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Thursday, May 24, 2012

A wife's affair, divorce and remarriage (video)

I remember my friend telling me the story of Jeff and Cheryl Scruggs -- about how they got divorced and remarried and how they help lots of other couples, but I never knew Cheryl admitted to having an affair until I watched their video testimony this morning.

I've been blogging about how much I love the "I Am Second" book and all the honest stories of people inside it, and how they eventually came to know Christ in the midst of their pain.

There was the pastor addicted to porn, and now there's the Scruggs' amazingly honest story of how their fairytale marriage turned horrible when their expectations of each other were revealed as false.

It took Jeff seven years to forgive his wife and remarry her...
...after Cheryl divorced him and found Christ and realized she'd made a huge mistake.

It's a good thing they were knit back together in holy matrimony to be able to stand strong together for what they would face when their daughter Lauren met with a horrible plane accident last year.

I've been following their story for some time now, even dreamed about it... and the common theme seems to be that God can really take tragic situations and turn them into triumphant situation that can help many others, along with the people who initially experienced the pain.

To appoint to them that mourn in Zion, to give to them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. Isaiah 61:3

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Porn again pastor...

I flipping love being a writer.

And I love reading the work of other great writers -- especially those bold enough to interview folks who are bold enough to tell their real truths -- warts and all -- like Nate Larkin did in a section titled "Porn Again Pastor" in the book "I Am Second" that I'm devouring.

His honesty moved me so much that I knew it was the next thing I wanted to appear on the writing platforms I'm privy to possess.

It's not everyday that you meet a Christian willing to drop the church façade and admit that yes, we do have the victory in Christ Jesus -- but it's not via our own doing or because of any virtue of our flesh that we can brag about.

The Apostle Paul wrote that if he were going to brag about anything, he'd brag about his weaknesses so that Christ's power can rest upon him -- that is, when he wasn't going off on that New Testament church for being proud of some man having his father's wife.

Me in L.A. in 2010

He thought his ministry was over... and that's when it really began

There are so many things that Larkin admits in the book and in his video that resonated with this Christian writer... so many truthful admissions that inspired me.

I loved that he didn't pretend that he was above temptation -- and confessed that his wasn't a miracle deliverance from porn and prostitution visits that some people experience, but that God provides him with more of a daily deliverance type of thing.

I'm attracted to the truth -- and I'm learning a lot from these people who are taking the edict to be strong and very courageous seriously, and the charge to "don't be afraid of men and their faces" to heart.

They step forward boldly and tell the world (as God leads) about how they've screwed up.

I'm not there fully yet -- but I can feel myself getting closer and closer and more free.

I've screwed up.

I've been jealous.

I've hurt people.

I've done worse.

Yes -- and yet and still, God reminds me that I am still the apple of his eye.

And of that oh-so-powerful plea that shows me I'm not alone, perhaps just more forthcoming in some ways:

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

So this book is helping to do something for me, along with all the other powerful self-reflection and healing the Lord of hosts is bringing into my life right now.

Not too much self-blame or pointing the finger at others' failings.

Nor will I accept the lies that I am anything but a child of God.

Fix me, Jesus, inside and out.

He is answering.

And strengthening.

And healing hearts once again. All over again.

And bringing smiles and that true contentment and peace that really does pass all understanding.

His Word really is true and won't return void.

I love it.

"I wonder how many people would get saved if you told your real testimony?"

 I Am Second...indeed
I can't forget that question that Bishop T.D. Jakes asked during a sermon years ago that I listened to on a bootlegged copy of Mega Fest that somebody gave me.

This was years after I'd walked into a church sanctuary where Bishop Jakes was preaching, and was saying something about not everybody being able to handle your real testimony. I remember he talked about if his life were a movie, there would be a few scenes he wouldn't want anyone to see.

I hear ya.

Yet like I told another Christian friend who shared her compelling testimony with me, and then we went into the safe banter about sharing things in public only "in due season" and such -- I think many times us Christians are more concerned with our own outward reputations more than God calling us to speak out the truth about our lives.

