Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Just Fix It

Ah, life with boys.... I love them!  The way they can find one lone mud puddle in a 20 mile radius and just dive in.  The way that wrestling is a deep love language and how God gives them the ability to make "car sounds" almost from birth.  Boys go at life hard- full steam ahead- and with little thought to the consequences.  Recently, one of my sons came to me with a broken toy.  It needed to be repaired and as much as I wanted to "fix" their world, I couldn't.  The damage was beyond any repair I could do- tape and superglue.  Despite my conclusion, they tried.... oh what a mess was made.  Sadly, they came to the same conclusion that the toy was a loss. 

I thought of that this morning, as I continued in my study of Abraham.  We studied about him last week in the post "Packed Bags".  Abraham had been called to follow God to a new land that He had for this faithful servant.  Without any voiced hesitation, Abraham followed.  What faith!  Yet, today, we will find out that even men with great faith can deal with great frailty.  Continue with me in Genesis....

"Then Abram set out and continued toward the Negev. Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe. As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “I know what a beautiful woman you are. When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live. Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.” When Abram came to Egypt, the Egyptians saw that Sarai was a very beautiful woman. And when Pharaoh’s officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into his palace. He treated Abram well for her sake, and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels. But the Lord inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram’s wife Sarai. So Pharaoh summoned Abram. “What have you done to me?” he said. “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her to be my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and go!” Then Pharaoh gave orders about Abram to his men, and they sent him on his way, with his wife and everything he had." (Genesis 12:9-20 NIV)

In great faith, Abraham had been obedient.  Even when a famine hit the land that God was giving Abraham, he trusted and did not question God's faithfulness.  However, as they traveled to Egypt for a time to wait until the famine had passed, a deep fear hit him.  His wife, Sarai, was incredibly beautiful- now keep in mind that she was 65 at this time, and yet Abraham knew that her beauty would draw attention.  In fear that the Pharaoh would have him killed to get Sarai, he told her to tell a lie that they were brother and sister.  The truth is that she was his half-sister, but she was his wife and his intention was to mislead those he feared.  He was trying to "fix" this problem on his own and even before the need arose.  Does that hit home?  It has to me.  So many times I have tried to "fix" problems in my own world rather than trusting God to work it all out for my good.  I think most of us are guilty of this and even if we are not guilty of lying, we are certainly guilty of a lack of trust in our Father.

His fear was real- not imagined- and the Pharaoh did take interest in Sarai.  My friend, often times our fears are real- painfully so-but God is still active and working in them.  Even if the worst thing we can imagine happens, God would still be there with us.  He is ever by our side and when our tears are heavy, He tenderly wipes them away.  He holds us close and brings comfort until we are strong enough to stand again and walk.   In this case, God did step in and protected Sarai.  That brings great joy to my heart- how about you?  Our Holy Father, saw Sarai in need and stepped in to protect her. Never think that God doesn't hear your cries or sees your needs.  He may not rescue us in such a dramatic fashion, but He is just as present in our times of crisis. 

Pharaoh, of all people, calls Abraham on the carpet.... so to speak.  He, realizing that there was something special about Abraham and Sarai, tells them to leave and he blesses them financially for the journey.  My friend, sometimes we go through trials and difficulties not just for the spiritual growth that we receive but for others to get a glimpse of the One True God.  In many ways, Abraham failed this test of his faith, but God was still revealed and recognized.  The same is true of us.  There are times when our faith is strong and a great testimony to the Father.  There will also be times when we will fail and make mistakes, but all of it can be used to bring glory to the Father if we allow Him to work through our failures.

While I will never be able to fix every broken thing in my boys' lives, I rejoice that God can.  I rejoice that nothing is beyond His ability and I can rest and trust in that knowledge.  My new hope is that I will have the faith to truly trust Him the next time I feel the need to try and "fix" my world.  His ways are not my own and His resources far outweigh my own.    My friend, how about you?  Whatever problem or struggle you are facing right now, He has a perfect solution.  Trust Him.  Wait for Him.  Rest in Him.  Allow Him to work and be glorified.  He will make your path clear and your faith stronger in the process.

I am enjoying this journey with Abraham.... are you?  Let's stay on it for a little while!  :)


Monday, April 29, 2013

Building Fences

Reagan's family has been blessed with a ranch down in south Texas around the Kerrville area.  On occasion, we work together to make repairs and help maintain the place.  This weekend, we took down and replaced a 1300 foot section of fence line.  Here are some photos of all the work.....

This is the portion of fence that we were replacing.

Reagan (standing) and his dad, Rick Boles.

It hit me as we were working on the fence line, that boundaries are good for keeping certain things out of your space and for keeping all that you value within it.    In this case, the fence is as much to keep the deer and wildlife that is of great value within the boundaries of our family land.

My sister-in-law, Regina, and me.

My nephew, Gage, Caleb and Carson.

As a believer, God gives me boundaries as well.  They are for my benefit as they keep certain heartaches and dangers out of my life as well as keeping all that is valuable within....

Rolling up the old wire after it had been taken down.

Caleb and Carson dragging part of the old fence off.

Caleb and I taking down part of the old wire.

The only way I can know what boundaries God wants me to have in my life is through studying His Word, praying to Him, and seeking Godly counsel.  He wants to bless us, grow us, and make our value within greater.  My friend, are you tending to the boundaries in your life?  

