2016…..you were a good teacher.


The sun has set on 2016.  It has been a wonderful year beginning with moving into our beautiful new home.  Throughout the year many doors have opened, opportunities have been given and blessings have been felt.  And in the midst of it all, I have learned….A LOT.

I’ve learned a lot of about focus.  It’s very important to focus on the big picture.  The big picture being your relationship with the Lord and His will for you.  So often it’s easy to get tripped up on the little things or even the big messes.  These things we fixate on is where the enemy is waiting in the wings to grab hold of you.  When our focus sways, so does everything else.  Even when we are in the midst of trials, stress, messes or whatever it is –  God is there.  Our precious Lord is in the midst of that mess with you.  Don’t miss Him.  While in the midst of this trial you’re facing right now, it may be hard to even breathe sometimes yet we must not miss the fact the He merely wants us to turn to Him, focus on Him and cry out His name.   Focus on Him – never lose sight.  Seek Him with all your heart!

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  Jeremiah 29:13

-I’ve learned that there are a lot of hurting hearts out there and many times they are quietly suffering.  Oh how that makes my own heart hurt.   If you just bend your ear a little, you can hear the hurt and quite possibly be a voice of hope.  You see, when we live out grace and tender mercy our attitudes change and our understanding broadens.  It’s so easy to just give an answer of “I’m great” or “fine” when we are passing each other in the hallway or the grocery store aisle and so often that’s a lie.  And It’s even easier to keep walking and not truly dig in and say “no really, how are you?”   Why can’t we be more transparent?  Why do we feel like we have to act a certain way or pretend all is well?   In learning the magnitude of hurt out there, I’ve began to pray that the Lord will allow me to be a beacon of hope wherever He takes me.  I’ve began to pray that the Lord will stop me in my tracks of busyness if necessary to hear a heartache of a friend, a neighbor or whomever crosses my path so that I can come to the Throne of Grace with them and maybe just maybe they can experience that same peace, joy and freedom I do.  Let others see Jesus in you.

Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.  1 Corinthians 11:1

-I’ve learned a lot about friendship or rather I should say I have gained a renewed perspective.   Friendship is a sacred precious gift from the Lord that should be treasured.  It is something to invest in and something to not give up on. My circle of friends is a very small one but I am very okay with that.  It is about quality not quantity.  2016 was a year I spent praying specifically about and for friendship.  Can I share a sweet story about one of my dear friends and how the Lord used her to speak to me this year?   A few months ago I received a text from this precious friend that lives many many states away.   We don’t get to talk very much or see each other a lot but we often send text messages of prayer requests we have or just sweet notes of love and encouragement to each other.  Well this particular day she sent me a text that was totally out of the blue but totally perfect timing.  You see, for several days I’d been quietly hurting over a particular past friendship that I’d lost. I had been desperately praying for the Lord to help me see Him in this ugly mess that was made.  It was then that the Holy Spirit led my sweet friend to send this beautiful message that you may not quite understand all of but I just wanted you to understand that magnitude of it.

She sent me this text after a nudge from the Holy Spirit not knowing how I’d take it nor that I was struggling with this very subject at that very moment.  I sat in my car just weeping at the tenderness of it, the perfectness of it and the beauty of it.  She simply obeyed a nudging from the Holy Spirit to 1) pray for me and 2) send me a beautiful note of love and encouragement on the very subject that my heart was aching for.  In this very moment everything about friendship made sense to me.  When we allow the Lord to be the center of our friendships it is such a beautiful thing.  He used my precious friend to speak to me and send me a little love note that yes – He heard my cries and He is at work.  When we allow the Lord to be the center of our friendships it is such a valuable tool.  We can pray for each other, we can build each other up, we can sense the Holy Spirit telling us to reach out when our friends need and we can even pray over other broken friendships because we love each other.  ~~Friendship is incredible when we allow the Lord to be a part of it.~~

…….a sweet friendship refreshes the soul.” Proverbs 27:9

I’ve learned that the Lord’s not looking for extraordinary ultra-talented squeaky clean people.  But instead, simply lovers of Him who lay down their own broken selves in order to point others towards Him.  Simply those who will bring glory only to Him not taking it for themselves.

