry on my bad days. I had been betrayed and was using that to justify my anger. I decided that if Nick could meet someone online then so could I. 

I started looking around. Online dating sites made meeting people easier than ever. I made a profile and began talking to other men. I met John.  We dated for a few months.  All of a sudden things were seemingly “not working out.” He was distant and I wasn’t going  wait for him to come around.  Then I found out something that absolutely turned me world upside down. I was pregnant.

The reality of it hit me like a tower falling on top of me.  I was pregnant. And John made it clear he was not interested in a happily ever after.  What was I going to do?

I had pretty much made up my mind to do something that in my darkest hour I never thought I would even consider...I was going to abort the pregnancy.

I made all the plans to have the procedure so no one would ever know.  One day after Nick picked up our son he called me.  He shared with me how it seemed to be God moving him to call me. He knew me so well. He figured out I was pregnant and even figured out I was considering an abortion...and he also knew that I could never do something like that. He was right. I was going against everything that had ever been ME. He was the only person that called me out and outright told me that, that decision would be wrong. No buts, no ifs, no excuses.

I thought about what he had said all night.  I resolved the issue to keep my unborn baby. Suddenly the tears stopped. I had cried non stop for almost 2 weeks and suddenly all the pain had been lifted. I knew I had made the right decision. I called John to let him know my decision.   After a very childish  episode he informed me that he was done and never wanted to see me or the child.

I was at square...nothing. I had no idea what I was going to do, or how. All I did know is that I had a tiny little baby growing in side of me.

 

God decided to hit me with a brick, or 3 or 10 of them.  All the grief from the divorce that I had kept running from, pieces of relationships that hadn’t worked, fragments of a marriage gone bad, pieces of my child’s world turned upside down. I was alone.

 

God did a number on both Nick and I at the same time.  We ran from each other, and God for quite some time. We were trying to do things our way. But God had other things in mind.

Despite all odds, Nick and I decided to give “us” another shot.  I had been reading Love and Respect and was suddenly faced with my part of the blame of the problems of our marriage. Suddenly it wasn't all HIS fault. I had fault too. Nick and I found ourselves coming back together, kicking and screaming (at first). Neither of us knew exactly how God was going to make it work. We just knew that we were supposed to listen and follow.  Each day got better.  A little frayed and faded, a few scratches here and there, but they are back together and now, more solid than ever.

Our worst days now are better than our best days were then. We keep God at the forefront of our lives...where he should be.  He leads us and we do our best to listen and follow.

We got re-married the day of  my scheduled induction

Now I have my husband and family back.  We have a beautiful little girl that I didn’t let go of. She has an amazing daddy who loves her dearly, and our son has a beautiful sister who he can’t seem to get enough of.

No, this is no fairy tale. There is no happily ever after. Just a man and a woman and two tiny blessings from God. And a strange sort of miracle.. that happened just the way God intended. Its hard to look back sometimes and even fathom that I thought of not having this beautiful little girl, and my wonderful husband in my life. There have been days of guilt and outright shame. God’s strength keeps my head on straight. At the end of the day I get to kiss my son and my little girl goodnight...and I get to snuggle up next to the husband that I never thought I would be able to look at the same way again. God is good. No.. God is AMAZING!

You can follow Heather at her blog hbdocumentary. Thank you Heather for sharing your story! Please leave a comment to encourage Heather for sharing her story!   

Don’t miss a post! Have Imperfect People delivered to your inbox or your RSS reader...Don’t worry it’s FREE!

*Names changed

**Special thanks to  Megan Hulsey photography for capturing some of our family’s special moments!! 

Posted on 23. May 2011

The mask of a good girl. Jennifer’s Story

Today starts are 2nd ever week of testimonies!!!  To start us off Jennifer Camp author of you are my girls is sharing her story of teen pregnancy, and the difficult choices that followed.  Rated PG-13

jennifer camp

When I was fifteen years old I started having sex with my high school boyfriend. I grew up being told that sex was something "good girls do after they get married". So, okay, then, I wasn't a good girl. But it was critical, more important than anything to me, that my image, my family's and friend's perceptions of me as the "good girl", not change.