Attaching the new wire to the posts.  Hard work!

Healthy boundaries reflect a healthy, growing faith.  A properly built fence takes effort, energy and continued maintenance..... is that any different for the boundaries in our lives? 


Friday, April 26, 2013

Packed Bags

Today, bags found their way down off the high shelf in the closet.  Clothes and necessities filled them full and we found ourselves headed on a trip to visit with family.  As we set about all the tasks that needed to be done in order to arrive at our destination on time, my heart was drawn to another family of travelers-found in the old testament....

"The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” So Abram departed as the Lord had instructed, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran. He took his wife, Sarai, his nephew Lot, and all his wealth—his livestock and all the people he had taken into his household at Haran—and headed for the land of Canaan." (Genesis 12:1-5 NLT)

Abram- who later is called Abraham- is a man of great faith.  Yet, we know little to nothing of him prior to this event, which took place when he was 75.  In the book of Romans, it was expressed that "Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises. And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous." (Romans 4:20-22 NLT)  Much occurs later that prove the tremendous faith Abraham held for the "Unseen God", but it was this passage that I was drawn to in my thoughts today.

The Lord made it clear to Abram that he was to leave the land of his family and follow God's leading to a new land.  He would make Abram's descendants into a great nation and he would be a blessing to many.  Can you imagine the promise and hope held in such a tremendous revelation?  To be chosen for such an incredible opportunity?  Yet, by our standard, the cost seemed great.  They had to leave all that they had known in life behind.  There is always security in the known- it is comfortable, easy and safe, but we tend to grow beyond ourselves in the dangerous lands of the unknown.  We do not know if they were afraid or worried about this move.  I confess, there would have been some anxiety in my tent!  What we do know is...."Abram departed as the Lord had instructed."  No matter what he and Sarai might have felt, they were faithFULL and obeyed the Lord. 

It hit me today that we are all appointed a legacy and we all have the promise of a great future if we are willing to yield ourselves to God's calling in our lives.  Sometimes, that means leaving the safety of "known" to follow God into unknown territory.  Scary?  Absolutely! But the truest courage is not in the lack of fear, but the willingness to walk in faith where the Father leads despite it.  We will never reach the place God has for us unless we are willing to move away from our own self-sufficiency and self-built security. 

My friend, God is not finished with us- His work in us will not be finished until our last breath is drawn.  Let us not live in fear and trepidation, but in faith travel the journey He has designed for us.  I can only hope that at the end of my travels when I finally reach "home" that God will say of me that I never wavered in believing God's promise and that I brought glory to Him.

My bags are packed and my feet are ready.... lead Lord.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

On His Hands

Yesterday, we were busy at school work when I realized that the 3 year old toddler was quiet.... too quiet.  (This should strike fear in any parent!)  I called him and he came to show me the "artwork" he had done- on his hands, cheeks, chin and arms.  It was beautiful, right?  I knew I needed to talk to him about not marking on himself when he flashed that awesome smile, and I melted.  I still talked to him, but it was tough!

Then, God brought to mind the scripture passage from Isaiah 49.....
"Sing for joy, O heavens! Rejoice, O earth! Burst into song, O mountains! For the Lord has comforted his people and will have compassion on them in their suffering. Yet Jerusalem says, “The Lord has deserted us; the Lord has forgotten us.” “Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you! See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands. Always in my mind is a picture of Jerusalem’s walls in ruins." (Isaiah 49:13-16 NLT)
At this point, Israel had not heeded the pleas of the prophet Isaiah and had found themselves in captivity by the nation of Babylon.  Then they began to question God's faithfulness to them and wondered if He had forgotten them?  Have you ever felt that way?  In this case, as with us often as well, their sin had caused the "distance" they felt from the Holy One.  It was by their choice, they had ignored the warnings to repent of their sins against God.   I find that often, when I feel a distance in my personal relationship with God it is due to a sin in my life as well.  In part of my reading today, Max Lucado  discussed this issue as he discusses the reasons behind the necessity of Christians apologizing for sins that we have already been forgiven of.... "The very reason you would want your children to do the same.  If my children violate one of my standards or disobey a rule, I don't disown them....But I do expect them to be honest and apologize.  And until they do, the tenderness of our relationship will suffer.  The natures of the relationship won't be altered but the intimacy will.  The same happens in our walk with God.  Confession does not create a relationship with God, it simply nourishes it."
Israel, as a nation, had not confessed and nourished intimacy with the Father.  So, I have to look to our nation and ask the same thing? 
I also find joy, however, in the knowledge that Israel was never off the Father's mind..... they were written on the palms of His hands..... My friend, we are never forgotten by the Father- we are permanently etched in the nail scars in His hands and feet.  When He looks at His former wounds, Jesus sees His redeemed.  We are never out of His grasp and love. 
Today, whatever you are facing.... turn to Him.  Repent for any sin that might be hindering the intimacy you were meant to have with the Lover of your soul.  Then, rest- completely rest- in the knowledge and love He has for you that surpasses time and eternity.  You are forever etched in the scars that bring you redemption!