If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God.  If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.  To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever.  Amen.  1 Peter 4:11

More than anything I know that I will never be perfect, but Jesus is.  I will never be strong enough, but Jesus is.  I will never be enough, but He absolutely is.

Two and a half years ago I looked at myself in the mirror with disgust and said “How did I get here?”  Today, as I look back over 2016, looking forward to 2017; I can look in the mirror and say with freedom and JOY “How did I get here?”  The answer to the first question was selfish, awful, evil motives where my focus had turned from Jesus Christ to Dawn Spicer.  The answer now is hard work, obedience, and more than anything a fierce, relentless, redeeming love of a gracious, life-breathing God.  It’s like looking in the mirror at the transformation and realizing that nothing I’ve done or am doing is changing me but instead everything He is doing is changing me.

And with that, as the sun rises on 2017, I say hello with great anticipation.


My heart has spoken…..

11807658_10205904253620330_2892730518433644417_oApril, 2015

This is a story about a girl.  A girl who did an unthinkable thing.  A girl who had an affair with one of her best friend’s husband. That girl was me.  It’s a story of a life, a beautiful life interrupted with bad choices, consequences and a redeeming love.  If even one person can find hope in this or if one maybe finds themselves in the situation I was, prayerfully this could help them think through, ponder and maybe stop before they do something that will change the course of life….forever.  My heart’s prayer is to reach even just one.

When you hear of things like this it is so easy to judge and even hate the person.  I say that because I did that.  I have been in several situations through life where someone close to me or someone I have known has had an affair.  And you know what I said:  “How does someone do that?”  “How could she do that to her friend?”  “He obviously has no heart” “She has no morals” “I want nothing to do with that person” and so on.  I judged.  And I judged harshly.  Never thinking I would put myself in that situation and be ‘that girl’.  But I will tell you what it all boils down to….sin. Sin is ugly, sin is yucky, sin is hurtful, sin is hateful, sin destroys.   But sin “looks pretty”, sin “feels good” and sin “justifies”.  When we allow the enemy in, he goes on a rampage. He is on a mission: Steal.  Kill.  Destroy. (See John 10:10)  And boy, he did just that – He stole, he killed and he destroyed.  But praise God my story doesn’t end there.  We serve an incredible God, a merciful God; a beautiful Savior.  And He is our victory!  Nevertheless, there are consequences.  Here is a bit of my story:

It was a beautiful friendship.  This was one we truly believed that the Lord had orchestrated and blessed.  You see, we met each other in another state.  In fact, our husbands met first and became fast friends and then we met.  We had just moved to this state and ended up living just barely a mile away from her and she became a dear friend who was my saving grace in a place where I knew no one.  We began to spend many nights together: cooking dinners, watching movies, playing games and so on.  The 4 of us just had a blast together.  You don’t often come across friends like this.  Several months later something really neat happened:  We ended up moving here to VA at the very same time.  Our stuff literally came up on the very same moving truck.  I mean, how cool is that?  Our friendship continued here, again living barely a mile from each other.  We rarely ever went a day without some kind of communication.  This was someone who I truly treasured in life.  She was loyal, thoughtful, she was an encourager, she challenged me, held me accountable spiritually……goodness, I could go on.   We spent birthdays together, holidays together, vacationed together, I was even there the moment she had her precious baby girl.  We just did life together.  It was truly a blessing.  Then, just 2 short years after this beautiful friendship began, in one summer day, things began to slip.   From one simple conversation that turned into a 3 hour-long conversation late into the night between her husband and I, something changed.  In an instant it changed.  For many months nothing else really happened other than a few inappropriate text messages but all the while my heart became vulnerable.  It was just a slippery slope to bigger things.  The enemy got the toehold: an inappropriate conversation. Two people, close friends….what’s the big deal?  No one needs to know.  Nothing would ever come of it. The occasional glance, occasional text…..it means nothing right? Wrong.  The second…….the very second you let the littlest thing creep in and you don’t do anything about it, you justify it and Satan sees “go”.  Eight months later,  I crossed a line.  I crossed a line I never imagined in my life I would.  That toehold turned into a foothold.  One text turns into five, which turns into phone conversations, which turns into long chats at Starbucks over a french press.  Justification for everything begins to set in.   A foothold becomes a stronghold.  You start to reason all your actions out so it makes it ok in your mind.  Then you completely let your guard down and any voice of reason goes out the window.  Things you never thought you’d do, you’re doing.  Places you never thought you’d go, you are going.  And somehow in that deceived mind of yours, everything is ok.  Somehow it’s all going to turn out alright.  It feels good and right, so you make it all ok.  This happens when you turn your focus from ‘Him’(God) to ‘me’.  What a scary place to be.  Before you know it, you are telling someone who isn’t your spouse and is in fact one of your best friend’s husband, that you love each other.  You are planning a life together that looks so grand.  We even had a song we claimed was “our song”.   We were convincing each other that somehow the Lord would work this out.  We were “meant to be together” so God would work it out.  WHAT?  I know, from the outside looking in, that rationale seems so absolutely insane.  I know.  But friend, when you are in it, you don’t see straight and it “feels so right.”  Frightening how the enemy is that good at deceiving.