My pride was more important than anything to me. I struggled to create the image people saw of me; I cared desperately about others' approval, and I couldn't bear the thought of my parents ever knowing, my friends knowing. That wasn't something Jennifer did.

Jennifer was the girl with the good grades -- meek and shy in social situations -- and strong in sports. In the yearbook of her rural high school of 240, she was the girl voted "most likely to succeed", "best dressed", "best smile". She worked hard to be liked, to be accepted. So, when she. . . when I . . became pregnant when I was sixteen years old, just before Christmas of my junior year in high school, the image of myself, my idol -- this false life that I worshiped -- was the only thing I felt I needed to preserve.

I was so swallowed in darkness that I made the choice to look away from the horror of what I had decided to do. In the darkness that I chose, where I wanted no light to penetrate, something was going to have to die, and I didn't choose me.

The images that I remember -- the visits to the counselor to get approval for the abortion, the procedure itself, the lights in the room, the noise of the machine, the rows of other girls, the afternoon after, all while my parents thought I was Christmas shopping -- open and close like the shutter on a camera. There are two moments that I remember, though, as the most vivid, the most horrible.  The first was when I sat alone, under the cold December sky in my family's almond orchard, and made the decision to do it.  The second was when I was at basketball practice the day after the procedure and felt such relief that no one, except my boyfriend, ever knew.

Darkness.

The choice I made, at sixteen years old, to have an abortion, represents the darkest part of my heart. It was my choice to end a baby's life for the sake of preserving the life that I thought was mine. But that was the lie. I wasn't fighting for my life, I was fighting for death. And my heart died that night in the orchard -- the night I made that decision to choose darkness over light.

I lived for years ashamed, while still justifying my decision to myself. Oh, but how God is beautiful and gentle and loving!  Since I made that heartbreaking choice, my Father has dealt with me in layers. The immensity of what I did could not be taken in all at once.

Two years ago, the Father came for me, and I began to pursue Him with my whole heart. I wanted more of Him, more of His truth in me. With that truth came the reality of what I had done, the lies I had surrendered to and put on the throne instead of Him. In making my heart fully surrendered to His, He wanted to show me what my darkness looked like in the light.

The verses in the beginning of Colossians 3 pour over me:

Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  . .  Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him.

And so I lean into Him now, seeking Him with a grateful heart, a new life. I no longer walk in darkness. He has led me into His light, where I walk with Him, looking to Him to continue to reveal to me any darkness in me. There is no room for that in me anymore. Get it out, God. I am willing. Come.

Thank you Jennifer!  You are an amazing woman!  Do you have anything in darkness that needs to be brought to light?  Don’t miss a post! Have Imperfect People delivered to your inbox or your RSS reader!...Don’t worry it’s FREE!

Posted on 21. April 2011

The stealing of innocence: Ophelia’s story

Today’s post is by my new “e-friend”, Ophelia.  She has an amazing testimony of redemption.  Nothing breaks my heart more than what she endured.  She survived being sex trafficked as a child and sexually assaulted as an adult.  Here is her story: 

*Parental advisory: this post contains adult material*

When I was very young—not yet in kindergarten—I had a best friend named Gwen*.  Gwen had a little sister, Sarah*, a working mother, and a stay-at-home father named Dave*.  They lived just across the street.  Gwen's mother baked chocolate chip cookies on Sundays, and her grandmother would visit every summer and sew the girls beautiful dresses for the coming school year.  My own family appeared just as wholesome; there were ballet classes and painting lessons and slumber parties and smiling faces.  But beneath this facade of bright perfection was a cruel darkness. 

