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Archive for the ‘Some AWESOME God stuff!’ Category

So, last week I asked the question, “Does God give us more than we can handle????” and asked for people’s opinions. I received some VERY great responses and have pondered on them for the week.
Then, this past weekend our pastor preached this same question as the theme for the service….and he had some fabulous answers! Every one of them was exactly my belief as well!
It was funny…because one of my best friends told me that she had never heard anyone talk about this topic until a few years ago when she and I discussed it and I told her my view. She did tell me she didn’t post on my facebook survey though because “she already knew the answer”! ūüėČ

Now…let me share with you some of my thoughts.

I never really pondered this question too much. But I do remember a few times it came up in my life circumstances.

1.) When my mother was ill and things weren’t looking too good…it was the same year as when my boys died….. Well…a friend kept saying that “surely..after everything you’ve been through…God wouldn’t do this to you.” Then when mom passed and somebody else was ill….again…”Surely after everything you’ve been through…God wouldn’t do this to you too.” Finally…after several times of her saying this…I told her, “I don’t know who this ‘surely’ person is…but I know who my God is and that isn’t a promise He gave me.” I remember telling her to show me in His word where ‘surely’ said that…and she never could. It was then that I turned to the book of James and told her that He wouldn’t have told us to consider it pure joy whenever we face trials of many kinds. It didn’t say you’ll only get one bad one! And yet….our human hearts hope for more of a gentleness in our learning process.

2.) The second was in a very difficult season. I had remarried and had already had our son. Then, in a matter of less than six months, we had two miscarriages. After the second miscarriage I had a surgery and came home in a daze. I remember my husband telling me our son would be fine as an only child…he would have cousins and he would be fine. But I didn’t feel like I would be fine. One day, as I sat alone ‘recovering’ I remember looking through a magazine and finding this plaque. It said, “I know God won’t give me more than I can handle….I just wish he didn’t trust me so much. ~Mother Teresa. I knew when I read it I had to have it. I found the phone, placed my order and when I received it I then hung it in my bathroom where I would see if everyday as I prepared myself for the day! (and yes….it’s still there)

3.) Then…the third time is when I was going through a book study…I was digging deeper into scripture and I feel like God was really speaking into me. I remember being in my bathroom and looking at the plaque….and thinking…”No disrespect to Mother Teresa….but this plaque has it ALL WRONG!” First…I realized…God DOES give us more…sometimes not directly…but everything that happens to us must be allowed by God….than we can handle. But……and this is a big one…..it is only more than we can handle ON OUR OWN! In 1 Cor. 10:13…which is where I believe most people get that He won’t give us more than we can bear! (So did my pastor!!) It says….”And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted byond what you can bear. This is what people think….SURELY he won’t give you more….. But what I told my friend years ago…and what I know beyond a shadow of a doubt is…….that most people don’t know or consider the second part of that same verse…”But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

BAM!! It doesn’t say he will take it away completely. He doesn’t say he will get you out of it safely……it says he will provide a way out and also it says……so you can ENDURE it. That word right there….endure….means it isn’t even going to be easier just because God got you there!

What this says to me….. isn’t that He knows just how strong I am…..it says He knows just how WEAK I am….but my weakness is made perfect IN HIS STRENGTH!!! He is sufficient…for ALL MY NEEDS!!

So that third time…in my bathroom…I totally disagreed with the saying on the plaque. I think, instead of “wishing He didn’t trust me so much” I should be thankful that He knows me well enough to know I will seek HIS strength in the trials and He trusts me to trust HIM!!!

Let me say this again….instead of “I know God won’t give me more than I can handle, I just wish He didn’t trust me so much!” I believe……with all my heart….we should say, ” I know God will sometimes give me WAY more than I can handle on my own and I’m SO THANKFUL He trusts me enough to give me this burden….because He knows I will seek Him to help me endure and I will grow stronger because of it!”

So tonight as I sit in my quiet house…..after sitting in a hospital waiting room this afternoon….I think of some of the correlations in this thought process and the current situation I am walking through with my husband.

