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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

From the Inside Out- Hearts Changed and a Marriage Restored {Testimony of Mandy M}


Here is my story......
It has always intrigued me that my name means “worthy of love” because for the majority of my life, I never felt that I was worthy of being loved.  I don’t feel that it is necessary to dwell on the reasons why I felt that way, because the ‘why’ doesn’t matter, the fact is, I felt as though I was of very little worth to anyone and that I served no purpose in life.

For most of my life, I had a strong addiction to pleasing people and that addiction caused me to do many things over the years that I am not very proud of.  I would literally do anything, no matter the consequences, for anyone if I thought they would ‘like’ me for it.  Drugs, sex, lying, the list goes on and on.  I felt so terrible about myself and to feel better, I fed off of the attention I got from others although 99% of the time it was negative attention.

I wouldn’t consider myself as a child that grew up in church.  I visited church with my grandmother, my family would go occasionally, and I went every so often with my biological father but nothing consistent and I didn’t get much out of it when I went.  My main reason for visiting churches was to meet boys or hang out with my friends.  My first kiss took place at a church and I went on retreats as a teenager not for purposes of the Lord but to hang out and feed off of the attention I would receive from the boys there.  At 16, visiting church with a friend, I felt a strong tugging at my heart during an altar call.  I went up front, prayed and thought I was saved.  I say ‘thought I was saved’ because I went right back out and did the same old junk I did as before I went up to the altar.

I was on a fast paced track of destruction most of my teenage life.  I look back now and know without a doubt that even though I was running from God, He was chasing after me and protecting me from so many bad things.  I have seen things and been places and I often wonder how I made it out alive and the only answer I have for that is that God protected me even though I was wallowing in sinful ways.
I became pregnant at 19.  That was a pivotal point in my life and in my walk to the Lord.  Even though I was not married, God saved me through blessing me with a child.  He saved me because He gave me something to live for and to love.  I may have not loved myself but I definitely loved my son so that gave me the push I needed to make better choices and gave me a better outlook on life.

My husband & I were married shortly after our son’s first birthday.  I wish I could say that we lived happily ever after from that point but sadly it did not begin that way.  I would say that life went from bad to worse.  Although, after my son was born, I gave my life to the Lord, I still was unable to see myself through God’s eyes but still through my own eyes and I was still as unworthy as before.  Our marriage for the first couple of years was a nightmare and we were both very unhappy.  We both considered divorce at different points during that time and there were things that we both needed to change but we were too busy pointing out the wrong in the other one to even realize the wrong we were doing ourselves.

During all of this turmoil, we found out we were expecting our second child.  Although, I was very excited to be a mother again, all I could think of was being a single mom with two children now instead of one.  I was not excited to bring another child into this unpleasant situation that we were living in.  There was a point during my pregnancy that the Holy Spirit tugged at my heart and we, as a family, started attending church regularly. 
Through doing this, many strongholds in our lives were broken and I started to focus on myself and the changes I needed the Lord to help me make.  I began to understand God’s love for me and for the first time in 23 years, I knew that I was worthy to be loved.
Through my own journey, I began to secretly pray for my husband and after months of tears, prayers, and more trials; God began to change him. 
We made an agreement at that point; divorce was NOT an option ever again.  God literally changed the both of us from the inside out.
God transformed my husband into the man of my dreams and turned our nightmare into a fairy tale.  Life is still life and we still have trials, but we now have a relationship with Jesus and we know that He is there with us through those trials.  We live for HIM and not for ourselves anymore.
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you,
Mandy
"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thank  in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" ~1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
About MandyMany M

A daughter of the King of kings, wife to an awesome husband, mother to 2 wonderful kiddos.  Mandy shares her passion for teaching others to save money and serve the Lord along the way on her blog Serving While Saving :  http://www.servingwhilesaving.com on Facebook and Twitter.

Each of us have a story to share and we would LOVE to share the story God is writing in your life! Your testimony matters. It may be the very thing God will use to minister to someone else. If you are feeling God tug at your heart to share, please contact me at torriesorge@gmail.com or via private message on our Facebook page. I look forward to sharing your testimony very soon
Be A Blessing,

Monday, August 20, 2012

Following God’s Lead…into Public School

Photo Credit
The new back pack has been purchased; supplies are packed and ready to go; new jeans and shirts hang in the closet…it’s back to school time!

For the past two weeks, I’ve struggled with this post. My heart desperately wants to share the experience that God has given to our family, yet it breaks my heart to know that some (many perhaps) will not read this with open eyes. The journey I’m about to share is not meant IN ANY WAY to offend. It is simply to share what God revealed in our heart and to our family.

In a few short days our son will return to school…public school. I know for many this is a controversial decision. However, this is not a decision that my husband and I have come to lightly or without much prayer.