I have an incredible husband.  We had what I thought was a wonderful marriage.  He is an incredible man that treasures me, takes care of me and most important is a solid, strong godly man….a girl could not ask for a more amazing man than what I have.  Yet, I went somewhere else.  I thought something else was better.  It was exciting, new, dangerous and enticing, all wrapped up with a bow on top.  Something I didn’t set out to find, and certainly didn’t set out to get.  Who would purposely think:  “I want my best friend’s husband.  Let me work on that.”  You know?  I promise you friends, I have so many days that I look back and think…what in the world?  You look in the mirror and think:  How did I get here?  How does this happen?

Let me be clear on this:  When little things, even the littlest, are compromised; they become big things.  I promise you.  And then before you know it, your heart is somewhere you never, ever thought it would be and you are entangled in something you never thought you would do.  When you are so deep in sin, you begin to justify everything and somehow in your heart and mind make what you are doing “ok.”

For many months I spoke out of both sides of my mouth.  In the process, I hurt many people.  I said some pretty yucky things about that precious friend I had.  I even spoke of things that were told to me in confidence hoping that I would “throw people off.”  Hoping that by telling them these things they would never think that he and I were “having an affair.”  Oh, the great lengths we go to cover up our sin.  Have you ever heard the saying:  “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.”   It is true.  100% no question, no exceptions…true.   The damage I did, the hurt that I caused still takes my breath away.  It’s disturbing.  I totally understand how anyone looking in, seeing what I did, hearing the things I said could think I’m a horrible person, because I would think the same!  But let me say:  I beg you, in this moment to realize:  people mess up.  We are human.  When we allow sin in, it penetrates into the depths of our heart and mind and brings out the ugliest of uglys.  The holes we dig in sin are deep.

This is just the beginning of a story of heartbreak, hope, redemption and victory.  I am still living this story out and want to regularly share my heart — the hope, the struggle, the everything.   But right now, here are some thoughts on my realities of now:

*In the midst of such a horrific situation, there is hope. There is a hope of a Savior.  There is a hope of an incredible God who breathes life into broken-hearted people.  He is our redemption.  The last 8 months I have retreated.  I have stepped away from every responsibility but what was most important.  First and foremost, my relationship with my God.  Second, my relationship with my husband and third, my children.  I had lost that.  I lost all of my priorities for a bit.  So, in order for me to regain that, I had to shut down everything around it and focus wholeheartedly on it.  Friend, I can tell you my relationship with the Lord has never been more real and more present than it has become in the last 8 months.  My relationship with my husband has been restored and where I thought we had a great marriage prior, the Lord has shown me what an incredible marriage can be.  My focus on my sweet boys had been lost and for a while — they didn’t have a “present” Momma.  That has changed.  God can restore.  God will restore.  You have to allow Him.  He can restore ANYTHING — I believe that with all my heart.

