Monday, July 6, 2015

A few things I've learned.

So much to say but little time to write it out! 

As a mother of five children, four basically grown with one entering his junior year of high school, I finally realize how overwhelming the task of raising a child is. (after 27 years I now have the time to think about it!) 

My dream as a child myself was to become a wife and mother; God graciously fulfilled those dreams for me. Shortly after becoming a mother I realized how much more my heart would desire, not for myself  but for my children. And once again God has shown Himself to be a God of goodness and provision.
Since I have finally had some down time, for the first time in months (since 2013 according to my last blog post!) it has all started to hit me. My children have grown up...two married to amazing men, one living independently, one desperately trying to figure out how to live independently and the last trying to figure out what he would like to do with his life! My goodness it’s not a lie, time really does fly!

It hit me hard this morning when I read my daughter’s instagram post about her amazing husband taking care of her through a seizure she had due to low blood sugar.

It has been years since I have had to care for Lindsay’s chronic illness.  Diagnosed with Type I diabetes when she was eight years old. It was really hard to be told I would have to test her sugar 5-10 times a day, sometimes hourly throughout the night, make arrangements for her to have 2-3 types of insulin available to her at all times, syringes, blood monitors, testing strips, every two hours a snack and the most difficult thing for me was I had to give her shots many times in a day.  She was in the hospital for a week the first time, we had to call 911 on three occasions, we missed a family trip one time because she got low blood sugar and fell off of a kitchen stool and we had to call EMS. And one time I had to pick her up from school because her blood sugar was 32 (normal is between 80-120) she was pretty much comatose.  It was not easy! And throw into the mix all the activities and responsibilities of four other children! Just thinking of going through all of these things plus some is exhausting. But we did it!

In sharing this story I would really like to encourage parents. As parents when we are in the thick of these types of life situations it’s easy to give up and it’s easy to forget about the other important things that are going on around us. (And again as a reminder, Lindsay and her illness were just a portion of what was going on in our family and the seven different worlds we represented.) But I can honestly say, I would not change a thing.  Of course I wish that Lindsay didn’t have diabetes or that Courtney wasn’t born with a heart defect or that money wasn't tight most of the time. (it’s not cheap raising five kids!) But truthfully through it all God has given us a rich and blessed life.

"Anyone who meets a testing challenge head on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life." {James 1:12}
Another point I would like to share with this story is although Lindsay had/has a chronic illness, I could not become a “hovering” mother.  I had to find a way to let her be a child, exploring, being away from me and encourage her to do what she wanted to do in life. 

My children may disagree so let me clarify, I am a very strict mother but I am not a hovering mother!  There is a difference.  There were many things my children were not permitted to do…go to school dances, watch PG13 movies (yes even when they were 13 and older), hang out (anywhere), go to new friends homes unless I knew the parents, date just for kicks and I am sure they could add more to this list! BUT my children were permitted to do A LOT! Travel (in and out of the country), attend concerts, hang out endlessly with people I knew, go to camp for as long as they wanted, have messy bedrooms and they never had a curfew!
 We need to let our children become adults, which means even when they have a chronic illness we have to eventually let them go.
Like I said, it hit me today that my prayers especially for Lindsay thus far have been answered.  Which is such an incredible reminder to me that I serve, worship and believe in a God that cares about the details of my life and the lives of my children.  I truthfully don’t know what I would have done had I not had God to lean on, to cry to, to complain to, to beg and to thank. It wasn’t easy letting my child go to camp for a week when she was eight (which is one place she also had a bout with low blood sugar) but I knew I had to let her have the same experiences (within reason) as other children were having. 

As you can see in Lindsay’s post about Jeff, she has married an incredible man, one that takes his relationship with God seriously and takes his commitment to my daughter seriously.  I think today, I have finally realized that my job as my daughter’s caregiver is done, I can no longer be right by her side orchestrating every move she makes to stay healthy (writing out directions so people know how to care for her, putting her snacks together, ordering all her supplies, talking to her doctors, ect..) But God has provided her with a husband that does not shy away from taking care of her.  I think he may know more about Type One diabetes than she does!

My position as mom has changed (at least for my daughters.)  My prayers for them are different now.  But because I have seen God’s provision thus far, I pray believing He still has their (and mine!) best interest in mind. 

Advice I can give has a seasoned mom of five. 

  • Be encouraged “The day’s are long but the years are short”
  • Don’t hover, but give thought-filled boundaries.
  • Pray believing God will provide physically, emotionally and spiritually.
  • Be grateful, it’s likely someone else has a more difficult situation than you.

Friday, July 5, 2013

It's been too long!!!