For the past two years, our son has asked to be homeschooled. He first proposed the idea while in 3rd grade, a year that was challenging to say the least. (You can read more about that year and our son's struggles in school here, here and here.) To be honest, I didn’t even entertain his request at first. But as the year went on and I could see the outgoing, happy kid who loved to learn and thrived in school retreat into himself and become a shell of who he once was, my heart became open to the idea. So I began to research it. I asked friends and posed questions online for information. I looked into various curriculums and spent many nights awake in prayer. As 3rd grade came to a close, I continued to gather information and then sat down, presenting everything to my husband, who was already well aware of the situation. To my surprise, he was very hesitant.  His concerns were valid and I listened to them.
One of the rules in our family is that if both my husband and I are not 100% in agreement, we don’t move forward. We stop, continue to pray about it and seek God’s will for the situation. We've learned that sometimes God chooses to only speak to one of us; so the other always needs to be open and prayerful for God's will.
That’s exactly what I did. I continued to pray, seek Godly wisdom and trust God's perfect will and timing.

As 4th grade began, I had determined to give it a month. If things weren’t better, I was going to pull our son out and begin homeschooling him (provided I could convenience my husband. Noticed I said “I” would be doing the convincing. I'm so glad this moment of weakness didn't win out). It didn’t happen overnight, but things did get better. As the year went on, I saw a happiness and excitement return to our son. Yet, he still continued to ask about homeschooling. Although I was willing to do whatever necessary to help our son I had reservations of my own and my husband still maintained his.
There is a song I love that says, “Lord move, or move me.” And that’s exactly what He did!  He didn’t change my husband’s heart…he changed mine!
Throughout the spring and over these summer months, God has made it incredibly obvious that He has our son right where HE wants him.

How do we know?

~When we asked our son why he wanted to be homeschooled, it became clear that is was his way of escape. Instead of facing a challenging year with a difficult teacher and classmates, he knew it was easier to stay home. He knew is was safe at home. God didn't call us to run. He called us to put on our armor! We can not run from our problems and God never promised our road would be easy. He promised he would walk it with us. The life of a believer is rarely safe, confortable or easy. As parents, we needed to help our son in the growing pains of his faith, not help him run from them. (As a mother, this was especially hard. Not mother wants to see their child hurt. However, it's through the pain that God stretches us, grows us and draws us closer to him...YES, even children).

~We saw God open door after door, using our son to be Jesus to his teacher and classmates. When a boy didn't have lunch, our son willingly shared his. When another child was being picked on, our son stood up for him, befriending him. He spoke words of encouragement over classmates who were struggling. He began to seek out ways to be Jesus at school. It became our conversation on the ride home, “How did you shine His light today?”

~Most importantly, we know because my husband and I have a perfect peace about it…and so does our son. He is excited to return to school for the first time in two years. He is becoming more firm in His faith and in shining God’s light to a dark classroom, playground, lunch period. He is learning that he may be the only Jesus someone ever sees and he is learning to make the most of those opportunities.

My husband and I firmly believe that God has a divine purpose for each of our children. We know that for now, that purpose is in our public school. If and when that ever changes, we are open and willing to move where ever He leads us.
And that, I believe is one of the greatest lessons we as parents who follow the Word of God can teach our children, to follow God’s lead, where ever it takes us, no matter how scary or uncomfortable it may be.
Regardless of where the little ones (and not so little ones) in your life attend school, it is my prayer that they have a wonderful year and that God’s light will shine brightly through them.
Be A Blessing,

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

My Ma was Raped {Testimony of Connie B}

Abortion
Just hearing or seeing the word sparks something in our hearts. For some it’s a cry for a woman’s right to choose. For others, it is a moral decision that only God should decide. One of the biggest debates and questions surrounding it…what about in the case of rape or incest?

Today’s testimony comes from Connie and the story she shares is a powerful one of love, forgiveness, God’s amazing grace and the power of God to restore and bless as ONLY He can. I read her story a few months ago and knew that it needed to be shared. I was in tears and my heart so full after reading it! I pray yours will be too!!!
(*Note: Connie has a unique way of writing. It makes you want to grab a glass of sweet tea and join her on the swing on the front porch and listen as she shares.)

"I am a woman who is, accordin’ to many people, a very STRONG WOMEN and GOD has been ALL I’ve known.
My sweet ma was brutally raped. She grew up in church and was a strong woman of God herself. She was a single mother and she LOVED me with everythin’ she had…
She never once was angry. She forgave him quickly and embraced a baby that was her “special blessin’".
Four months ago after 5 years of bein’ her caretaker, travelin’ to and fro Ohio, she was able to move to New York last September. We were able to spend six months together makin’ beautiful memories ~ She went to be with Jesus…
She was very well cared for by the baby born from that rape…
So, to all those who think that there’s SHAME in bein’ raped, or think it’s BEST to abort, I say, “look at me and then tell me ya really rather see me dead.”

