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Never-Ending Love

Hi, I’m sorry its been a long, long time since I’ve written, especially about God. We are thinking about joining a new church and they asked for a testimony. It was tough to sit down and try to put all of my 31 years with God to paper. How to write all the amazing things God has done over all that time? Huge ups and downs. Anyway, finally got it on paper and it make me cry to see all of it as a whole, all of the things God has done throughout my whole life, and how He is still here. Please leave me a comment and thanks for reading, and sticking around if you’re still here from the beginning!

Introduction to God

I was always interested in God as child, and I loved Him and would talk to Him. Somehow I knew that He knew all about me and accepted and loved me despite my flaws, and that made me love Him. But at the same time, I wasn’t sure if He was actually real. It just seemed like one of those things that would be too good to be true.

I went away to college at age 18 and felt pretty lonely leaving behind my family and boyfriend. Shortly after that i saw a sign for a Christian group meeting on our campus. So i impulsively decided to go, and what i found there were a bunch of kids like me who loved God. I was always very skeptical of things, but to me this seemed real because in my experience teenagers wouldn’t attend church voluntarily (without parents) unless they truly believed in it for themselves.

Shortly after that one night i was talking to God about all of my worries and problems and clueless as to how to solve them, when I felt led to read the Bible starting in the New Testament, probably for the first time.  When I got to Matthew 6:33, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you”, the words just seemed to leap off the page and speak to me.  God was speaking to my heart for the first time. He was saying, “I heard everything you prayed about and it’ll all be okay. Just focus on seeking me and I will work out everything else.”  And it was more than words, it was like I knew this was true and I could believe it because God showed my heart it was true. So I accepted that. I didn’t know the official words to pray to be “saved” but I just accepted the fact that God was real, He spoke to me, and would help me with my life, and I didn’t feel so lonely.

Captivated

Eventually I finished college and married my boyfriend, and we moved to Memphis, following my parents who had also been transferred here. At age 28, we found a good church home for our family. We could feel God’s presence in worship there, and this church was a great place to raise a young family. It was small enough church to get to know people and have a place for our family to feel like we belonged.

When I was about 35, the church began a women’s ministry and the teacher had such a love for God. She chose to do a study called “Behold Your God” by Myrna Alexander, which taught about the attributes of God. She knew that if we learned about who He is, we would fall in love with him. And that is what happened. I fell in love with him.

I also began to want to be closer to God consistently and not have the ups and downs with God that I was experiencing. I would be close to him sometimes and farther others. So one day I asked Him how i could be close to him all the time, and He surprised me by clearly saying, “Give me everything”. I felt a little intimidated by that, but finally agreed a little fearfully, asking that He help me, because how could i ever do it on my own? And then I enjoyed a new intimacy with Him and began to be captivated by Him. He was all I could think about. He eclipsed everything else. During that time, He led me to start writing this blog, sharing my experiences, and interacting with other Christians online, which was an awesome experience.

Darkness

I think he brought me closer at that time because a couple of years later, things were about to get much harder. For most of our marriage, my husband had had a home-based business where he created maps on computer that were eventually printed into paper maps. I worked with him part-time. So all four of us were together almost all the time. My daughters, ages 8 and 12, never knew a time where their dad (and mom) weren’t always around, which was an awesome experience for them as young children.

When I was about 40, the economy took a downturn, and my husband lost the contract for his business. So he was out of a job and we were out of income. He decided the thing to do in a tough economy is to go to school to become a truck driver because there would always be trucking jobs available. He was out of work an unemployed and we we lived off all our savings and borrowed money. I had to go to work outside the home and at this time our beloved church began to have a crisis of its own and ended up imploding. So in addition to everything else, we lost our precious church family as well.

After a while, we found a second church. This was a healing place to be after all the trauma. In the last few years there, we were part of a Sunday School class that taught continually about Gods love, which often reinforced the things that God had personally taught me previously when He captivated me so. My external life was in such disarray and it may have been hard to continue to believe what God had taught me, but in this class the teacher repeated over and over how much God loves us. He taught that our main goal in our relationship with God is just to seek him first, not to worry about what we are doing, but seek him and He will show us what He wants for us. This was very reassuring to me and a continual reminder of what He had personally taught me earlier, both when He captivated me and even back to the first verse he gave me to “Seek first the kingdom of God…”.