Monday, April 22, 2013

Identity Crisis

This past weekend, I had the honor of helping assist with a D-Now for the preteens at our home church.  D-Now is a name given for a weekend focused on Discipleship training- growing in our faith and knowledge of God.  The title and focus of the weekend was "Identity Crisis" and teaching these 5th and 6th graders to recognize their full value and identity in Christ.   It was led by the Children's Minister, Derek Peters, and Minister to Youth, Andy Carroll.  It was such an incredible experience!

"My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:20 NLT)

Galatians 2:20 served as the core scripture from which the teachings came, and we discussed it thoroughly throughout the weekend.  Our old self- with its flaws, shortcomings and failures was crucified with Christ thousands of years ago.  The moment that we gave our lives to the Lordship of Jesus, He came to live within our earthly body enabling us to be so much more than we could have ever imagined.  Redeemed, restored with a new purpose and gifted through grace to accomplish more for His kingdom than we could have dreamed.  That is a Galatians 2:20 life- transformed by grace.

Part of our discussions included the lies that Satan has for us about our worth and value.....

Satan's lies:
You are unworthy because you sometimes sin.
You get your worth from what you do.
You get your worth from what people say about you.
Your behavior determines what you should believe about yourself.

This morning I read the following quote from Stormie Omartian, "The only power the devil has is in getting people to believe his lies.  If they don't believe his lies, he is powerless to get his work done."  When we begin to fully understand the evil one's lies and fully comprehend the truth in Christ, Satan becomes powerless.  Glory!

God's Truths:
You were worth dying for so I could forgive you and save you from sin.
Your worth comes from what God was willing to do for you.
Your value is based on what God says about you.
Your beliefs about yourself determine your behavior.

Read those again and let it sink in.  Can you fathom?  Our value comes from what God was willing to do for us.... wow- just wow.  These truths are life changing.  Suddenly, your life and value is fully embedded in the grace of God and not on your fallible and feeble humanness.  When we fully grasp our value in Him, we are better able to love and extend grace to the world around us.  To be used for His Glory beyond our natural selves.  I read this Beth Moore statement this morning, "A lifestyle of believing God makes you bolder in your love for others and in what you can believe God for in their lives."  Amen!

One of the most important aspects of these truths regarding your worth and value is knowing that it derives from what God says about you.  The only way you can know all His promises for His children is to study His word each day to grow in that knowledge.  This weekend, I noticed that one of the girls in attendance seemed to be sharing a Bible with one of her friends.  I had a small cute Bible that I had bought several years ago because it was small enough to fit in my purse.  It had been a kind of impulse buy and since I started using a Bible app on my phone, I had not been using it.  When the girls arrived at our home for a time of small group study, I offered her the Bible to  use over the weekend.  Yesterday morning as we prepared to leave for church, she brought it to me wanting to make sure that she returned it.  I offered to let her use it for church, but God really moved on my heart that she might need that Bible for her own personal use.  When we arrived at the church and were unloading, I called her aside for a moment and asked if she had a Bible at home.  She quietly whispered, "No, I don't...." and a little part of me broke.  "You do now.  I want you to keep that Bible," I stated.  The huge smile and instant joy on her face as she thanked me broke me even more- that simple act- giving her a Bible is so much more than just a gift.  If used, it can transform, give life, and outline a God-defined purpose for her.  The joy that flooded me at that moment was so deep and filling- that moment, alone, may have been the reason God had me be there this weekend. 

My friend, God has plans for you- today, tomorrow, and until the last breath is drawn.  Realize your full value in Him.  Study His word and live seeking His plans for You and those simple, but life changing moments.  God is real, active and alive in YOUR life. Trust Him. Believe Him.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Praying for West, Texas

This morning, my heart is heavy.  Yesterday I spoke about how God desires us to be His hands and feet in the midst of Stinky Stuff.  I just had no idea that a desperate tragedy would take place just a few miles down the road from my home.    Last night, a fire erupted at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas (which is located between Fort Worth and Waco on Interstate 35).  Several of the volunteer firefighters went to work trying to contain the blaze, but an explosion occurred that was felt for miles away and even measured on seismographs in Amarillo, Texas which is 400+ miles away.

Hundreds have been injured and many have lost their homes and loved ones.  The devastation that has hit this small town of less than 3,000 citizens is nothing less than horrific.  Reagan and I sat and watched reports until midnight and after with such a weight of sadness on our hearts.  Helpless.... broken for what we saw.... and desperately crying out prayers for those in the town.  We, like so many in our area, long to help.....

Here is what we have learned so far:

There is much need for toiletries, water, clothes, toilet paper, and food donations.  Several local groups and businesses are collecting these items to take to the town.  Please make sure that any drop off location is one that honorable and will adequately follow through with their intentions.

Please donate blood as much is needed to replenish all that was used last night and in the days ahead.  I heard that A- type is needed most.  Locally, Carter Blood Center, is accepting donors with special hours of operation.

Financial contributions will be welcome, but please be careful who you donate to as, unfortunately, there are many who will try to take advantage of this situation.

Finally, pray- desperately so- for the town, those injured, those who have lost homes, lost pets, and for those who are working so hard to help the needs in West currently.  Please know that I have been "carrying" you to the feet of Jesus.... remember Pick Up Your Mat?