TRUSTIN’ HIM is truly what makes me a STRONG WOMAN OF GOD!
It still is quite tough on me, havin' no family left. But I know God has plans for me! This is my daily mantra: the deeper your faith, the stronger you'll stand! He's still writin' my story, one page at a time. Everythin' I am, I owe to HIM!"

sweetangel
Connie's sweet Ma

1whiterose11red
Eleven roses at Ma's funeral. The
white represents Connie, the red
her mother's love for her.
















Each of us have a story to share and we would LOVE to share the story God is writing in your life! Your testimony matters. It may be the very thing God will use to minister to someone else. If you are feeling God tug at your heart to share, please contact me at torriesorge@gmail.com or via private message on our Facebook page. I look forward to sharing your testimony very soon!
Be a Blessing,

Sunday, August 12, 2012

It’s Good to be Home!

home is where the heart is

Hi Ladies,
They say that home is where the heart is. Well, my home is certainly here with you!! I missed you all and the encouragement you give to be each day (which is why I wasn’t able to stay away quiet like I had planned.) ♥
First, I want to say a huge “THANK YOU!!” to all the ladies who filled in as guest posts over the past several weeks!! All of you did an amazing job! If you missed any of their posts, I will have a list at the bottom that you can access.

So, what did I do with all my extra time???

~ Although I intended to be completely offline the entire time, I barely made it 1 day!! It wasn’t because of a “need to check in and see what’s going on" attitude. Rather, I found that within a day, I missed you terribly! I look forward to reading your comments, seeing your posts, sharing stories and just “doing life” together! BBM has become such a big part of my life and ministry. God uses you to bless, encourage and revive my soul throughout the day. I just couldn’t stay away!

~ I spent a lot of time praying and seeking God’s direction for BBM Ministries. I will get into more details over time. But I am so thankful to have confirmation in regards to the theme and direction that He has for BBM.

~ I also, hung out – with my kiddos, my family & my friends. It was WONDERFUL!! It reminded me that first and foremost, I am to minister to my husband and children. I LOVE BBM, but too often it has come before them. That is NOT how things are going to be anymore!!! Me…you, we all need to take a step back, re-evaluate our lives and re-prioritize from time to time.

~ I studied and dug into the Word. I can’t wait to begin to unpack all the things God revealed to me. His Word is amazing and ALIVE! He has SO many things that he wants us to know, so many ways he wants us to grow, so many promises he wants us to not just read or quote, but really get into the depths of our hearts and begin to live by! (Can you sense my excitement!?!?! I hope so, ‘cause boy, I am!!!!).

Thank you for joining me on this journey called "life". Isn’t is great to know you’re not alone! It’s my prayer that you will continue to walk with me, as BBM grows and develops into all that God desires it to be. He is good and worthy of our praise!!!
It’s good to be home! ♥


In Case You Missed Them:
Ladies, We Have a Choice” by Darlene Schacht of Time-Warp Wife
Are You Fall-ing?” by Debi Walter of The Romantic Vineyard
Our Marriages Are Worth Fighting For” by Sonya Schroeder of Becoming A Strong Woman of God
What If They Walked Into Your Church?” by Gina Smith of Keepin’ It Real
Left For Dead” by Amelia Rhodes of Amelia Rhodes Blog
Be A Blessing,

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Our Son Saved My Life {Testimony of Jayme}

At 32, I found out I was pregnant with our 3rd child. When I was 17 weeks pregnant, I was called and told to go to the doctor's office. When I got there, my husband was there also....they had called him too. They didn't put us in a room, they had us go to the doctor's private office. That's when we were told that I had cervical cancer.  I was scared, but more concerned for my baby than anything. A few days later, my husband and I were sitting in an oncology waiting room.  That's when thing became real to me. We were called back and were escorted to the oncologist's private office.  I wasn't prepared for what was happening. The oncologist sat down and said it was his medical opinion that I needed to terminate my pregnancy and immediately have a hysterectomy. I didn't need time to think, I knew my answer. I looked at him and told him no. I wasn't sure if I was going to survive, but I knew that I was not going to kill my baby.
I kept thanking God for giving me this baby that was going to save my life. I wouldn't have known I even had cancer had I not gotten pregnant.
I delivered my 3rd little boy via C-section at 34 weeks. I immediately had a radical hysterectomy. We named him Andrew, which means protector. Eight months after Andrew was born, I received news that the cancer was back.  Now.....I was really scared. I prayed harder than I ever have. I started chemo and radiation a few weeks later. I finally finished my treatments 4 months ago and had my first PET scan....I got my results 3 weeks ago.......THE CANCER IS GONE!!!!!! Andrew is 15 months old now and he is healthy and happy!

Jayme
Jayme
Jayme_baby
Baby Andrew

Each of us have a story to share and we would LOVE to share the story God is writing in your life! Your testimony matters. It may be the very thing God will use to minister to someone else. If you are feeling God tug at your heart to share, please contact me at torriesorge@gmail.com or via private message on our Facebook page. I look forward to sharing your testimony very soon! 
Be A Blessing,

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