Eventually my husband got a job with a trucking company. For about a year, he drove over-the-road and we rarely saw him. We went from being all together all the time to Dad being gone all the time. He would get home each week for a 35 hour reset and then it was time to go back out. During that time he was so exhausted when he got home that he could barely rest up, eat, pack and he was gone again. He did not have the energy to be a fun, loving dad and husband even when he was home.

Since then he has moved onto other trucking jobs with better schedules, but it is still a tough job. I think the girls, now 20 and 23, have adjusted, but it definitely traumatized our family. At that time I wasn’t aware but I was also heading towards peri-menopause, where hormones continually decline and exacerbate the anxiety and depression I experienced. And then on top of that, I had the loneliness of my husband being gone. It was a tough time.

Never-Ending Love

In the past few years, being alone has become easier for me. I am getting used to it and actually enjoy it much of the time now.  And the tough part now is figuring out how to be together again when he’s home!  It does still challenge our marriage, but it is becoming more normal.  Now that I’m 49, things are getting better and I think I am just coming out of some of this depression and anxiety, partly due to supplements that help regulate hormones and brain chemicals that lead to mental instability.  With the ability to feel more loving again, I am finding it easier to respond to God again.

The amazing thing is that while i was going through this really dark time, periodically i would experience God breaking through the darkness. And of course my thought is always that I’m the last person God would want to have anything to do with because I’m so bad. Though it may have been caused by chemical imbalances in my brain, still I was unhappy and much of the time ignoring or even blaming God for our troubles, and not being nice to people. I couldn’t imagine, after everything God had given me in the past, why He would still be hanging with me after i am so unlovable.

But yet he did love me, over and over and over, repeatedly, too many times to count. Until I had to be convinced that He wasn’t giving up. He would show up and reveal such an amazing love to me, and I would be just astounded that He still felt that way about me and still chose to pursue me.

So now all I can tell Him is that I adore Him.  Over and over. How could I not? And with taking the supplements that help me to feel better, I can respond more and enjoy His presence more consistently.  And that in turn makes me feel even better and more able to be a functional human being.

So basically I am just in awe that God still loves me and accepts me no matter what happens. I never experience condemnation or guilt from Him, only unconditional acceptance and love, that He is in love with me too and, despite all I’ve been through, and even adores me as well.  And again I cannot describe how much i am in awe that such an all-powerful Being would choose to dwell in me and love me and guide me.

And the story continues…. What is next, God? :)

Join us as we walk through the third of the Pueblos that we visited in the Salinas Pueblo National Monument: Gran Quivira. The is the largest in this group and is also unusual because it’s made with white rock instead of red like all of the others. It’s amazing to imagine what it must have been like to live there. Though it had to have been a tough desert life, they also had those amazing desert views.

Join us next time as we drive up the steepest mountain road that I remember with sheer drop-offs, and with the reward of a spectacular view from the campground at the top as well as much cooler temperatures! Thank you so much for hiking with us!

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Big Hill Pond Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLgM-PAFfCFIm43wJmXxX_UebaZfezpyTr

New Mexico Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLgM-PAFfCFInUISP0L7hE9y8l3kgiaicu

My daughter, Amy’s channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbG46KAFyKv6_wxWE61uMHg

My other daughter, Rachel’s channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2i6-FQOa636tCxFhPSRyyw

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Join us as we explore the Abo site of the Salinas Missions National Monument. There are 3 sites within this monument that are a quick drive from Mounainair. This one is made of all red rock and has pretty large ruins of the village and church. Amazing to imagine what it must have been like when it was a thriving town.

Join us next time for a pueblo ruins built in white volcanic rock instead of the red we’ve been seeing! Thank you so much for hiking with us!

