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That beautiful September morning…

Sept11

Have you forgotten? (link opens to Darryl Worley song on Youtube)

Last year I shared about my day back on September 11, 2001. You can read that post here.

This year, I wanted to share with you an excerpt from a poem I wrote in 2002.

Tomorrow will come
but things will never be the same
we will stand with pride and glory
and honor every heroes name

Our lady still stands tall
peace she will bring
with pride and hope and joy
our country will still sing

This day hath brought much pain
but we will find our way
for we did not fall
on that beautiful September day.

© 2002 Jenny Armstrong

Today, I celebrate and praise all the heroes that put their lives on the line each day – the military, the firefighters, the police officers, the EMS, rescue and medical teams, the teachers and many more. Tell the ones in your community how much they mean to you. Thank them!

While I celebrate, I pray for the families who had to say goodbye all too soon. I pray for the families of the fallen ones from that September day. No doubt they still walk with an empty place in their heart but I pray they have found peace.

Please join me in remembering the people who gave all that day and those they left behind.

Lamentations 3:20-23, (NLT)

I will never forget this awful time,
as I grieve over my loss.
Yet I still dare to hope
when I remember this:

The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.

 

Yes to God!

YestoGod

It’s that time again!  It’s blog hop time with Proverbs 31 and Melissa Taylor’s Online Bible studies!  Yay!

This study is Lysa TerKeurst’s book, What Happens When Women Say Yes to God.  We had four choices on topics this week.  Here’s mine:

4. #yestoGod. Share a time you caught a “glimpse of eternity” as you said yes to what God was asking you to do.

Back in July 2011, I had just joined in with the P31 online Bible studies.  The first study I followed was Wendy Blight’s book, Hidden Joy.  Wendy is a very gifted writer and her book absolutely impacted my life in a huge way!  Around that same time, I began feeling this overwhelming desire to pour myself into Scripture and anything that kept me in God’s word (keep in mind, this was very unusual as until then, I hated to read anything – even or maybe especially my Bible).

As I went through the study, I just felt like God was leading me to teach.  I have to explain this for you to understand how ridiculous that idea was in my mind.

First of all, I has spent the past 10 years hiding out in the church nursery.  It was a safe place where I could hide any real feelings or emotions from everyone else.  I could spend all my time at church focusing on these kids and not myself.  It was my escape from real life.

Also, I am not at all good with Scripture or memorizing, knowing much of anything about the Bible.  At the time, I knew Jesus, knew of Moses, Jonah and a few other folks from the Bible but that was just about the extent of my knowledge.  (How sad that is now!)

I wasn’t good with prayer (still working on this one) and had never, ever prayed out loud.  In fact, until this past weekend, I could still say that.  God was certainly working on me this weekend and had me WAY out of my comfort zone when I was finally able to pray out loud in front of a group of women.  He’s still got a lot of work to do on me in that area, lol!

I had never, not once, attended a Bible study or class – NEVER!  The only Bible study I had ever done, I was in the middle of and it was online!  I had no clue how it worked to actually be in person, what teachers did or even what those who were there to learn did – nothing.

But still, I felt that’s exactly where God wanted me.  I couldn’t understand any of it.  Why would he want me to teach others?  I don’t even know my own way but he wants me to lead someone else?  “This is insane,” I thought.

These feelings were so strong, I knew I had to act on it and in a moment, I chose to say YES to God!

I emailed our education pastor at church, fully expecting him to laugh right out of his shoes and reply back with a big fat “No!  I’m sorry, but who do you think you are even considering this silly notion?!  Not no but NO!”

The thing is, that’s not the reply I got.

He said, “Yes!”

At that point, you can imagine I was a little extremely shocked.  I couldn’t quite understand first of all, why he would even consider the idea.  Second, what was I doing?  I had no clue where to go from there.  I had no idea what I was doing and what was I thinking getting myself into this?  It didn’t matter because this was it, I was doing it.

I said Yes to God!

I taught my first Bible study class, on the book Hidden Joy, in the fall of 2011.

That first class will always, always be such an important part of my story.  The women who came gave me hope.  They gave me confidence in a God I wasn’t sure I wanted to trust.  They encouraged me, supported me and even thanked me.  It seemed like they actually enjoyed it and God really worked in all of us.  I couldn’t believe it!

Still filled with doubts, I continued to feel this strong desire to teach.  I wish I could really make you understand just how crazy this thought was in my mind, but it would not let up.

The next semester, I asked our education pastor if I could continue teaching.  Still filled with the same insecurities, this time I feared now that folks had taken my class, maybe someone didn’t like it, he’d have doubts about me and tell me no.