It's time for me to start blogging again...not because I lead an overly exciting life...but because God allows me many opportunities to see Him working! Seriously, each day I see an answer to prayer!  I either receive an unexpected blessing, I meet an amazing person or God puts a special Bible verse in my path that is perfect for me in that moment.  

Today for instance...

During my prayer time...pouring out my requests to God 
{some repeat requests, that God and I don't seem to be seeing eye to eye on!} I opened my Bible to the book I started reading last week...Lamentations...these verses JUMPED right out at me:

"I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall.  I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.  Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, 
for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning;  
GREAT is your faithfulness.  I say to myself, The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;  it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.   It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is young.
  Let him sit alone in silence, for the Lord has laid it on him.  Let him bury his face in the dustTHERE MAY YET BE HOPE.   Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him, and let him be filled with disgrace."
Lamentations 3:19-30 

God gives me what I need when I need it I have experienced this many times, I wish I could just remember it every second of every day, but instead I often doubt that God is listening...but He is!  

My hope is that one or more of these stories will encourage someone's walk with Christ {{THEN}} I hope to read your stories of how God is working in your life!!! We need encouragement from each other to move forward in God's world! 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Tennessee's Sweet Melanie.

There are many experiences I could share from the mission trip to Nashville I took last week but one specifically stands out. Typically I don’t spend much time thinking about the evil spirits that are around me all the time but I know that the bible tells us that there are such spirits and what we need to do if we happen upon one.

Revelation 12:9

And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.”

His (Satan) angels refer to demons, spirits of darkness that are all around us all the time. Even Jesus told the spirits to get behind him.

Matthew 16:23

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

As I was serving along side six Godly people I do believe that God allowed us to experience what He has warned us about in scripture in regards to demons. I can’t say that I have ever experienced a real demon but in this situation I am pretty sure that Satan had a foothold on a seemingly sweet and gentle mentally handicapped women.

We were doing service projects on the property of a residential home for mentally handicapped adults, in the hills of Tennessee. Each adult that lived there was kind, sweet and had a very gentle spirit about them. They were fun to talk to, helpful and lacked any kind of sarcasm or negative attitude, it was refreshing.

All was good until our team sat down to do our devotions right after lunch. We sat outside at a picnic table in a valley between two mountains, with the shade of the trees somewhat protecting us from the 100 degree weather and the heat of the sun, ready to learn an important lesson from God’s word.

The male residents often came out and joined us listening and then sweetly participating in our prayer time. But where our story becomes a little unsettling is when our sweet orchestra loving Melanie joined us.

Melanie who was sweet as can be all day literally became a different person two days in a row while we were doing our devotions. The first day as soon as I started reading the devotion she started talking in a different voice, a deep upset sounding voice, rambling words we all knew but in a matter that did not make any sense. The first day we didn’t think too much about it. But the second day was a difference story.

Our team decided to forgo lunch on this day, because we had spent so much time with the residents playing Whiffle ball, yes Whiffle ball, we were running out of time to complete our work. God had us there for the people, the work could be completed by the other volunteers that were coming the following week. So we decided we would have our devotion time at the same place we had the prior days. Moments before I started reading a very powerful devotion Melanie began acting like a witch, holding her hands up in a clawing fashion and saying in a scary witchy voice, “I am a bad witch, I’m bad.” She continued this for a few minutes until her voice then changed into a ferocious barking sound, holding her leather purse between her teeth and shaking her head back and forth like a dog. She then started licking the table, which was very old with splinters and had bird droppings on it. The whole time she was behaving this way she was standing just behind my left shoulder, while the rest of my group was facing me (and her) as I led the devotion. Honestly, I thought she was going to bite me. The Holy Spirit was definitely hovering over us during this time. I was able to focus on the reading, and everyone else was able to focus on the thoughts at hand. As we continued on to the heart of the devotion we were all able to put the behavior of Melanie out of our minds and be thoughtful of the participation part of the devotion. When we were finished and getting ready for prayer Melanie stopped acting like a dog and the powerful wind that started blowing during our devotion stopped. A calm and peace came over our picnic table, which now had six additional residents that had joined us, as we began to pray as a group the residents also prayed, including Melanie. While she prayed she spoke in a sweet kind voice and we never saw her dark side again.

The first night we were assigned our groups, I was a little confused about why my group had so many “older” students in it and three out of seven of us were leaders, I know now that God purposed us to be there and for us to experience spiritual warfare. It would have been very easy to just skip over our devotion time {instead of skipping lunch}, it would have been easy to go where the residents couldn’t join us, it would have been easy to just give up when there were so many scary distractions but the team God placed there would not have given up.