Father, all the events of this week, have broken my heart and drawn me to my knees.  We so desperately need you to heal our land and to be with all the victims in Boston and in West.  Pour out your peace and love into their hearts, and minds during this time.  Give us wisdom in how to best minister and serve them and reflect You in our actions.  Enable us to be your hands.... your feet.... giving of ourselves to share their burden.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Stinky Stuff

On Monday, we were surprised by a visit from my parents following an appointment they had in the area.  Much debate ensued over where we would go for lunch, but we ended up at a place with a play area for the boys... The food was okay and the boys ate very well and played hard.  At one point, I looked up and saw a familiar facial expression on Kendall that let me know he was "taking care of some business".  Sure enough, when we came down for a little break in his play, I realized that a change was in order.  It hit me that I had left his diaper bag in the car and sent Caleb out to grab it for me.  However, when he returned without the bag, I knew I was in trouble.  Apparently, when I put Kendall in the car and thought I had his bag was, in fact, a coat that we did not need on an 80* day.  UGH!!

Deciding to return home as my best option, I tried to get everyone ready to leave.  As we drove home, the scent became strong and Carson began to ask if I could roll down all the windows.... I could definitely understand his request!  I think Carson would have stuck his head out of the car- much like a dog- if I would have allowed it.   Caleb, however, does not like the windows rolled down because all the wind burns his eyes.  So, with noses pinched, we drove straight home.... um, well except that pesky drive through errand I had to run.  You know it was bad when the toddler kept asking when we could change him.

As I thought about this later, this became so humorous to me....  in life- especially with family- we have to deal with each other's stinky stuff.  None of us are perfect and all need God's grace through the gift of His Son.  His generous grace poured into our souls gives us the resources we need to deal with each other- to extend His grace to those in need around us.  We all struggle and deal with difficult people or good people in the midst of stinking circumstances.  It is so tempting to want to flee and run from those needs, but often God wants us right there in the midst of it.  Ministering, loving, and being His hands and feet for that person, in that exact moment. 

Think, too, of our Savior.  He took all the filth of our sins and placed them on Himself.  His great love for us drove Him to do what we could not do for ourselves.  If He is our ultimate example, then we must be willing to live out His love and grace before them; so they might seek and know their need for Him.  We are to be a living reflection of the One who saved us.

"When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings." (1 Corinthians 9:22, 23 NLT)

"Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay. God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another." (1 Peter 4:8-10 NLT)

Sometimes- nay, many times, we walk through difficult days with fellow believers.  Babes in need of maturity who need grace-filled nourishment to bring growth.  Harsh and critical words rarely bring the sustenance needed for spiritual maturing.  All instruction must be bathed in deep love.

"Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important." (Galatians 6:1-3 NLT)

My friend, I do not know what situations you find yourself today, but we are meant to minister.  We are meant to love and bring healing to a hurting world.  It is meant to be an outpouring of all that He has done within our redeemed souls.  Today, be His hands.....be His feet.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Dishes in the Sink

Last night, the dishes sat in my sink.  Tall and filthy they sat stacked high and to overflowing in both sides of my sink.  Now, that is not an experience is altogether rare or uncommon for many households, but instead it was reflective of my heart.  In horror, I silently watched the news footage of the Boston Marathon bombings yesterday.  My mind saw flashbacks from previous times of destruction- all the events of September 11 and of the Oklahoma bombing just years prior.  Heartache, pain, and sadness fell over me as I watched the events unfold. 

Then, I thought of my children and my wonderful husband.  The truth is that we are not guaranteed a life free of heartache, pain and sadness.  We are guaranteed that Christ, who lives within us, will never leave us when those difficult times strike.  He is faithful to walk with us during those devastating moments and shine His light and love through us.  He has blessed me with a loving and kind husband.  He has given me the precious opportunity to be a mother- three times over, and I love my boys so very much.  Last night, I just needed to be with them.  To sit in the midst of an "ordinary" night and let them just play, laugh, argue and fuss around me.  I needed to oversee the putting on of pajamas, taking of bedtime medicines and brushing of teeth.... all to soon, those days will have passed.

For many of us, we are far removed from the events of yesterday- we grieve and hurt for those who lost loved ones or were injured but life continues for us.  We still go to work, drive the car-pool, prepare meals, wash the clothes, and even do the dishes.  Let us not forget to stop, and pause, for the realization that it could have been us.  Savor the moments that God gives us- the ordinary days- realizing that it is the "ordinary" things that we will miss the most when the children grow or a spouse passes.  In those moments, God will carry us through the difficult days often by the joyful and treasured memories crafted in the days of mundane, ordinary moments. 

Pray and grieve for those in Boston.   Let your heart overflow with all the blessings the Father has given you.   Recognize and treasure them- even if it means the dishes stay in the sink.


Monday, April 15, 2013

Hearing a Heartbeat

Several years ago, Reagan and I found ourselves in a difficult situation.  We had been married for several years and had two wonderful boys.  We had just gone through a job lay off and he had just found employment after four months of working odd jobs and living off unemployment.  Life was good and we were rejoicing in the Lord's provision.  Then, I found out I was pregnant.  It should have been a happy moment, but I was overwhelmed.... how could we provide for another child?  After all that we had gone through in the previous months made me anxious about how we could manage it all.  Yes, Reagan had gotten another job, but with a huge pay decrease...   I spent the first two days in constant tears, and I couldn't talk about it without a knot knitted in worry forming in my stomach.