One week ago we were in the Emergency Room because he knew he had another (4th time) kidney stone. Now….every other time this has happened….he has gone home from the ER and passed it within a matter of days. But this time…it was different….and I kept telling my friends….”I’m really worried because he isn’t in enough pain…” Not that I wanted my husband to hurt…but because I knew that if he wasn’t in pain…the stone wasn’t moving. I knew without the temporary pain….we could be in for a ‘longer-term’ of the process. Sure enough, he went to the dr this morning and it hadn’t budged. He came home just so I could drive him to the hospital to have a procedure to help break it up and move it on out. Tonight…he is definitely in more pain and it is beginning to pass. A friend said…so…. instead of passing just one…they broke it up and now he has to pass tons of little ones! Yes. That is exactly where we are.

All this to say….to me…it’s a picture of this life lesson. Sometimes we must go through a little pain in order to get rid of something that could cause us much greater harm in the long run. If we don’t….then the pain could be even more intense…… But either way….God will find a way for us to remove the item, person, thought-process…….you get the idea….that could eventually cause us harm.

Or……He might just allow us to go through hard times….to make us turn to Him…..because it’s in the valleys where we seem to cry out to Him the most…… But also because it’s in the valleys where we seem to be strengthened most. I know I have. Through all the valleys in my life….He has carried me through and my strength has been through Him….and each time…my faith has increased! This allows the mountain tops…to seem so much brighter…so much better….because it was such an accomplishment to get there!

My hubby will be okay. He leans into the strength of our Lord. I will be okay. I don’t just lean…sometimes I just jump on His back and say, “Carry me”….and He does.

I hope this has given you a different perspective. God doesn’t expect us to be perfect…or even be strong when things get tough. What he knows are our weaknesses….and He wants nothing more than to carry our burdens…..to strengthen our weaknesses….and help us grow in the valleys so that the view from the mountain tops are that much sweeter!

I’ll see you on the mountain top! blessings friends! ~c

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No…I haven’t been in a car accident…or anything like that!

I’ve been digging deeper into scripture! The other day..I felt like God was asking me to revisit the book of James. Yes…I’ve lingered there a lot because it talks about trials and having joy through tough times….but it honestly seemed a little odd to me that God would be directing me here.

I mean…honestly…things have been pretty good. Nothing too earth shattering in my life right now. I know I’ve been digging deeper in my soul and working on the joy that God has for me daily…..but James….???? Why this place….why now????

Of course…who am I to ask all of this…so I opened His word to James 1. I just started at the beginning…and of course….I have highlights all over verses 2-4.

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I have been in this scripture many times….and have meditated over it even more!

So again….I’m questioning….”Why here? Why now?”

But then…I read on….and what I read….well…this part….okay…I get it….
verse 5 –
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without fining fault, and it will be given to you.”

But as I continued in verse 6 –
“But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7) That person should not expect to receive anything from The Lord. 8) Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.”

BAM!! There it is!

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Talk about God totally wrecking me! Remember…in my last post…where I confessed that I believed God would do anything for everybody but me??? Well….here…He showed me that I MUST believe it for myself! Verse seven says I should not expect to receive it if first I don’t believe it! WOW! He knocked me to my knees! This was like someone had literally knocked the breath out of me. It was like…..Here….this is why you feel like you’re being rocked by the waves….because YOU ARE!!!

It has been a week since I first opened this scripture….since He started speaking to my spirit. First…I confessed…..then…He shows me in His word why I wasn’t receiving….WOW!!!

So…my spirit has changed. I am in a totally different place! Even my accountability partner told me a few days after I read these words that I seemed more calm and at peace. I AM AT PEACE! I KNOW….beyond a shadow of a doubt He was speaking directly to me!

So I’ve been so open to hearing from him…and this past Tuesday night….it happened again. I heard Him speaking to me….

I had felt a burden for a friend growing in my spirit. She and I aren’t close…as in we don’t speak daily…or much at all really… But she was on my heart. And late into the evening…He told me to stop praying….and to reach out. My best intentions weren’t enough without action behind them. So I reached out to her. I asked how I could be a blessing to her. She was so sweet and told me to pray for something specific…something she later said she normally would not have shared. She had a specific need and was trying to find a way to meet it. After agreeing to be in prayer and help her find a way….God reminded me I already had a way. I had exactly what she needed. So I contacted her again and went to her house at about 10 pm to take it to her.

