Life On Purpose

Wherever You Lead, I’ll Go March 21, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — zoecline @ 7:01 pm

Last Saturday I took off in the morning to start my new grocery ritual. The Newsboys song, ” the Same God” came on the radio. I never really listened to the words before, but as they echoed in my mind, it was that sure, small, still voice every Christian knows well.

…”The same God who was with you then is with you now
The same God who led you in will lead you out
So take all the fear and doubt
Go on and lay them down
The same God, the same God is with you now

Can’t you see
Everything happens for a reason
There’s a time, there’s a place
For every season
He knows what’s best for you
So don’t be afraid…”

In that moment I became totally sure God was speaking to me. I have been praying for the door to open for me to return home since a year ago this February. In the last 6 weeks I’ve witnessed God open doors I never imagined. From a way to pay off my state scholarship loan, to seeing my husband willingly sacrifice his beloved truck, to my manager becoming completely understanding and accommodating, the Lord has wowed me at every turn. It all culminated in a single moment, an answer to a year’s worth of prayers. He told me the time has come. You could never convince me that God doesn’t hear our every prayer or that He doesn’t want to give us the desires of our hearts. He’s been so real, so true, so timely for me.

One conversation later, my manager promised me she is happy to request an “as needed” position for me. When baby Eden comes, it will mark the fulfillment of years of hope and dreams of being a stay at home mommy and wife. I’m thrilled and beyond thankful!

I can only give credit to my King.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:20, 21 NIV)

 

First Steps March 10, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — zoecline @ 8:28 pm

Since my Mission Return Home post, a lot has transpired in our lives. This last several weeks I have been challenged in my prayer life to really make a paradigm shift. And it’s kind of hard to tell God “no” when I owe him my life, so naturally, the shift is done; the new paradigm is here. I went from a mindset that maybe staying home will be possible in the next year to believing God will direct our steps on a very narrow and straight path returning home. And boy, has He delivered.

First, Lee and I took a hard look at our budget and found several ways to decrease our spending to funnel money toward paying down our debt. Next, we prayed. Then, Lee decided he is willing to sell his truck. So we bought a small, gas-saving, used-but-reliable car. And we prayed some more. Then we sold some stuff. On with more prayers, and I have been considering some sort of food business from home…as you all know I love to cook! Then I get total confirmation in a form I never expected that yes, cooking is can be a way to make money. And the praying doesn’t cease.

I expected to grieve the loss of our stuff and a lot of our income. I expected it to feel like a sacrifice. But I am so excited about finally trusting God and living out the calling in my life, that I find myself looking for more ways to save money and give God glory. And while I am still working at this point, we are living on much less than we were just a couple of months ago.

It feels so freeing. Something about rejecting the world publicly and obviously makes it so much more peaceful inside of me. Maybe it’s that I can stop expecting perfection because, that too, is the worldly standard for today’s woman. I fully expect and am waiting for others to question me and to think differently of me. And I sure hope they will ask me why in the world I would give up my career. Because I can’t help but share my story! Just as surely as I expect the questions, I expect to be a stay home mommy. It’s coming. These are my first steps. Stay tuned:)

 

Darkness into Light March 5, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — zoecline @ 8:51 pm

Some have heard bits and pieces of my story of depression, some have not. It is a part of my life I used to want to forget for good, a part of my life I was ashamed about. But the truth is, this is the journey God has given me to share a testimony of transformation. I have been blessed with many opportune moments to share it, and finally find myself ready to write it out. I want to preface it by saying that depression is my weak point, something Satan has used many times to harm me, but what Satan means for harm, my God uses for bringing me back to the Cross where He gets the glory. This is something highly personal that I know some of you are far too painfully familiar with. Maybe you have never been set free. Maybe you don’t know where to start. I pray my story will lead you to the Savior, the one Place where you can find perfect healing. Through my tears and my struggle, I can honestly say I have been set free, that I am living a victorious life, and that it is not I who live, but Christ who lives in me.