Then, the love and support we felt from our family and friends helped us adjust to the joy of this new arrival and I slowly began to feel joy.... a new life.  At an appointment right at the end of my first trimester, I chatted with the nurse as she took my vitals and checked my weight.  It was light-hearted and fun until she tried to find the baby's heartbeat.  She looked and looked as we continued to chat, but I slowly saw a look of concern cross her face.  Telling me not to worry, she went and retrieved the doctor to have him come and try.  In those moments, there was no doubt- I wanted this baby.  I began to silently cry out to the Father for the life within me- pleading and begging for a heartbeat to be found.  The doctor began to search and the room stayed painfully silent.... and the look of concern on both of their faces told me just how serious it was.  Just as we were about to do a sonogram to see what was happening, we heard it- the beat of a heart crying out, "I am here!".  Tears swelled and fell in relief.  The baby was okay!

That baby is our precious Kendall.  He brings us so much joy, and I could never imagine a life that did not have him in it.  I still choke up when I think about that day in the doctor's office or the tedious moments in delivery when we, again, lost his heartbeat.  I cried out in desperate prayers to the Father for his life and the joy in finally hearing his loud cry sent tears streaming down my cheeks.  He was my son- from the moment I knew he existed.  Even when I was unsure of all the details, I loved him.

My friend, each year millions of precious lives are lost-- not by natural causes- but by fearful, scared mothers who don't know what to do.  In their heartache, they choose to end the life of their child through abortion.   Their stories are different, but the outcome is the same.  They are left to deal with the emotional scars and loss for the rest of their lives.  I cast no stone- everyone sins and no one is free from the guilt of regret.  My heart is not to condemn, but to be a voice crying out for those that have no voice.... the unborn.  God has a plan for every life that comes into existence and He knits them together in the womb.  Every detail about them is known and planned by a loving Father.

Each one of us is affected by abortion.  How?  We may all know someone who made that choice in a desperate time and has lived with regret and heartache over it.  For some of you, the pain is buried deep within.  Most of us are guilty of being apathetic in regards to this issue- it happens and it is too overwhelming of an issue.  Plus, it is very polarizing in our society to stand on the side of life, but, my friend, we must be the voice for the millions of babies each year that are aborted. 

What can we do?

Support pregnancy centers that share God's plan and intentions for life- either by finances, time, and especially prayer.

Support adoption agencies and start changing our nation's heart in regards to adoption and abortion.  For some women, taking the life of their baby seems more logical than giving it to a family that longs for a child..... we must change this!!

Love these precious ladies- they are frightened, hurting and scared.  They do not need our judgement as they are probably doing enough of that on their own.  What they need is our love and support.  If they choose to keep their child, they are going to need physical help and support- we can be that!!

Pray.  Pray.  Pray.  Plead to the Father for these precious lives.

Share with others your heart in a loving, kind and non-threatening way, but by all means share.  You never know how God might use you to change a life forever.

My friend, I know these issues are hard- or at least they are for me, but so much is at stake.  It is a life and death cause that we must take up! 

Friday, April 12, 2013

A Good Report!

This morning, Caleb had a neurologist appointment to discuss his progress.  I anticipated that he would have to do blood work and then we would make plans to follow up in six months.  At that point, we were hoping to begin the process of weaning him off his medication.  To our surprise, Caleb's neurologist is willing to begin the process sooner!  Yay!!  We have an EEG scheduled at the end of May and depending upon the results we will proceed with slowly weaning him off his medication.  Even if the EEG is abnormal, he is willing to let us give it a try since Caleb has gone almost two years without a seizure.

The Positives:

Caleb would finally be able to live a life without worrying about his medication.  It is has been so long since we have lived a life without medication..... making sure we always have it on hand, checking that he has taken it, double checking that he has taken it and factoring it all into our budget.  At one time, Caleb was taking 48+ pills per week.  Life without medication.... wow- just wow.

The Negatives:

Caleb was so excited at first, but the realization that reducing and weaning him off all this medication could very well backfire and throw him back into  a seizure (or seizures) until we could get it controlled again.  So, while he wants to try, he is nervous.  Plus, he doesn't remember a life without having to take all this medicine and he is a little nervous- there is security in his taking it.  During the time of weaning, we will certainly be on alert and making sure that anyone responsible for his care is aware, as the risk may be high for his seizures to return.  It will be hard for me to let him get too far away for fear of one happening and being prepared to deal with that.

Please Pray!

Please pray for us that we will have peace as we proceed and that God will protect Caleb.

Thank you for the love you have expressed to us and all the support you have given.  I have a feeling these next few weeks may be a little tedious for us and your continued support in prayer will be so appreciated!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Press On

Yesterday, I upset one of our sons because he wanted to do something that I did not feel was best for him.  Does that sound familiar?  I think most parents can identify with that!  As I responded to his hurt feelings, I found myself saying something and even as the words were leaving my mouth, I knew it was the Holy Spirit at work.  I said, "You equate my love for you if I do what you want, but because I love you, I do what I think is best for you- and that is not always what you want."   The weight of those words struck me to the core.  Do I respond the same way to the Father?