Subscribe: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSDveuSfDOKKS95xFlq2Y7Q

Big Hill Pond Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLgM-PAFfCFIm43wJmXxX_UebaZfezpyTr

New Mexico Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLgM-PAFfCFInUISP0L7hE9y8l3kgiaicu

My daughter, Amy’s channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbG46KAFyKv6_wxWE61uMHg

My other daughter, Rachel’s channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2i6-FQOa636tCxFhPSRyyw

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We head southeast of our campsite to tour the ancestral pueblo village of Quarai and then drive on to the small town of Mountainair to visit the Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument visitor’s center for several ancestral pueblo villages in the area and all of the amazing murals and mosaic artwork all around town.

Join us next time to see more ancestral pueblo villages and some of the Mountainair shops and restaurants. Thank you so much for hiking with us!

Subscribe: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSDveuSfDOKKS95xFlq2Y7Q

Big Hill Pond Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLgM-PAFfCFIm43wJmXxX_UebaZfezpyTr

New Mexico Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLgM-PAFfCFInUISP0L7hE9y8l3kgiaicu

My daughter, Amy’s channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbG46KAFyKv6_wxWE61uMHg

My other daughter, Rachel’s channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2i6-FQOa636tCxFhPSRyyw

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Join us as we set up camp at Manzano Mountains State Park in New Mexico, an hour southeast of Albuquerque. We find a nice treed spot to hang our hammocks, check out the park trails, and are joined by a sneaky squirrel for breakfast!

Join us for future adventures as we check out the Salinas Mission Pueblos. Thank you so much for hiking with us!

Subscribe: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSDveuSfDOKKS95xFlq2Y7Q

Big Hill Pond Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLgM-PAFfCFIm43wJmXxX_UebaZfezpyTr

New Mexico Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLgM-PAFfCFInUISP0L7hE9y8l3kgiaicu

My daughter, Amy’s channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbG46KAFyKv6_wxWE61uMHg

My other daughter, Rachel’s channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2i6-FQOa636tCxFhPSRyyw

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We visit Jemez Historic Site situated among the amazing red mesas and canyons, with a huge red-rock San Jose de Los Jemez church built by hand and the ruins of a 500 year old Indian village. It’s amazing to think these people lived here in this mysterious, beautiful land. And in fact the modern-day Jemez people currently still live nearby in the Jemez (Walatowa) Pueblo.

Then we head to Albuquerque and get some intersting food along the way!

Join us next time as we start heading further south towards the Manzano Mountains, which also have an amazing but different desert look. Thank you so much for hiking with us!

Subscribe: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSDveuSfDOKKS95xFlq2Y7Q

Big Hill Pond Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLgM-PAFfCFIm43wJmXxX_UebaZfezpyTr

New Mexico Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLgM-PAFfCFInUISP0L7hE9y8l3kgiaicu

My daughter, Amy’s channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbG46KAFyKv6_wxWE61uMHg

My other daughter, Rachel’s channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2i6-FQOa636tCxFhPSRyyw

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After our hot hike this morning at Tsankawi ancestral pueblo site, we head to the McDonald’s in Los Alamos for some wifi and food! Then our car struggles to climb up the steep mountain pass to Valles Caldera National Preserve, which is the remnants of a huge super-volcano. The only thing that grows in the huge volcanic crater is grass, on which herds of elk and funny prairie dogs thrive. Also we see a lot of fire damage from previous fires and begin to understand why they closed the National Forests due to high risk of fire damage while we were there.

Next come with us as we see the Jemez Pueblo ancestral pueblo missions in the amazing New Mexico desert scenery. Thank you so much for hiking with us!

Subscribe: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSDveuSfDOKKS95xFlq2Y7Q

Big Hill Pond Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLgM-PAFfCFIm43wJmXxX_UebaZfezpyTr

New Mexico Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLgM-PAFfCFInUISP0L7hE9y8l3kgiaicu

My daughter, Amy’s channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbG46KAFyKv6_wxWE61uMHg

My other daughter, Rachel’s channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2i6-FQOa636tCxFhPSRyyw

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