I’m not trying to toot my own horn here. Not at all! What I am trying to say is…..if you open your heart….God WILL speak to you! God will show you HIS ways! Even my friend told me she never would have told someone that particular need….but we both knew it was ALL GOD!!

Then…this weekend….God was so awesome! He was at work in so many hearts. Our church service was on things that are often said….but God himself…has never said! Yesterday was about “God just wants you to be happy!”. That is so not true. There is nowhere in scripture He says that!

Well…I wasn’t able to attend service until last night…and my best friend had told me to call her after it was over. I did and she told me that God had wrecked her with the service! He had shown her how He planned to bless her….but she might not always be happy! He showed her He had plans for her…and she didn’t have to always be in control! As she spoke….I had tears streaming down my face…because I’d been praying she would see all of those things….for years. She has come so far….and I am so proud of her! I’m thankful for all He has done. I am happy to say He wrecked her too!

I know it won’t be the last time either one of us feel this way! And honestly…I LOVE IT! I love that He speaks to me and it totally wrecks me! It convicts me! It makes me want more of Him…to search…to open my heart…to believe…with unwavering faith! He wants more of me and I’m ready to give it!

Won’t you consider opening up to Him?…the creator of the universe…the one who knew you before you were born…the one who holds you in palm of His hands…the one….who created you in His own image…..the one…..who loved YOU so much….he sent his son to die FOR YOU!

I love you…with all my heart. I want for you…to know the awesome feeling of being wrecked by God. The feeling of being on your knees…and totally surrendered to His will. ~c

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I’ve really been trying to wrap my head around the idea of so much that is going on around me. So many that I know experiencing pain, loss, grief and difficult times. I hear stories from friends and¬†I read some of the stories on social media and my heart physically hurts for so many…..

The response of my heart has changed through the years…I’m ashamed to say these kinds of stories used to not have a huge effect on my heart. I mean….being honest here….I’d read it…feel bad for the person…then…go on with my life. There was no hurt…no feeling for that other person out there. Then there was a time when I’d take all of it on emotionally….as if it was my own to bear….in a way that wasn’t healthy for my heart.

Now though….it’s different. I’ve been trying to grasp the why and how it is different and how I can explain it. The following is what God gave me.

You know how some people say that you are born with a God-sized hole in your heart that nothing BUT God can fill? Sure…we try to fill it with popularity, accumulating things of this world, people of the opposite sex, parties and all that goes with that, shopping, eating, drinking…….because we just don’t realize that God is all that we need….. He is the only one that can fulfill the thirst for more that we crave!

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Well, I feel like the people I have lost in my life….my boys, my mom, my grandparents, my friends…….have all left holes in my heart. Let me explain. Each person and what they meant in my life…..is irreplaceable. When they left my life, they left an empty place that no one else could fill. Each one left a hole in my heart.

Through grief…..some people take that hole in their heart….and instead of letting God heal the edges of it…. they try to fill it up with something else….or worse…they allow it to gape open….raw and ragged….and allow the empty space in their heart to make them feel empty.

Imagine the frayed edge of fabric….uneven…fraying….and ragged. This is kind of, an appropriate image of the edges of the hole left by loss. They are raw and ragged and just don’t look right.

But imagine now…..the edge being sewed up….the hole isn’t gone…it is still there….but God can mend the frayed edges….over time. If we let Him.

And then……..what happens then….to me is amazing. Because as He gave me the visual of my heart….with holes open for each person lost…..He also showed me this………

 

 

photo 1As I’ve allowed Him to come in and help me heal….help me grieve…… as I’ve allowed Him to be a part and seek out His purpose…or the Silver Linings in each loss…..He showed me that instead of less of a heart because of all the holes….. He has INCREASED the size of my heart….because I’ve allowed Him to be a part of the healing.

There are still times when the holes in my heart ache….and the loss is very near and very real. But….I’ve also come to realize each time my heart aches in my grief….He increases the size of my heart….and in a way…the way my heart aches and feels for others. It drives me to stop….to pray for each of them. It drives me to action…to see if there is anything at all He would have me do for the others who are experiencing a new hurt.

This might make absolutely no sense to you. But to me….He has shown me how through the years…..through my losses…through my grief….He has increased in me my territory. He has increased the size of my feeling heart and the more I lean on Him in my own grief…the more my heart beats with Him in the grief of others.