How many times have I questioned, become angry, or festered in hurt of all the "what-ifs" in my world?  What if that had happened or what if that had not happened?  Why did God allow this?  In brutal honesty, I have done this over and over...  I do not think I am alone in that.  God's love for me is so great and His ways are so much higher than mine, but in my longing to control or have my way in an issue, I pout.  I question.  Often, later, I reflect back on those challenging times and realize how it was for my benefit- my growth.

This morning, I read this statement and felt so convicted and humbled..... "Be careful not to complain about anything, even the weather, since I am the Author of your circumstances.  The best way to handle unwanted situations is to thank Me for them.  This act of faith frees you from resentment and frees Me to work My ways into the situation, so that good emerges from it."  Sarah Young, Jesus Calling

Wow.... God wants us to keep pressing on to the goal- a well lived life for His glory.  Hard circumstances become spiritual "markers" that grow our faith and trust in Him.  He does not fail us.  He grows us.  We can not equate His love for us by His doing what we want!  He cannot be God if He is controlled by our whims and wishes.  He is God and He must be free to work in our lives to shape and mold us into His-purposed reflection.

"I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back. So let's keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you'll see it yet! Now that we're on the right track, let's stay on it. Stick with me, friends. Keep track of those you see running this same course, headed for this same goal. There are many out there taking other paths, choosing other goals, and trying to get you to go along with them. I've warned you of them many times; sadly, I'm having to do it again. All they want is easy street. They hate Christ's Cross. But easy street is a dead-end street. Those who live there make their bellies their gods; belches are their praise; all they can think of is their appetites. But there's far more to life for us. We're citizens of high heaven! We're waiting the arrival of the Savior, the Master, Jesus Christ, who will transform our earthy bodies into glorious bodies like his own. He'll make us beautiful and whole with the same powerful skill by which he is putting everything as it should be, under and around him." (Philippians 3:12-21 MSG)

Father, help "clear my blurred vision" so I may press on to you.  I want to live a life filled with Your purpose so that I may better reflect You.  Thank you for the hurts, disappointments, and challenges that come into my life as I know they are but temporary- my real home awaits!  Mold me, Father, shape me.  "I am off and running and I'm not turning back."


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The "Keep"

As I shared yesterday, we had a crazy weekend with Kendall, but God reminded me of some of His eternal truths.  One of the things I realized about myself is that I tend to set my study of His word aside when my schedule varies from the normal.  Ouch! Truth it is, my friend.

On Friday, we had to get up earlier than normal and as most of you know, I am not a natural morning person.  Plus, things did not go as originally planned as Kendall was already up and had been in bed with my parents.  Needless to say, my time of Bible study did not happen then.  With the surgery and care of him following the surgery, I did not stop to go to the throne of His grace.  Saturday passed.  Sunday passed- both with abundance of free time in which I could go and fill my spiritual cup.  By Monday, I was empty- empty of energy, empty of emotions, and empty of strength.  I needed Him. 

My friend, we are not meant to go about life without drawing on all that He is and offers to us.  The more I study and go to Him in prayer, the more I desperately need it in my life.  It is a longing that I pray never fills.  We convince ourselves that we are too busy or that we will get to it later, but the evil one lies to us.  He convinces us that busyness indicates productivity, but in spiritual things, silence with the Father produces more in our lives than our long "To Do" list could ever could.  We are created to spend time with Him.  We are meant to draw all that we need for any given day through His wellspring of blessings.

I felt so convicted.  What a sweet "refilling" I had with my precious Savior.  HE is my source of all.  Today, I do not know your exact need, but I know that all you truly need can be found in Him.  Draw on His strength!  Are you having a regular time of worship and study with Him?  If not, what can you do to make it happen?  Give the Father a short worship offering of your time and see what He does with it- I am sure He will bless you far beyond measure. 

“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit. (Jeremiah 17:7, 8 NLT)

My friend, our roots need to "reach deep into the water" of Him each day so we can stay spiritually green and producing fruit.  We need that daily drink from Him.  I also read this precious description today, "In all the old castles of England, there was a place called the keep.  It was always the strongest and best protected place in the castle, and in it were hidden all who were weak and helpless and unable to defend themselves in times of danger.  Shall we be afraid to hide ourselves in the keeping power of our Divine Keeper, who neither slumbers nor sleeps, and who has promised to preserve our going out and our coming in, from this time forth and even forever more?" Hannah Whitall Smith

Oh, how I need to hide myself in the keeping power of our Divine Keeper- each day- so I can be prepared to face all that my days offer.  He is our keep, our shelter, in all times.... we just have to go to Him.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Kendall Update

Thank you all for your prayers and concern for Kendall this weekend as he had minor surgery on Friday.  He has been so sick lately and our doctor as well as ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat) doctor determined that it was best to have his adenoids removed and have tubes put in his ears.  Several years ago Carson had to have tubes put in and we were not unfamiliar with the process.  My parents came up to stay with the older boys and I spent most of Thursday preparing for the next day- I even made breakfast and lunch ahead as well as planning lessons for the boys to do while we were at the surgery clinic.  They were SO happy that I went to that extra effort to make sure school stayed on track-- NOT!

