family

Making Sense of a Senseless Act: Church Shooting in Texas

After another recent horrific tragedy this week, we are reminded of many things. None of us are promised tomorrow. You never know what the next day; let alone the next hour will bring. But, many want to know where God was in the midst of this disgusting event that occurred at a Texas Baptist Church this week. Why didn’t God stop the shooter? How could He let all of those innocent children and adults die? Isn’t God supposed to keep all of this bad stuff from happening?

People are angry. People are scared. People are grieving. People are already pointing fingers at everything from gun control to the lack of reporting from the military court marshal and the way the government works. More importantly than anything right now are the families at the center of this nightmare. I read this morning about one man who lost eight family members including his pregnant wife and three of his children (four include the unborn child). My heart breaks every time I see a report with new information as we watch the stories continue to unfold of families touched and a small, loving community so confused by it all.

So, how does one make sense of this? I was reading posts yesterday from people claiming that “these people don’t need more prayer, but they need gun control.” On the contrary, these families are in desperate needs of prayers for God to overwhelm them with His peace and comfort. We can’t expect unbelievers to understand how one can feel a peace among this great loss. We live by faith, by things that are unseen. We hold tight to the truths of the Scriptures and the hope that one day we will all see each other again in heaven as God has promised to those who believe in Him.

These are a few scriptures that come to mind today as we ask God why this happened.

John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me,  you will have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but take heart, I have overcome the world.

Psalm 34:18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted

Isaiah 61:1-3 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord‘s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.

Lamentations 3:31-33 For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men.

Isaiah 57:1-2 The righteous man perishes, and no one lays it to heart; devout men are taken away, while no one understands. For the righteous man is taken away from calamity; he enters into peace; they rest in their beds who walk in their uprightness.

I could go on and on with the words Christ gives us about these times. We know that we live in a sinful world. We know that because of the sin of man, we have to deal with the evil that occurs daily. But, we also know the goodness of our God and that He was right there in the midst of that church holding onto each baby, child, teen, adult, and grandparent. How can the pastor and families find the strength to go on? If you have read their words after this happened, you will see a strength like no other. Because their strength comes from the Lord; not human strength. I don’t know if I would be the same right after the loss of my child, but I do know that the Lord would have to give me the courage and strength to move forward. A day at a time.

We can’t always understand why people do what they do. We live in a very dark, depressed, angry, and selfish world. It is for this reason why we need to draw closer to the Lord even more so. None of us are promised tomorrow. This could happen at any time or maybe a health scare, car accident, injury, or a violent act against you or your family member. The question is… do you know Jesus? Do you have the hope that these families have that one day they will be able to see those lost in heaven? If not… I pray you will seek Jesus today. Find His peace and His love that is more than this ugly world could ever offer you. We need you more today than ever Jesus!

Encouragement for Blended Families and Stepparents

If you had told me 10 years ago that I would be a divorced mom of two to later remarry into a family of 4 I would have told you that you were crazy! I was content with my life in Florida. I had just had baby #1 and sure we had our marital issues like anyone else, but never would I have imagined what was in store for my future.

It’s easy to look around at others and see their hurt, but not truly understand what they are going through. Hurt can comes in form of death, divorce, a traumatic event, and more, but until it changes YOUR life sometimes we just don’t get it.

So, let’s hop to 2008. That was a MUCH better year for me. After single parenting, I met and married Steve. He had two children of his own from a previous marriage and had gone through the same life’s pains as me. For a time, I remember crying out to God asking if anyone would ever want a woman with two small girls and a ton of baggage. Of course, God showed me that He did have a plan for me and it came much quicker than I expected.

Steve and I married in June 2008 after a short engagement. After all, we had both been married before and there was no point in prolonging what we both new we wanted. Our dating life consisted of dinners with the six of us around the dining table at his house, giving the kids baths, watching TV, going to the park and on occasion we would go out just the two of us. If dating with four kids didn’t work then, we knew that it wouldn’t work in married life.

I’m not going to get into all of the details and events that happened next just yet. I’ve got to save some of that for later 🙂 However, being a stepmom has been by far one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever had and one of the biggest emotional roller coasters in my life. I know what it’s like to feel like you don’t have a place in your own home. I know what it’s like to feel like a third party. I know what it’s like to feel like you don’t have a voice.

I can also tell you that being a stepparent and raising someone else’s children can be very rewarding. It takes time and a lot of patience, but when you push through all of the trials and start to see changes happening it’s exciting! There are many mountains to climb and many valleys to walk through, but with my own story I have seen over and over how God has been with me each step of the way. You can’t force someone to love you. You can’t make it happen on your own. You have to wait and allow God to work on everyone’s hearts.

I recently published my first blended family devotional and I would love to share it with you! Click this LINK and check it out! It will walk you through my own personal story and struggles and teach you some basic principles along the way. I also have a Facebook page for blended families that I’ve started so Steve and I can meet new families, give support, and encourage others. Click HERE to connect with us!

Stay tuned for more of my story.

Broken To Blended

Broken To Blended – Now Available

I am so thrilled to announce that my first book is now published and available! Broken To Blended: Encouragement For Blended Families is a devotional/journal for those parenting children other than their own. It is difficult enough dealing with issues in marriage and family, but when you throw in the complexities of blended family life, issues can escalate.

Sammi final cover

There are so many emotions involved. There are so many PEOPLE involved in your life that sometimes you feel like you don’t have a place in your own home. This book takes you through my own life. The REAL and RAW parts and I am able to share how I came from brokenness to my own blended family. There is no sugar coating the issues in family life.

I want people to understand that there are so many people who can relate to their struggles and find encouragement from scripture and prayer. So, with that said… please share this with your family, friends, or anyone you know who may be feeling a little lost or hopeless in their own situation. I promise you they will receive a blessing after going through this 30 day devotional.

The book is now available on Kindle or Createspace. Click links to view. Also, it will be available on Amazon.com by the end of the week!