He said, “Yes!”

I went on to teach the winter 2011/12 semester, spring 2012 and fall 2012.

At this point, I started feeling like if I didn’t take a break I might get burned out.  So, I for the winter 2012/13 semester, took a break and took my very first, real, in person Bible study class.

In the spring 2013, I was back to teaching.  This summer, I took a break from our church to take a class with my sweet sisters at another church.  My second in person Bible study class :)

Come September, it will be back to teaching for me.  I’ve just gotten the okay from our education pastor to keep it up and with his support and encouragement, along with the support and encouragement from our lead pastor, I know I am doing exactly what God wants me to do.

I am this wounded, broken girl who doesn’t know Scripture very well, very much out of my comfort zone and who is not, in the least bit, confident about her ability to teach, but I am absolutely confident that God can use me, even especially in my brokenness and that he can work through me.

Because of that, I say YES to GOD!

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P31 OBS Blog Hop

Stumbling Blocks…

Our oldest son, Noah, is twelve.

For as long as I can remember, I have struggled to communicate with him.  The more time passes, the more I realize much of that is because we are so much alike in many ways.

I have a hard time reaching him on his level.  For one thing, he’s a boy.  Boys and girls are just wired differently.  He loves Legos, Star Wars and all things boy and while I have some tomboy tendencies, I love the frilly pinkness of a girls world … pig tails, painted nails, princess parties, etc.  I get to enjoy the best of both now as we have two boys and a girl :)

And even so, I still struggle to communicate with him.

He’s about to be a teenager and all I have ever heard about teenagers is communication is difficult.  Well, if it has been difficult forever already, what’s it going to be like when he is a teenager?

My heart aches to be that mom with super ears to hear anything and everything.  Realistically, I know I won’t be let in on every part of his life.  But still, I dream of those moments.

A couple months ago, we had just that.  We had an evening out, just he and I.  We went to a local church for a play put on by members of the church.  It was an “in your face” reality kind of thing.  They did skits on many different tough topics … hard core tough topics.

This play opened a door for me.  It gave me the opportunity to communicate with Noah.  It was a common ground for us to meet on.  It was a moment that will last a lifetime.

While they touched on so many different topics ranging from child abuse, rape, drugs, pre-marital sex, alcoholism and much more, several things really touched me.

One of those things was this girl who’s father never really wanted her.  Her mother loved her but her father was angry and bitter.  The girl learns that her father was never loving towards her because he’d wanted her aborted.  I don’t recall if it was the same girl but there was also a skit where a young girl is soooo in love and becomes pregnant.

This whole scene left me with an opportunity to share with Noah just how important he is to us and how much we love him.  After the play, we sat in the van and talked.  I told him that I was pregnant with him before his dad and I got married.  We were so in love.  We had committed to each other and had planned to get married in May.  I soon found out I was pregnant and due in May.  We moved our wedding up to December and we’ve recently celebrated thirteen years of marriage.  I still love him just as much as I did then, in fact, probably much more.  He has been my rock.

As I was telling Noah that we were pregnant before marriage, I was able to tell him all the reasons why that made things harder for us and him.  I hope that is a little encouragement to him to wait for that special someone and a commitment before God.  I also reassured him that his dad and I loved him more than anything and never, ever considered an abortion.  That thought never entered my mind.

While we may continue to struggle with communication, God is working on that in us.  He’s putting us in the places we need to be.

I am so thankful that he hasn’t given up on me or the relationship I can have with Noah.  What a blessing to know that all things are possible when we seek the Lord.

Three T’s for Tuesday – 10/2/12 – Abortion

**What works for my family, may not be the right thing for your family but I have learned a lot through trial and error, mistake and prayer.  I am no expert on families, but I am an expert on mine.  My opinions and suggestions are simply that, opinions and suggestions.  Take from them what works for you and put aside the rest :)

Today’s Three T’s for Tuesday:  Tackling Tough Topics is…

Death? Life?  How important is life? Is it meaningless enough to destroy?

I realize these topics are tough.  They are meant to be.  They are meant to make you think.  What is your stand on abortion?

I have very strong opinions about some things and abortion is one of them.  I’ve been pregnant three times in my life and each time has been filled with more emotion, worry and anxiety than I could ever begin to express.  I can’t imagine the agony of debating whether or not to keep a baby, much less the idea of killing it.

For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.  Psalm 139:13-16

I believe from the moment of conception, there is a life.  I have always believed that the moment egg meets sperm, there is a life.  Sometimes things go wrong and the life doesn’t survive.  Other times, we take away the child’s future.  We choose murder because it’s an inconvenience.  How can it be consider anything less than murder?