That night…..the night my world was turned upside down and I felt like my heart had been ripped out of my chest and I couldn’t breathe or go on…..I cried out to God and asked “WHY AM I STILL HERE?”……I believe He is whispering His answer daily…..and today…..He is telling me it is because He needed me here to increase the size of my heart….to share with others my heart……and to give others the hope that their hearts….although they may feel like they aren’t able to go on….they can’t breathe…they can’t move forward with the holes in their own hearts…..I’m here to tell you that you can. I’m here as a testament that He heals hearts…..He mends them slowly….and then He increases them in size…so that you too, can feel your heart beat for others in a way you never could before.

Death, difficult times….are all a part of this life. I’ve said before that I wish we could all be born and die on the same day so that nobody has to experience the loss of someone they love!! But life just doesn’t work that way. I’ve really been praying hard about this lately….about how there is so much hurt and loss and difficult times in the world. This is the picture God gave me…this is the best way I can describe of how I feel about the massive loss I’ve experienced in my life…and how it has made me who I am today.

Philemon 1:7 NLT says
“Your love has given me much joy and comfort, my brother, for your kindness has often refreshed the hearts of God’s people.”

I want to give others comfort and joy…..through the kindness of my increased heart. It may still have holes in it…..and it always will…..because there is no one or anything that can fit into those places in my heart left by the people I’ve loved. I’ve never tried to “replace” those people….not my children today….my stepmother…my new friends….none of them “fit” into those holes….but God has allowed them to expand my heart. He has expanded the capacity for love in my heart through me allowing myself to be open to those new people and new experience. I’ve not put them into the places in my heart where the holes are…but I’ve allowed them to add to my heart.

So there you have it…..I have a “hole”y heart. But what I truly desire….is for God to make it into a “holy” heart. Through the difficult times in my heart…..I believe that is when He is doing just that!

“And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.”
Ezekiel 36:26

Thank you for being a part of my increasing heart!!!
~cheli

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I don’t even know where to begin!!

First, I MUST say thank you to all of you! Thank you for the words of encouragement! Thank you for sharing with others! Thank you for watching the show with me! Thank you for allowing me to open up my home and share with you and your friends and family!!! I love each one of you…and thanks just isn’t enough for all you’ve each done for me! Your words of encouragement mean more to me than I can adequately express!

Now….. I must say..the last week has been an emotional whirlwind! The actual show and seeing that video always brings back so many emotions. To say it is hard to watch, is a little bit of and understatement….to say the least. The part where they show one of the boys being wheeled out of the house is so hard. I remember being on that first show and seeing that video for the first time! (remember…it was a surprise….so I had no clue!) I remember when it got to that point I looked at Oprah and said I had never seen that before and didn’t know if I could go on…..she quickly grabbed my hand and turned me around and I didn’t see the rest of the video…just heard it….. You see….my family didn’t allow me to watch television for over two weeks after they died. I had asked my family to not speak to any media and had absolutely no idea that the story had made national news. So…all those images….were some I’d never seen or imagined.

Then, my dad had sent Oprah the video of the boys…….the part with them at SeaWorld and to see them waving to me…..every time…it just grabs my heart and makes me stop breathing…for just a moment. Seeing that….is always hard.

But then came the update part. I have to be honest….this was where I was holding my breath. It is hard to give someone else control of my story…..and that is what I did. I did the skype interview…and talked with them for almost an hour. Then…we sent lots of videos and pictures and from there……it was all the producers and production crew at HARPO. They were totally in charge of how the update would go and what it would portray.

I must say……I WAS THRILLED! I was so happy with the way it was put together and how respectful they were of my story. All of my fears were gone and thankfulness set in! I couldn’t have asked for a better segment!! What a blessing the HARPO staff is to me and my family! I am so thankful for each one that I came into contact with….and for the ones behind the scenes who helped!

You can view the first part of the segment here.

The second part with the update is here.

Now…..although this was not my first Oprah appearance…..this WAS the first time I’ve done an Oprah show with Social Media going on!

What a crazy thing!

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I was having a Twitter party with the producers of the show…leading up to and during the show! I had my iPad on my lap and my phone at my side! Before, during and after my segment…..each of my devices was beeping and dinging at a rate I just couldn’t keep up with! I’d attend to one…and come back to the other and there would be over 80 new items to review!