I don’t recall exactly when all of this took place or even the precise time line. I believe at some point my sick brain, in order to protect my wounded spirit, just threw a lot of the details in the trash bin. So forgive me if some of the details are lost or misremembered. I remember being about 11 years old when I began to seek out relationships boys in a way I now see was totally abnormal. I was looking for a place of belonging and love. In my seeking, I found way more than I bargained for. Even more than my girlish heart could handle. But I didn’t know any better. I just wanted to be loved. I started wearing clothes and makeup that I thought would please the objects of my misplaced affection. I spent every ounce of energy in me to be accepted. For a long time it was a silent battle I didn’t even recognize myself fighting. Over time as I placed my self worth in being accepted and loved by my peers, my knowledge of and value of myself slowly eroded. Before I knew it, I didn’t even recognize the girl in the mirror any more. What I saw, I loathed in the deepest sense. My soul hurt for what I was doing to myself because I knew I was on a path to destruction. You see, I gave my heart to Jesus when I was only 8 or 9. I had already been sealed, a child of God. As a girl only 11, I could have never been prepared for the battle that almost cost my earthly life. As the self hatred grew, the behavior and volatile impulsiveness only worsened, a cycle of death.

I began to think about how best to kill myself. What wouldn’t hurt and leave a mess for my parents? I decided one day I didn’t want to live a day more. I couldn’t imagine how I could be needed here on earth any more. I felt like the turmoil I brought on my family would find an end with my death. I came from school and tried to act as normal as possible. Over an hour or two I swallowed some thirty or more ibuprofen tablets. No one knew. I would just go to bed and wake up in heaven, right? At this age, I had little knowledge of medications and I really didn’t know how it would end for sure. I just prayed to God to have mercy on me, begging him to understand that I couldn’t live with the pain of hating myself any longer, praying for Him to take me away. If I remember right, my mom actually called me shortly after my deadly binge. She immediately knew something was wrong and came home. I’m not really sure why I told her what I had done. I just did. Moms always know, you know?

The rest of that day was a blur of pain, tears, and psychiatric evaluations. The next couple of years just replayed that theme like a song on repeat. The third time I was hospitalized, I was numb. I had totally lost sight of myself. I didn’t even know who Zoe Marie was any more. I was just a broken mess. By this time I was 13 going on 14 in my freshman year of high school. It was April 2000.

I vividly remember opening my Bible, one of the few belongings I was allowed to have in my room on the psych unit. I broke down in sobs, at the end of myself, wanting desperately to die. I prayed all there was left in me to pray. ” Lord, I don’t know who I am any more, and I don’t know why you are keeping me here. If you are real, and what you said in your word is true, you are going to have to remake me, to bring me back to life. I’m nothing, and I can’t do anything. It’s in your hands.”

A year later, my life looked so different. And it has ever since. I don’t want to discount the love and support of parents who, though heartbroken and exhausted, unfailingly supported me and believed in me. But what I’m telling you is, there is nothing strong about me, there is nothing overcoming about me. God healed my life and set me free. He showed me what true love is. A love that gives up self. A love that shed the blood of Jesus on the cross. A love that transcends all evil and conquers all sin.

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

I hope you will pass my story on to someone who needs it.

 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins March 4, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — zoecline @ 9:18 pm

I loved the idea of peanut butter chocolate chip muffins and first saw it on Pinterest. My husband LOVES anything combining peanut butter and chocolate. When I first made these they came out more dense and savory than I would prefer. This could be due to using natural peanut butter, so I cannot vouch for the results using traditional peanut butter. So here is my adaptation of the original recipe

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
6 tablespoons butter melted and cooled
1/8 cup canola or vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup peanut butter (I used Smuckers Natural Creamy)
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375°. Line a muffin pan with 12 paper liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and brown sugar. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter, canola oil, vanilla, peanut butter, eggs and milk until smooth. Add in the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Divide batter evenly between prepared muffin tins, filling each to the top.

Bake for 24- 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Please click the link to find the original original recipe

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