*You cannot ever comprehend the destruction your sin causes.  If we don’t listen to the Lord, He will eventually let us go our own way.  When you toy with sin, you are blatantly disrespecting and defying Jesus Christ.  He will try to stop you.  However, if you continue to push on, there comes a time when He will eventually let you choose your own path.  And when that happens, only one ending will happen: disaster and someone (in my case many someones) will get hurt.  For example,  just after this all came out I found myself laying on the bathroom floor with my husband as he wept uncontrollably, looking at me saying “how could you do this?”  “you have broken my heart!”  “What did I do to you to make you want to do this?”  It was the most awful moment of my entire life.  To hear the sobs and look into the eyes of a man who loves you so much and realize that you have hurt him to the core of his being to where he couldn’t physically stand up is the most horrific, heart-wrenching moment I have ever felt.  And I can tell you, I never ever EVER want to go back there.  Another example:  to lose a friend at the hand of your actions that you thought you would have for a lifetime is completely heartbreaking.  To hurt that person so much, they can’t bear the thought of even looking at or talking to me, is agonizing.

*Each time we disregard His Word, we are opening ourselves up to the traps of Satan.  If your actions, your thoughts or your words do not align with God’s word…it’s not good.  If you have to justify it….it’s not good. This principle is SO simple — but when you are in the midst of that moment, we try to make it complicated!    I mean come on, I learned it in Sunday School at age 2:  “Sin is bad. Don’t do it.”  Then we grow up and life happens.  That is why it is SO vital to seek God’s Word EVERYDAY, stay in His Word EVERYDAY!  The enemy takes hold fast.  We are all just one choice, one decision away from that toehold.  I urge you to stay on guard.  Stay in His Word.  Make the Word of God real in your life!  No one grows spiritually simply by knowing facts.  So again, make His Word real.  Obey and apply what you read on a daily basis.  Don’t ever deceive yourself into thinking “it won’t happen to me.”   I swore I’d never have an affair.  I had seen its effects on people.  But, I did it.  Friend, my heart’s prayer for you is that it won’t happen to you.  So, seek Him and stand guard.  Always.

*For someone who has what my counselor calls a “wooing” personality – life is tough right now.  By “wooing” I mean, I am someone who likes to please people, I like to ‘do’ for people, I like to make people smile.  On the flip side, I hate when I feel I have disappointed people, I hate when I think people think negatively of me and I hate when I think people don’t like me.  I want to make everything right and everyone happy.  So, when you do something like what I did: your “wooing” personality is shaken.  We have lost a few friends through this, I have obviously lost many people’s trust and some folks won’t even acknowledge my existence.  It stings.  And every. single. thing. you have ever done is called into question.  The things you have done with the best intentions are twisted into negative things.  Things you have said are manipulated into awful things.  Sadly, some have even made up things about me.  All the while, all I want to do is scream out, “I made a very bad choice!  I promise I am a good person!  I promise the Lord has transformed me!”  But, I can’t.  I have to live this out.  I won’t “fight” for friends.  I can’t try to prove myself.  It’s really not important.  My God is the only standard I have to live up to.  So, I simply pray every single day that by honoring Him, people will see that I am broken.  I am humbled.  That the Lord has done a mighty work in my life through the past 8 months and still is.  He tells us in His Word:  Be still. Trust in Him.  So every day I surrender the day to Him.  Daily surrender.  Some days it works better than others.  And that is why I am SO thankful for new mercies every single morning. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

In saying all of that, I want to ask something.  I ask you that in the instance you find yourself hearing about something someone has done, sweet friend, please don’t judge, insult or gossip in that moment.  I beg you.  As awful as it is, please don’t criticize.  But instead, let your heart break for them and pray for them.  And if the moment allows, encourage them.  But I plead with you — don’t turn away, don’t judge.  You have no idea what got that person to that point, and how they feel right now.  Let me tell you, when you wake up from the slumber of sin, it is a drowning, deafening, heartbreaking, lonely feeling.