One night, while I was across the street playing with Gwen and Sarah, Dave molested me.  Soon, this became a regular event.  Some days, he would have a couple of his friends over, too; they each would take turns with us girls.  It was all a game, they said.  They dressed up like witches and all we were really doing was playing The Wizard of Oz.  Sometimes, they'd light a fire out back and threaten to toss us into it if we didn't play properly.

Guys would stop through, hand over money, take what they wanted, and then leave.  They took pieces of me and left me with the kind of destruction that only an almighty God can heal.

I was a child prostitute, and my mother pretended to be unaware of the whole thing.  The witches threatened to find me and kill me if I ever told. 

I still have a twenty dollar bill from the last time it happened.  What do you buy with the money your innocence was exchanged for?

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I have wondered often: How could a loving God allow so much pain in my life?  How do I reconcile this?  How can I know that the God I have entrusted my life to is faithful and good?

"I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall.  I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.  Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  I say to myself, 'The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him'" (Lamentations 3:19-24 NIV).

 That is indeed my hope and that is where I rest.

Around the age of six or seven, while I was playing in my parents' bedroom (something I was not supposed to be doing!), I felt very convicted of my sin.  Part of this was "true" sin, such as not obeying; part of it was due to the abuse I was experiencing (which I blamed myself for).  The combination of the two left me feeling dirty and damaged.  I remember sitting there on my parents' bed, thinking that I was the scummiest girl in the world and desperately wanting redemption.   And so I prayed; I expressed to God that I knew I had no goodness within me and that I accepted and trusted that His work on the cross paid my penalty in full.

I've had a lot of ups and downs since then.  There have been times when I've questioned it all, but God, in His grace, continually draws me back to Him.

In my journey toward healing, I've come to realize that I've surrounded parts of my heart with all sort of barriers and walls.  The problem is that such barricades have kept God out of the deepest, darkest parts of my heart, as well.  I firmly believe that the only way to find true healing is to be a “girl stripped bare” which is what I titled my blog.  I need to let God into every area of my life and heart; I must throw away the masks and let the pruning begin.

*Names have been changed

If you want to learn more about Ophelia check out her blog and read the interesting Q&A she did with her readers. 

Thank you Ophelia you have an incredible testimony!

Posted on 28. January 2011

One Family’s radical evolution from the American Dream

Today’s Post is a family testimony.  They took a look at their cultural Christianity and asked themselves, “what if Jesus really meant all that stuff?”  Here is their story:

Rated G

Kebsinfrontofrv[1]

We were taught from a very young age to do well in school, get good grades so we could get into the best college, or to try hard at a particular interest or activity to get into the best college, so we could graduate from college, get a high paying job, buy a home, then buy a larger home with room for the growing family and all our stuff, then buy more / better stuff, make more money, get more stuff... You get the picture.

Our family was living this lifestyle. Always trying to upgrade our things; car, furniture, landscaping, etc. We found that we were spending 60 hours a week in an office, 30 hours a week maintaining (cleaning the pool and house, mowing, weeding, trimming, fixing up, re-arranging, decorating, and entertaining), blah, blah, blah....

Is this the life that God intended for us? There are only 168 hours in a week. Were we really supposed to be spending over half our week working to maintain this lifestyle? The "quality time" we spent with our kids was usually while we worked in the yard or did other chores together. And whatever we had left, that tiny bit of energy at the end of the week, we would give to God on Sunday morning. Woo-hoo. How could we possibly sing those hymns on Sunday morning: "Here am I, all for Thee, take my life, it's all for Thee?" We were giving the Lord our leftovers. He is worthy of all our first and best! In November of 2009 we sold everything and moved into an RV, our ministry command post. This lifestyle change enables us to move and serve at His will.

As we listened to God’s voice with our families call to service the name He gave us for the ministry was “Wear Gloves”. We put on our gloves when the work is hard and as the Apostle put it in Matt. 9:37 “the harvest is plentiful and the workers are few”

Now, without the distractions of maintaining that suburban lifestyle we now find time to hit the streets and serve wherever needed. We work food pantries, clothing distribution, interfaith kitchens, International missions, child care facilities, nursing homes and with local groups to better serve their communities.