Facebook….Twitter…..my texts…..all were going off! And, I’m so thankful that every single word was extremely encouraging to me! I don’t think everybody realizes how much I am encouraged by others… When I feel down or like I am stepping out too much….I see all of the sweet encouragement you have given me and I am reminded that I am an ambassador for His Kingdom and am just doing what He has asked of me!

Finding out Tuesday evening that the story was on the Huffington Post main page….literally knocked the wind out of me. I received a message from a friend who told me it had come across her feed….sure enough….there it was! As of now…..there are 2.9k Likes….and 376 shares on this story! I am totally blown away! Talk about humbling! You can see it here!

But I want you to know what I see from this…… I see people that are craving happy endings! I see people who want and NEED hope in their lives! I see that the message God has given me to share….is just that! It is HIS story! His HOPE! That is what people need….and that is exactly what I’m here to do!

Then…Thursday afternoon…I received a message on facebook from someone who had seen my story on a mutual friend’s page…and she wanted me to give her a call to do a “local” update! I called my family to see if they were up for it…and they agreed! So we did a whirlwind interview with the reporter and her wonderful camerawoman…..and then sent out messages for our friends and family to watch the 10:00 news that night!

Again, I have to thank the reporter and her crew for their fabulous editing…..in less than 2 hours I might add….and the way they respectfully put together my story! Again….I couldn’t have been more thrilled with the way she told my update while leaving the emphasis on Christ….instead of me!

You can see the news interview here.

But…..to me…the most amazing thing about this past week….are the messages and private messages I’ve received. From people finding hope from hearing my story….to others wanting to start sharing their own trials, tragedies and triumphs…because they’ve realized God can take them and use them for good…. Those are the moments I’m going to cherish forever. I’m printing each message….and using them as my own messages of hope. So again, I thank each of you for reaching out and touching my life in such a positive and encouraging way.

As always…I am asking you to pray. Please pray for myself and the wisdom to know what my next step is. Yes…I’ve revved up the writing process and kicking myself for not having more done….but all in His time. Please pray for God to open doors of opportunity for me to share and for me to continue to be strengthened by Him in order to share.

Please pray for my family. In less than a week they’ve been the focus of two news segments and this is new to them. I have felt God holding me back from taking this message to the world…and I have believed it was to protect my children. They were so young and didn’t know the whole truth when I began to share. They are still young, but I believe God has prepared them for what is ahead…and I truly believe their part in His story…could very well be bigger than mine!

Please pray for my sweet husband and our marriage. He is my safe place…the one I take all my emotions to and the one who comforts me. Yes….God is my Father…but He gave me my husband to feel the presence of His arms around me! My husband is so good at this….he comforts, cries with me, encourages and strengthens me continually! Please pray his cup is filled to overflowing for all he has to endure with me! I’ve told him….I’ll never be “normal”…..and he chose me anyway! ūüôā

But mostly….pray for this message. Join me in praying Ephesians 6:19-20
“Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.” Pray that I boldly enter into the arena God is preparing for me and walk through the doors He is opening!

Friends~ we all have a story. Remember….it’s your part of His story. He is the author…but you choose some of the chapters. Your story….just might….be the hope and change….someone else’s story needs. It takes many parts…to create the whole! He has made you……and given you purpose! Step into it! It is freeing to know you have a purpose….and living it out……is ……well…..try it. ūüôā

Many blessings! ~c

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Today is the one year anniversary of the school shooting in Sandy Hook, Connecticut. Today is a brutal reminder that one year has passed since the innocent lives were taken from their families. Today is the reminder to each family and friend that they have lived every season, every month, every week, every day of a full year without their loved ones in their lives and here on this earth with them.

Join me in prayer for these families. Join me….because even though most people like to think and are even so brazen to say that the first year is the hardest…and after the first year…things will start to get better…….that just isn’t quite true.

For a family that has lost a child…..the first year is obviously difficult. It is filled with all the “firsts”.…the “first” holiday without your child….the “first” birthday without your child….the
first” beginning of school without your child….the “first” last day of school without your child.