As a volunteer photographer with the non-profit organization, Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, I have witnessed many occasions when sweet little angels didn’t get to go home with the family that loved them.  Many of the calls I receive are for babies who never even had the chance to take their first breath.  There is nothing more heart wrenching for me than to watch a mother’s dreams shatter, her life turned upside down, all hope for this little bundle of joy sucked right out of her.  It’s sheer devastation.

I have seen babies born that fell into the range of “acceptable” abortion age and am sure they had a purpose.  They were more than just a blob of tissue.  They had a heart, ten little fingers and toes, a cute button nose, arms and legs, sweet little ears.  Their body was being formed, however, imperfectly.  These babies I have been touched by were not blessed with life, but their families were blessed because even in death, these sweet angels were loved, cherished.  One dear friend who knew her baby had no chance of life outside the womb made the choice to give her life as long as she possibly could. She carried that sweet little girl in her womb, where she could have life, moving, feeling her mother’s love. There was life and she was most certainly loved.

You just can’t tell me that life wasn’t important.  Even if circumstances in one’s life don’t suit bringing a baby into it, someone somewhere would be willing to love that child. In my opinion, choosing abortion as a form of birth control or because you made a bad choice, had a week moment or it cramps your lifestyle is really no different than someone killing their already born child because they got in the way, got on their nerves or became an inconvenience.  A life is a life.  If we put so little value on it, then what is the purpose for any of us to live.  If there is no value in life, what purpose do any of us have in being here?

For my three children, I loved them even before conception.  I knew I wanted children.  I couldn’t imagine the joy (and heartache) that would come along with being a mom.  Every step of my pregnancy, while joyful and surreal, still had worry that something would go wrong. 

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.  Psalm 127:3 

While I strongly disagree with abortion because a baby might inconvenience their life, I do believe there are situations when drastic measures could be considered necessary.  I do believe in certain situations where the life of both mother and baby are at risk or in the event of rape, women should have a say.  While I would hope they very heavily weigh the options, I can understand the consideration in these situations.

And lastly, although I believe every life deserves a chance, I also believe every woman who has felt the need to debate the decision between life or death should have a chance as well.  There is something in her life that has brought her to a crossroad.  There are fears, doubts and worries in her mind.  It’s not a choice she faces lightly and while we may disagree with her choices, she deserves our love and compassion.  I don’t think any woman goes through with an abortion without some resistance and questioning.  And in the end, it’s a decision she has to live with and certainly one she won’t forget.

With that said, I encourage you all to reach out in love rather than anger.  We all make mistakes and bad choices at some point in our lives.  What will you say if you encounter a woman who is facing the questions of life or death?  Will you express anger, hatred and shame or will you embrace her with love and compassion?

© The Imperfect Princess at theimperfectprincess.com

I Remember…

Have you forgotten?  (link opens to Darryl Worley song on Youtube)

It was a beautiful morning.

It was my day off.  My 16 month old son and I watched as Curious George did all sorts of silly things.  During a commercial break, I flipped over to Good Morning America.

That’s when I saw it.  They were showing clips of the first plane.  Just then, the second plane hit.

There were flames.

There were sighs.

My heart sank.

I thought of my husband, a firefighter.  He was testing for his EMT that day; no interruptions.  I ached to call him.  I so wanted to hear his voice.

I waited for what seemed like days.

Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore and I called him.  When he answered, I asked if he had heard.  Yes.  The instructor pulled each of them aside before they left and told them the news. She didn’t want them to drive away and hear it on the radio.  She knew they would take it hard.

Devastation.

Being a firefighter is not a job, it’s a brotherhood.

It doesn’t matter where you are a firefighter, you are family.  These guys and gals in New York, they’re family.  They are family who had a job to do and they did it.  They walked into those towers with huge hearts, ready to save others.

Some of them did not walk out.  My heart aches for their families. My heart will always hold a place for them and the others lost that day.  My prayers are with their families. 

Each year is a year without them.

Each year is a reminder of how much was lost.

I wrote last year about my memory from 9/11 and just like this time last year, my firefighter is at work.  He’s fulfilling his calling.  He will walk through the flames to protect and serve.  I pray that tomorrow, he comes home, safe and sound.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33

© The Imperfect Princess at theimperfectprincess.com

Ooo Laa La!

So I’m finally getting somewhere :)  Do you notice the difference?  Things are moving right a long and there’s already a change in effect.  More to come soon…stay tuned!

Blessings,
Jen

© The Imperfect Princess at theimperfectprincess.com