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Over the past year we have worked with groups and individuals being obedient to God in loving others. We have taken almost 200 people through a curriculum called Dignity Serves which attacks the status quo in today’s church attempts to serve the needy. Dealing with tough questions such as; Do I give a homeless person money? , when is it appropriate to help a family with housing needs? Do I look down on anyone because of their position in society? Do I value myself because I was made in the image of God or because of my job, family, church, home, etc.? When I give distressed family money for food, what are the unintended consequences of that action? And more importantly do I care? Is our service about actually loving someone or about me feeling good about what I have done?

Please visit us at www.weargloves.org. We are in great need of financial and prayer support.   Invite us to work with your small group or speak at your church. We are mobile and willing to serve where the Lord leads us.

As the Lord is shaping and focusing our ministry, our daily prayer is that we continue to offer Him our first and best of all that we have.

Peace in Him,

Ken, Wendy and Madi Kebrdle

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You can find out more about the Kebrdle family on their Twitter, facebook, familiy blog. and of course their website www.weargloves.org

Posted on 14. January 2011

Diary of a fat girl Vanessa’s story

To end our week of testimonies, today’s post is by Vanessa Maree, writer of Diary of a fat girl. Rated G

vanessa

I have struggled with being overweight my entire life.   I became a Christian as a young child, and through many trials and blessings, God has been incredibly faithful and has drawn me into closer relationship with Him.

However, my weight has long served as a barrier on many levels to deepening my relationship with God. We live in a society consumed with physical appearance. We judge people on appearance and then allow them to perhaps prove themselves with superior performance. Being overweight was always something in my life that loomed over me. It was the elephant in the room that caused a lot of conflict between my family and I, and altered in many ways my relationship with God.

Being overweight is a product of many things in my life: there are the obvious points of eating too much and not exercising enough, but I have been learning that it goes so much deeper.

I lost my brother and my father in less than 2 years time.  I began drowning in grief. Two of the most important people in my life were suddenly gone and I had no idea where to even begin grieving.

Trying to avoid coping, I learned to stuff emotions and numb myself to the world around me. This was done through eating; becoming so full that you become distracted from what is really going on inside. Life experiences also taught me to build defense mechanisms and not allow people to become close: having extra weight became an actual physical barrier to help me further separate myself from others and from God.

Over the past few years, I have been on an interesting journey of learning to love myself just as I am and truly believing my innate value and worth regardless of what I look like on the exterior. I’ve begun looking at my health in a more holistic sense and allowing my thoughts to be transformed by the One who has the power to change us.

It’s ironic, because I decided to start writing a book and a blog about being overweight in a society that does not welcome it and through my writings, I have been learning a lot and walking through healing in ways I never imagined. Sometimes I’m forced to be brutally and uncomfortably honest with where I am at, but I see how God is using that in my own life to change me and to speak truth into the lives of those around me.

I haven’t lost a lot of physical weight. Yet, the amount of emotional and mental weight that I have been losing through healing and honesty has been incredible.  I slip up often, but God is faithful to sustain as I continue to get back up and continue slogging through discovering who I am in Him and learning to love and embrace myself exactly as I am.

Presently, God continues to be faithful in my life, even when I am not. Daily I am learning new things and seeing a clearer picture of what it means for God to be my life and what that looks like on a practical daily level. For me, this includes pressing into God and seeking Him, building community with people around me, being open and vulnerable about my life and sharing life with others, and it means embracing life and taking opportunities as they come, walking through life with open hands in surrender and allowing God to transform me.

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Posted on 12. January 2011

Growing up too fast Mallory’s Story

Today’s post is from Mallory.  Her story is in video form.  If you are reading from RSS or email you may have to click over to see the video. 

Rated PG 13

mallory

“The Love I had for my son must have been the Love He had for His”

Video by Connection Church

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