But what makes it difficult….is for that first year….you can still imagine your child……just the way they were…the things they liked…the friends they would play with….the sports they liked to play….the foods they enjoyed. You can even imagine how they looked….how they wore their hair and how their voice sounded. You could imagine all of those “firsts” fairly easily…as if they would still be there……You could see them and hear them…..still……………..

Each year after that “first“…..it gets a little bit harder. After several years….you wonder….what their interests would be……what friends they would still have……what activities they would be enjoying…….how would they be styling their hair…..how would they be changing….how……would they sound……

Then……many years past that….when their classmates are going to their high school proms….you wouldn’t even know if they would have wanted to go……who they might have gone with……what they would want to wear….how they would want to arrive…limo or car…any of it…..because you would never know them even close to that age….

I say this because I want you to realize…..that the families who lost their children and loved ones still need our prayers. They will need them for the rest of their lives. I’ve come to realize there is no such thing as “closure” when you lose a loved one….. or as the grief cycle being done. It is a never ending process that only ends when we join our children in eternity.

I also ask that you allow these families to be happy. I think it is wonderful that we see them smiling and laughing with their families in some of the clips I’ve seen. Don’t think that just because they have gone through something so devastating that they don’t deserve to smile again. Don’t look at their lives now and wonder how they could be so happy after, what you consider, is such a short time after they lost their loved one!

They can be happy again! God is that good! They can choose to continue living their life…all while remembering their loved ones they lost. Losing someone tragically….doesn’t mean you can’t go on…it doesn’t mean you aren’t able to continue.

That is the awesome thing about our lives…. NO MATTER WHAT is going on……WE CHOOSE! We choose if we continue to get up…to continue to live! We choose if we are going to be all consumed by sadness or to feel it and then move on…..past it..

No…it doesn’t mean it is easy! Quite the opposite! It is hard! Very hard. Knock-the-breath-out-of-you hard! But it can be done. You just have to decide if you are willing to do it!

When God gave us free will….He gave us power. Power to choose! WE CHOOSE EVERYTHING!

NO……we may not get to choose what happens TO us…..but WE CHOOSE how we react. WE CHOOSE how we allow it to make us feel. WE CHOOSE what we do next.

Just because bad has been done TO us….doesn’t make it okay for us to make more bad choices!

WE HAVE POWER!! No person…..no situation …..NO ANYTHING has any power over us….EXCEPT the power WE give it!!!

So choose……CHOOSE YOU! CHOOSE to be weird and choose the good out of EVERY situation!

I can say….after EVERYTHING I have been through……There is ALWAYS a silver lining….you just have to look for it!

Maybe that seems weird to you……maybe you think it is very uncaring for me to say there has to be a silver lining in everything…..like in the Sandy Hook shootings….but it is there. Good WILL overcome evil……..the Light will shine through ANY darkness…..but sometimes….MOST of the time….it is US….who has to find it!

May you see the LIGHT in everything and CHOOSE the POWER God has given you!
My vote…..is on anyone who makes this choice!
Blessings and prayers! ~c

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At church we have been talking about how to love God like a child loves God. ¬†Through a child’s eyes, there is such an innocence and an awe of God. ¬†It seems as we get older, we become more cynical and less believing and trusting. ¬†This series is making me want to think more like a child.

Then, while cleaning, I came across this. ¬†It is ¬†I’m sure right where God wanted it to be…so that I would see it and remember the thoughts I had when I found it almost 18 months ago. ¬†I had actually started a blog to share with you about it….but never published it. ¬†So….since God seems to be nudging me…..I’m going to share the sweet innocence of my daughter with you…..

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This is what I found in my car. I saw it and it was sealed. I left it there for a few days and then when no one had talked about it, I asked Breanna what it was. She says, “mail”. Kinda like…..”duh mom!” So I asked her if she needed me to mail it for her to which she promptly replied…”YES!”

I knew before I opened it that it was precious and I couldn’t wait to read it. I knew when she told me to mail it that I would open it and then date it and put it in her “box of stuff” so if you are reading this Breanna……..mommy is sorry!