As we reflected on the week’s events we all agreed that God had allowed some evil spirits to dwell in the area of Cave Springs. Satan was at work trying very hard to get us to give up, be distracted, to be discouraged to be scared and to react in a non-Godly way. We could have made the residents leave us alone, {side story, the residents seemed fearful of the lady that was in charge, she would have shewed them away if we would have asked her to} but it never crossed our minds.

We were reminded that day that God’s word is not wasted pages of nonsense. The Bible is a God inspired book intended for us to not just read but to live by. It’s a book full of warnings, encouragement, affirmations and instructions. We were given the opportunity during our visit to Cave Springs to trust that God was with us as He has told He would be.

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."
1 Timothy 1:7

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I have to get this out...I'm sorry if it seems harsh.

"If you've gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life...if you have a heart... then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends...Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don't be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourself long enough to lend a helping hand." Philippians 2:1-4 the msg

Well, I am going to go off on a tangent…If you call yourself a Christian…a little Christ…. an imitator of Christ…then why do you have so much hostility in your life?

I am a little frustrated by conversations with people that complain all the time. Don’t get me wrong I know there is a time for heated discussions; problem solving and disagreements can be very productive, heartfelt convictions can be very hard to keep to ourselves but complaining as your main point of conversation. NO.

If you have a problem and you share it with someone and they try to help you…they are being Christ-like {Ephesians 4:9}. If you want to constantly talk about how others are failing you {Romans 15:1} …people are going to stop listening. If you complain all the time about how another Christian is not doing something the way you would…{Philippians 2:14} then be a part of the solution or walk away. If you have had more than one conversation about how Jesus doesn’t like tattoos {2 Corinthians 10:7}.... you have not gotten out enough to see how many people Jesus loves that have tattoos. If you can’t take a few hours to help a widow work around her house {James 1:7} …. then your life must be way more important than Jesus ever thought possible. If you can’t love others because they have sin in their life {Romans 3:23}…then you don't understand that we all have sin in our life.

I know that God is a just God and that God calls us to make judgments every single day…judgments on our own behavior not on the behaviors of others. Yes, we have to be discerning, we need to be wise, we need to careful whom we allow to influence us but I am telling you right now…Jesus wants us to put others before ourselves. Which means that sometimes we need to just love, respect, help, and accept people for who they are and pray that their journey in life will lead them to the place that God wants them.

I am disappointed and shocked at how many people that consider themselves followers of God are so thoughtless with their words and lack of deeds. I think it’s time to re-evaluate “What Would Jesus Do.”

For further reading to encourage your decision to live more Christ like check out Romans 12!!

Friday, July 1, 2011



to relieve (a substance) of pressure

or (of a substance) to be relieved of pressure

After a few months of going strong….I needed a day of “decompression”: a day to unload my burdens on to the strong shoulders of a God...willing to take it all. Every concern that had been lying heavy on my heart was just handed over to God. Seriously, it’s a genuine feeling of pressure that I get in my chest when life is starting to weigh me down. It’s like the pressure built up inside of a balloon, the balloon can only take so much air pressure before it bursts and crashes. That’s how my heart was beginning to feel…like it was going to explode. But it’s so easily dealt with…. God has asked me to lay my burden on Him.

Matthew 11:28

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

Well, God has asked many things of me and this is one I have learned to do. It has taken many years but I have finally become experienced at handing it all over and walking away. God can take the pressures of my life and turn them into something beautiful…. and that is what He has done. Over and over and over again. Here are a few examples that I can share.

My daughter leaving the country for six months, with only a portion of the support she needed. Burden.

God takes the worry from my heart because I know He actually loves her more than I ever could, He wants the best for her so He took care of every detail, and she came home safe with a heart full of faith and a new outlook on God’s provisions and blessings.

My family. There are seven in my immediate family, seven lives that are going in many different directions: safety, finances, personal and spiritual growth, the future and health are just a few of the things I am constantly thinking about when it comes to my family. Stress.

God takes each life and shapes it for His purpose all I have to do is stay in prayer and encourage each of them to pursue Him…God does all the work!!

My job. This year has been crazy where I work, people resigning, people moved from position to position, I was put in a new position, working with people’s most important treasures, their children, this comes with a huge responsibility, it can become heavy on my heart. Worry.

God takes the pressure away...He moves me into ‘another’ new position with better hours and increased pay. God’s plan is the best.

Student ministry. Building relationships with high school students is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done, but truth be told…. I feel an urgency to help them see God’s plan for themselves and my heart breaks for them on occasion. I often wish I could just take their pain away. Concern.

God takes their pain and will turn it into something beautiful, love and encouragement for others, if not now….someday. God has allowed me to be a part of the lives of some really incredible teenagers, that I have no doubt will do big things for Him and some of them already have!