Anyway, Friday morning broke early for us as we did final breathing treatments and prepared to go.  We arrived at the clinic for surgery and completed another 10 pages of paperwork even though I had answered a ton of questions on the phone earlier in the week.  Meanwhile Kendall, who had been relatively calm, began to panic.  Thankfully, the receptionist switched the television to "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" and immediately he went and sat to watch it.  He was on a second episode when the nurse came to take us back to prepare for the surgery, and when I said, "Come on Kendall.  They are ready for us."  He just looked at us and said, "One minute Mommy."  Sorry, buddy, but that won't work this morning!

As we walked back in the surgical prep rooms, I felt his grip get tighter on me.  Then, as we began to change him into a cute tiger decorated hospital gown, he went into full panic.  The nurse kept talking with him as she gave him an oral dose of medication to help him relax and calm down.  We just held him and calmed him until the medicine started to work.  Then, he looked directly at me and said, "What your name?"  I laughed as I stated, "My name is Mommy."  He then started asking where Daddy was- over and over and looking at his hand floating up in the air.  We couldn't help but chuckle at how relaxed he had become.  I almost wished that they had some of that magic medicine for me!

Then, they rolled him back and we went to wait for all to be done.  About 30 minutes later we heard that the surgery had gone well and once he was awake they would come get us.  We waited another 30 minutes and then went back to see him struggling to open his eyes as he began to cry and moan.  The nurse had me cuddle with him in the bed as he woke up.  Preparations began for us take him home when she realized that one eye was dilated while the other was not dilated.  So, we ended up having to stay a little longer for him to rest and make sure he was okay.  He enjoyed a Popsicle and an entire sippy cup of juice.  As we left, he even got a Popsicle for the road. 

We arrived home and had quite a time keeping him still and quiet- which were our instructions.  He was to keep his heart rate down stay quiet for 3 days and no heavy active play for 7.  I thought that would be pretty easy for the first day-- just a lot of movies, games, Lego's, and such.  Well, I was wrong!  The pain medicine he was given as well as what I gave him a dose of sometime after we arrived home sent him into a hyper storm!  He was running everywhere and diving off couches.  I did all I could do to keep him still, but felt like I failed miserably-- to make matters worse, my parents and Reagan had both left when it hit with full force.  Thankfully, the effects of the medicine wore off within a short time and we determined (after talking to the doctor) that he did NOT need that medicine again.

The next two days went relatively well- until late Sunday night when his fever went up to 101*F.  We had been told that if it went to 102* to call the doctor.  Such a fever, after surgery, could be bad.  We kept him on Tylenol and watched him closely overnight.  On Monday, I called the doctor and waited to hear back when his fever went high again and his breathing started to change- it was becoming real raspy.  For a child with asthma, this is not good and I began breathing treatments and switched to Motrin for the fever.  Thankfully, our doctor's nurse was so helpful and kept touching base with us.  By last night, he was much better- as the fever had gone down and breathing was much better.  Plus, we kept on top of his fluid intake as we fear that he started to get dehydrated which caused the fever to spike.  A sweet, dear friend texted me and brought dinner over for our family.  It blessed my heart because mentally, I was exhausted by that point.  The thought of putting together dinner seemed overwhelming.... you never know how such a small gesture can bless someone until you are that someone.

Today, I hope to re-discover a "normal" day and try to get back on track with things.  God really spoke to me regarding some of all this, but I think that will have to wait until another post.... Please continue praying for K-man as he continues to recover. Much love and hugs!

Thursday, April 4, 2013


I hope you can give me a little grace today as I vary from my usual post.  Instead, today, I thought I would just share some "randomness" from my world.... Indulge me?

Kendall has felt his entire three years this morning as he has thrown several fits (and books and pencils), attempted to lasso anything he can find, and has eaten us out of food.... well, not completely! :)  The boy has eaten two bowls of cereal, yogurt, a banana, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich as well as a ham and cheese sandwich (both were whole sandwiches) and cheese puffs..... I keep watching to see if he is going to explode!

Carson had to get a haircut this morning because his grandparents are coming tonight and he didn't want them to think he was a girl.... yeah, don't think that mistake will ever happen!  He is styled in a manly haircut that is "spikey" as he calls it.

Caleb has hit the stage where he really likes one shirt and has to wear it every day.... every... single....day.  Okay, well maybe not EVERY day, but almost.

Homeschooling this week has been more of a challenge as burn-out has hit and we are trying to get past all of Kendall's illnesses and having missed some days because of that.  I just keep reminding myself to take it one day at a time and trust for God's grace, wisdom and faithfulness to carry us through. 

Kendall watched us on Monday night as Reagan led us in a family communion together.  Since then, he keeps calling the grape juice "blood".... I felt like I should explain if you saw us in person and he mentioned it!

On a serious note, please lift us all up to the Father tomorrow, but especially Kendall as he will be having surgery to have tubes put in his ears and is having his adenoids removed.  It will be a simple procedure, but my mother's heart still hates it for him.  This may also limit my time to blog in the next few days.... sorry!

I also would appreciate your prayers as God has been really working with Reagan and I regarding His plan and purpose for this blog... and how that affects our family.  I just long to be in the center of His will and purpose for my life..... can you relate?  Please just pray that we will have wisdom and faith!

Finally, I greatly appreciate the comments, "shares" and followers of our blog.... it is such a blessing to hear how this journey together has blessed you.  You have blessed me.  Thank you for reading!