We don't want people to look at us sideways. We don't want to lose friends and loved ones.

But are they really our friends anyway if they won't forgive us -- or us forgive them? Perhaps they were, the "divine connection" peeps sent for divine seasons in our lives.

We must gaze at Yeshua and let Him write the ending of our stories...

...after all, He is the ultimate author and finisher and perfecter of our faith. We leave room for his vengeance, inhale each day with patience and not act out in odd ways. Neither should we fall back when he tells us to push forward and confess our sins to one another so that we may truly be healed.

I know I've done that -- shirked back a time or two or many more -- worried more about what people would think about me than perhaps what God might want me to say.

I've played the "nice" role so that folks would like me. But I'm done with the dangling carrots of friendship.

And let's hope and pray I'm done with writing the things that are misunderstood or anything my Maker doesn't want me to write -- and experiencing the boldness, like Larkin does -- to tell his own truth.

Come what may.

As long as it's not seeking to harm anyone, or invading their privacy. When I get the green light from heaven, I'm good to go. And if I make any more mistakes -- because (gasp!) I am human, wretched dust -- I know that God forgives the instant I repent. Lord help me to do the same so that my prayers are continually heard, and nothing comes between You and me.

As long as it's my truth -- the part of my life that God owns -- then I want to walk down that lighted path and have no more regrets.

His grace is amazing. Love shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit of God.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Do you want me to send you some free beauty products? #EclosBeauty

This post brought to you by éclos Skin Care. All opinions are 100% mine.

Eclos_StarterKit.jpgIt was time for a new face.

I turned 43 years old last month, and I always love it when people say I look younger than my years, like the guy on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad wine tour who said “You look good for 43!” as the whole train car sang “Happy Birthday” to me – or the babysitter who told me I looked like I was in my early 30s, like her mom.

I pointed a “God bless you…” and an “I love you” to them, respectively.

So when éclos Skin Care sent me their Anti-Aging Skin Care Starter Kit with sample sizes of their complete product line, I ripped that puppy open and dove into the following products:

• Facial Cleanser Skin Prep
• Cellular Activator Face Serum
• Moisture Therapy Regenerative Cream
• Restorative Eye Cream
• Instant Radiance Facial Scrub
• Skin Renewal Clay Mask
• éclos Terry Cloth Head Band

The first thing I noticed was the yummy smell and because éclos contains Apple Stem Cells extracted from a rare Swiss apple, so it makes sense. I liked the headband that kept my weave out of my face as well. ;-)

I’d never used a cleanser skin prep before cleaning my face, so that was a new experience.

I loved the face scrub the most – exfoliation junky that I am – because it’s the perfect combination of good grittiness (I don’t like other scrubs that are too soft) and great fineness.

YesI noticed that the great-smelling products left my face with a healthy glow – so much so that I went without foundation a time or two when I would have normally worn it.

And even when I did plop on light foundation, I noticed how much I appreciated my skin in the sunlight in my minivan when I snapped this “after” pic with my cell phone -- check out my "before" pic from below -- I really do think my skin is getting better and clearer.

The ingredients stimulate skin stem cells, and make our skin act like younger skin – something I’m all for, especially reducing wrinkles, staving off my need of Botox. I’m not ready to go under that needle just yet, if ever…

Usually products like these are a lot pricier, but these products are being brought to us at less expensive prices. The kit I received is valued at $19.99 – and you can get one for free, if you follow the rules below.

Do you want to try these products?

In order to enter the contest for me to send you the one kit for free – be the first to do these two things:

#1 – Leave a comment below on this blog post stating which product in the kit you are most excited to try.

(Don’t worry if your comment is not published right away – I like to moderate my comments before they are posted – but I will check the date/time stamp to know who posted first and correctly – as well as who sent me their address.)

#2 – Send me your correct name and mailing address to paulanealmooney@gmail.com

My before picThe first person who successfully completes the above two actions will receive the one new free kit I have to give away. Once I’ve chosen a winner, I will leave a comment below so that you know the contest has ended.


Look forward to your new face…

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Paula Neal Mooney