Have you ever stopped to think about how important the family unit is? Not just in the Church but in general. Many of our issues in adult life come from poor family situations in the past, feeling hurt by a mother or father who left, abandonment, abuse whether physical, emotional, sexual, or verbal, and tension in current marriages. The more I (Marissa) speak with other local families, the more brokenness I see. The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy. And think about it; if he wants to take you out, he’s gonna go big or go home, so he attacks the marriage, he goes for the children, he stresses the family unit, and once destroyed, our outside ministries hurt because we carry the stress of the day, we constantly feel tension at home and cannot rejuvenate. God created man and brought all the animals before him to find a suitable partner for He saw it was not good for man to be alone. When none was found, He made woman from the rib of man to be his helper. This word in Hebrew is Ezer. This word is always and only used in the Old Testament in the context of vitally important and powerful acts of rescue and support. This word is also used 16 times in the Old Testament to speak of God as a helper. We serve a God who loves to serve and is all about community and relationship. He Himself is three in one, and when He created us, He saw it not good for us to be alone and live outside of community. So, let’s play devil’s advocate for a minute here. If you were the enemy, what is the first area you would attack? The cornerstone of human existence, then the support, and finally the sanity. He attacks the core of our relationship with the Creator, turning us on Him, making us angry at Him, feeling like He is lying and not showing up, and making us feel like God Himself is distance even though none of that is true. Then he attacks the community of the individual. If we are mad at God, we tend to isolate; we hide our issues and say, “well you just don’t understand.” When in reality, we are keeping issues hidden because the enemy is lying to us telling us we will burden others when in truth, what is in darkness will always stay in darkness. If we just opened up to our community, our issues would come to light and where light is, darkness cannot be. The greatest level of community is between a man and his wife because it mirrors our relationship with Christ Himself. So this is the area we naturally abuse when we are off with God. We take it out on those closest to us and tension enters a relationship. Again, like I said, what is in darkness will stay in darkness until we drag it out of the closet, kicking and screaming, and let light invade. From attacking the community of a person, our sanity is attacked. We feel as though we are falling into depression. We struggle to feel good about ourselves, and we push people away from us. In reality, the issue is not depression, it is an identity struggle not knowing who we are in Christ. When that relationship falters, everything will fall apart. So go kiss your spouse. Tell them you love them. Lay the bitterness aside and let the issues come to light. In honesty, darkness stands no chance. There is redemption in Christ. God is waiting with arms wide open for you to run back. He is not here to condemn. All He says is, “welcome home Child. I never left you.”

I want to speak to all the mothers out there for a minute. I have had custody of Vanessa for almost a year now, and even though I am a “new mother,” I feel there are some lessons I learned rather quick due to hard circumstances, and I want to get super real with y’all for a minute. Life as a parent is not easy, not in the least. And we as mothers need to be very careful that our identities do not get stuck in the mothering side of life alone. You, my dear, are a daughter of God first and foremost. You are a co-heir with Christ, a warrior princess, His baby girl. You, beloved, are chosen, pure, holy, redeemed, beautiful, stunning, spectacular, worthy of life abundant, and a joy. You are more than just a wife and a mother. It’s far too often I see women suffering with overwhelming identity crisis and sadness. They feel lost, lonely, and stuck in not knowing their true identities, feeling as though their children can hold them back from other dreams they have. Trust me. I know this first hand. There are days all I do is lay in bed and cry because raising Vanessa can be hard, it takes all I have, I struggle trusting God with our finances, and it is a process of learning to die to myself but to not kill my dreams and hopes. God has been speaking to me about the renewal of my mind. “Be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” I am more than just a mother. Am I a mother? Yes. Do I love it? Yes, and I would never change it for the world. And yet, it can be extremely hard. The Lord has been speaking about changing my mindset. When moments are hard and I feel like i am in identity crisis and that my current call is holding me back from other things I want to do in life, God says to renew my mind. I need to literally take that thought captive. This is work, a process, and difficult. We lay hold of that thought, throw it away, and speak the Truth. Vanessa is not holding me back, she is propelling me to a greater revelation of my identity in Him. You, beloved, are not being held back by your husband, fiance, boyfriend, and children. You are being propelled to see with clear eyes the call that He is raising you into. Your children and husband need you to care for yourself. When I was sharing some of these struggles, a wise friend pointed out that my inner child needs attention. Each of us has a little girl in us that wants to feel loved, delights in dancing with her Papa, is full of child-like joy and faith, and is spontaneous in her love for her Creator. We push this little girl to the side as the responsible adult side of us steps up when life calls, and as motherhood hits, responsible adult must take over. Yet, we cannot completely reject the child in us. This is why our quiet time with Papa is crucial, why dancing in the rain, singing at the top of our lungs to music in the car, spontaneous date nights with our prince charming, following our dreams, and showing our children that life is more than just responsibilities and bills is crucial to not just our mental and spiritual health, but our physical health as well. We do have things we need to do, responsibilities and obligations, but we need to prioritize that little girl inside. With that said, if you are a mother who needs to be prayed for, is ready to bring light to her darkness, and just needs to have fun and stand up and dance like no one is watching, I want you to shoot me an email. Send this to all the mothers you know. My goal is to start a support group for all the mothers that need Life restored. My email is soudermarissa@gmail.com You, child, are not alone. It is time to dance again.

We are one week away from the parent training conference for Vanessa’s therapy program! Thank you so much for your support. We were able to raise all the finances for this training. For this program we will be learning all about the human brain, it’s processing, how it grows and functions, how to better understand our child, designing a specific program to best meet her emotional, social, and developmental needs, and many other things related to her brain map. We are continuing to try to raise extended funds to help for this coming October. We are praying about doing a full two day physiological evaluation after we spend the summer applying the knowledge we will learn at the conference. Please pray about partnering with us for that. We will keep you updated on our plans and any new upcoming fundraisers. Thank you so much for all your support! You are a blessing.

Take heart. For He has overcome the world.
Blessings Dear Ones ❤

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