Wednesday, April 3, 2013



Last night, Reagan and I held our breath as we watched one of our Texas Rangers come ever-so-close to perfection.  Yu Darvish pitched 8 2/3 innings of absolute perfection- 26 batters had come to the plate and all had been sent back to the bench without reaching first base.  Then, came the 27th batter.  One more out and Darvish would land in the history books reaching the "Holy Grail" of baseball.... the perfect game.  With one crack of the bat, the baseball bounced along right between his legs and he had to watch the ball, a perfect game, and a no-hitter all bounce into the outfield.  Gone.... just like that.

Perfection is hard to achieve in sports, but even more so in life.  Let's be honest- it is impossible to achieve.  We are sinful creatures- only one came to Earth who was perfect and left without sinning.  Jesus was the perfect lamb who died for our sins.  The rest of us.... well, we fall short! 

Yet, through a heart-changing relationship with our Savior, we can catch glimpses of His perfection within ourselves.  Rare moments when, in His strength, knowledge and love, we are able to do things beyond ourselves.  Have you been there?  Maybe it is speaking and sharing the gospel with someone you just met or held the hand of a desperately hurting friend.  Perhaps you stood up for righteousness or continued to honor the Father in the midst of deep personal agony.... the list could go on.  God enables us to see brief moments of perfection in our lives to know that He is real and active in our imperfect existence.

Recently, I came up to Caleb and saw by the look on his face that something was wrong- very wrong.  He was upset and through a short conversation I found out that a friend had pressured Caleb to do something that he wasn't suppose to do.  Caleb began to walk away and heard the friend call him a "chicken" for not caving in to the pressure.  It hurt his feelings, but he still walked away.  Perfection.... just a glimpse, but God was at work.  Caleb desperately longs to fit in and please his peers.   For him to have the strength to do what was right- when he wanted to please his friend- was a moment of God's enabling. 

Last night I had to carry out a punishment for Carson.  I finished the discipline and asked him if that would change his response next time, and he honestly answered, "No."  I asked again- thinking maybe he just didn't understand, "Do you think you need another discipline to remember not to do it again?"  "Yes," he responded.  Now, this was spoken in humble honesty- just raw and sincere truth.  Perfection.... just a glimpse, but only God can deliver that kind of response.

I read this quote today.... "Let us never suppose that obedience is impossible or that holiness is meant only for a select few.  Our Shepherd leads us in the paths of righteousness- not for our name's sake but for His."  Elisabeth Elliot

When we see these rare glimpses of perfection, it is never for us- but for the glory of the Savior, our enabler.  It is to draw others to His saving grace.  It is for revealing Himself more intimately to us and stir a deeper longing for our home that awaits.  It is our God-designed purpose lived out.

"God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. Glory to God in the church! Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus! Glory down all the generations! Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes!" (Ephesians 3:20, 21 MSG)

Lord, thank you for the brief glimpses of Your perfection in our lives!  May those moments give us hope, grow our faith, and stamp Your reflection in our daily existence.  We know that it is for Your glory, and for that of Your Son- our Messiah- help us to live out Your purpose for us.  Work in us Father!   We long to see those perfectly designed moments lived out in our lives and know- desperately so- that it was You.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

"Born Crucified"

"Jesus was born crucified.  Whenever he became conscious of who he was, he also became conscious of what he had to do.  The cross-shaped shadow could always be seen.  And the screams of hell's imprisoned could always be heard...So call it what you wish: An act of grace.  A plan of redemption.  A martyr's sacrifice.  But whatever you call it, don't call it an accident.  It was anything but that."  Max Lucado
As I watched scenes from a movie portraying the life, beatings, crucifixion and burial of Jesus Christ, tears began to pour forth from deep within.  They would not- no, could not stop.  No words were adequate for the mix of emotions that I was experiencing.... it was painful and beautiful all at the same time.  My Savior beaten and killed as an innocent lamb for my sake was too much for my feeble heart to stand.  In those same moments, I felt such deep love for a Savior that would give of Himself- complete and whole- for someone like me, a frail sinner.  The tears rained as a spring thunderstorm and my thunder tore at my soul. 
Then, came the dawn of Sunday morning.... the victory of a Savior that lives!  A Savior that meets all needs because His redemption is a complete one.  Failures become victories, weak ones become strong, ordinary becomes extraordinary and death becomes life.  My friend, we have unlimited potential living a life as part of the redeemed of Christ- can you fathom all that He has for you?
"You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus.  Our God and Father abounds in glory that just pours out eternity.  Yes....Receive and experience the amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, deep, deep within yourselves." Philippians 4: 19-20, 23 MSG
"God will help us become the people we are meant to be, if only we will ask Him."
Hannah Whitall Smith
 Last night, we sat down as a family and Reagan led us in taking communion together- our way, as a family, to remember that we are part of the living redeemed.  It was a sacrifice, of the purest form, that bought our freedom and we must remember.  It was also a way of living out an empty tomb- we must live out the faith and freedom that we have been given!  It was so humbling the response of our boys to this time together.  Oh Father, please fan the flames within their souls for you- may it not be quenched!  Allow their thirst for You be a life-long need.....  That is my prayer as well, Father. 
How about you?  If there is air in your lungs, God is NOT finished with you.  He has much left for you dear friend and think of the impact you could have if we truly lived out the victory of the empty tomb!