These are just a few of the thoughts that go through my head daily…yes, daily I think of all of these things hoping and praying that God will continue to have His hand in each situation. And guess what? He has it all under control. The more I have learned that God has a plan for each aspect of my life the easier it has become to leave these situations at His feet and walk away. There is no need for me to worry, which is something else I use to do, but not any more!!! Why do I need to worry when the Creator of all things wants me to hand it all over to Him?

Matthew 6:34
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough

trouble of its own.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

“See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared." Exodus 23:20

Wow, this is a verse full of insight.
Yes, God has prepared the way for me.

I have read the book of Exodus a couple of times throughout my life, how did I miss the power of this verse? This verse should be all l need to have faith and to trust God with my life. In my heart I believe that God goes ahead of me and prepares the way, but I allow my head to tell me differently sometimes. I allow worry, anxiety and too much planning to get in the way of moving forward with what God wants me to do.

God has given me many opportunities to be a part of His plan but sometimes I miss out on the blessing because I worry too much about the details, what people will think, can I afford it, will I have the right words, will I have time, will I have the energy, do I want to open myself up to criticism, and asking myself, “what if I fail?” When I go through all of these doubts, time passes and then the opportunity is gone. Fortunately for me God never gives up and eventually gives me another opportunity. He has set up situations for me to be a part of so in the end His name will be glorified.

Throughout the years it’s my thinking that has had to be refined and in this refining process God has entrusted me with many meaningful experiences in which His name is the only name that could be glorified, with out Him I am nothing. Situations that are so obviously set up by God that sometimes I am just amused that I would have questioned Him to start with and that I would have the audacity to think that He wouldn’t give me the courage, the strength, the time, the money, or a positive mind set to just do what it is He has planned. Life with God is a process, it’s clear that I take one step forward and two, three or four steps backward but the remarkable thing is, God always gives me another chance. He is determined to show me that He is real, trustworthy, available, loving, kind, creative, powerful {the list of His goodness is endless} and He has invited me to have a small part in His creative plan to spread the Good news of His mercy & grace.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

God has it all set up, I just need to trust that He is going to give me what I need to follow through with His plan, why would God set up an opportunity for me, and expect me to do it on my own or give me just a portion of what I need to follow through with it, He just doesn’t work that way. When we hear that small still voice nudging us to do something good it’s God giving us an assignment, it may seem small or it may seem overwhelmingly hard, but no matter the size of the task God gives us what we need to follow it through ‘til the end.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Knowing God has a plan.

1 Corinthians 2:11

“The Spirit, not content to flit around on the surface, dives into the depths of God, and brings out what God planned all along. Who ever knows what you're thinking and planning except you yourself? The same with God except that he not only knows what he's thinking, but he lets us in on it. God offers a full report on the gifts of life and salvation that he is giving us. We don't have to rely on the world's guesses and opinions. We didn't learn this by reading books or going to school; we learned it from God, who taught us person-to-person through Jesus, and we're passing it on to you in the same firsthand, personal way.”

It’s not like I haven’t heard this concept before but for some reason today it is resonating in my head more than usual. When I stop and think over the last few years of my life I can see that I have taken this concept more seriously than in the past. When we ask God for something, we need to be prepared for Him to change our line of thinking. That’s it. The words look so simple but humanly speaking it’s very difficult.

If I pray for healing for someone I know is dying from cancer, I know God can cause that to happen, but He may choose not to, does that mean He is not real or He doesn’t care about me or the person I am praying for, no, not at all, it’s just that He has a different plan, a better one.

For me in the last few years I have realized that God does have my best interest in mind and whatever circumstance He allows me to be in, He believes I can live through it. And of course He has been right. There have been numerous situations that I have experienced that had I been told ahead of time what was going to happen I would have said, “No way I could never do that, I won’t , I can’t, or you have got to be kidding, me?” The more I ask God for clarity, the more vivid He makes His plans. All along it’s been me, “oh ye of little faith”, I guess that’s where that came from. But as my faith has grown, my awareness of God has grown and the more my awareness grows the more I can see that God changes us, changes us to see things through His eyes.

I can think of about ten different situations from the last year or so that I prayed sincerely for things to be one way, and they turn out a different way, a better way, a more exciting way. The mystery of God’s plan is actually quite adventurous. Waiting and watching for God to move keeps life very interesting. What we call “last minute” God calls right on time, who we call “annoying” God calls us to love, what we call “impossible” God calls easy, what we call a “surprise” God calls a well thought out plan. Just when we think we have God all figured out He opens our eyes to a whole new aspect of Himself.

What could be more exciting than to see what the Creator of the universe has planned for me? After all the beauty He has created, He is the one I want to fashion my life.

Romans 8:37-39 "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."