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This is what I found. When I read it ……I cried. How simple. How true. What insight. She was only 8 when she wrote these words……and she GETS IT! She knows who meets her needs and that the “beast thang” that has ever happened in her life is GOD! (yes….we are from the south and I guess we talk like it since she sounded that out and spelled ‘best thing’ as “beast thang”!) I remember at 8 all I could think about was me…having fun…. nothing like she thinks. She is so insightful. She asks questions like… I know Jesus is building us a home in heaven… Will our houses be next to each other or will we just have a family house? Can we visit each other’s houses? I love the questions….the thought process.

I love to hear her prayers too….. Dear God….thank you for this day. Please dear God…just be with my friends and help them get along…..and put your healing hand on “such and such” because they haven’t been feeling too well lately. Thank you God for just loving me. And God….if you can today would you just be with my whole family and help us have a wonderful day and come together again tonight safely? Thanks God.”

It makes me wonder…… do we think like that? Do we think of Him as having his hand on everything in our life? Our health…our choices…..our finances…..our relationships? Do we honestly turn it all over to Him? I know I don’t. I know I like to think I do but honestly…..I don’t. I am a control freak! And I don’t know why but there is just something in me that thinks that if I don’t have my hands in the big, stinking middle of every situation…..it won’t turn out just quite right! Can I get an amen???? You know…..the times we’ve “given it to God” only to turn around a take it right back! Just because it seemed like He might be taking too long or that His answer wasn’t THE answer we were looking for!!!

Well….she gives it to Him. And she truly expects Him to handle it…even the little stuff. I remember once when I was out-of-state doing some work stuff. I called to tell the kids and Bryan goodnight and got to pray with my sweet girl on the phone. Her prayer was sweet and I am used to a lot of it by now….but at the end she said……, “And God, please be with my mom right now. Help her to not miss us so she can concentrate on her work and then come back to us and have some fun!”. Seriously….did she know I was in the middle of something….??? I was. And I needed EXACTLY what she was asking for. But…..SHE was the one asking for it…not me.

I know this is another proud mommy blog for some….but to me…in a way…it is a wake up call. I know that I am getting better at having more conversations with God throughout the day. But I don’t take to Him all my needs…my frustrations….or all of what is in my heart. Good or bad He knows it all…but the question here is……do I trust Him with all of it???

I think my little girl does. And for that…right now….she is my hero. ~c

 

 

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Do you do this?¬† Do you play the “What if?” game?¬† Do you beat yourself up over maybe a different outcome in any particular situation by asking yourself “What if?” questions?

Hmmmm.  I have done this too.  I am guilty of playing this game in my mind.  But I am curious how you end this game. I mean, do you agree that if you had just done something differently, or maybe made a different decision, would things really be that different or that much better?

I’m just curious….because tonight at church….the pastor was speaking on finding favor with God.

Why, you ask, might this lead me to wondering if anyone has played the “What if?” game…..?¬† Well, let me share¬†a few tidbits and you will understand.

He spoke about how we can walk in God’s favor at all times.¬† He also explained that being in God’s favor doesn’t mean an easy, care free, wonderful life (sounds a little like my last post!), but instead….it is a life knowing that He has designed us with a purpose….and He is constantly with us!

I have a girlfriend….and no matter where she is in life…if you ask her how she is…her answer is ALWAYS, “Blessed and highly favored!”.¬† I have come to expect her to say this…always.¬† And I love it!¬† I want to think like that.¬† But I thought, before tonight, that it meant that everything in your life had to be going so well, or just right.¬† Tonight I learned that is not God’s favor being upon you…that is you looking for God to do you a favor!!¬† Can I get an…AMEN!!!

Thankfully, this is NOT what walking in the Favor Of God is all about! The pastor calls it….walking in the FOG!¬† I love it and can’t wait to go back next week to learn more about it!

Well, the part that made me think about the “What if?” game is this….. At the beginning when he talked about finding favor with God…he asked who wanted that….and EVERYONE raised their hands.¬† Of course!¬† This is what ALL of us want!¬† But as he finished up his lesson…..he shared a scripture….with an insight that many never think of when this scripture is read…….

The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The¬†Lord is with you.”¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Luke 1:28

This is when the angel arrived to Mary to tell her¬†she had been chosen to¬†birth the Messiah!¬† Like me, you probably think that she had sooooo much faith….or that she was just soooooo¬†good….and God must’ve really loved her the most to give her this great honor.¬† But at the end of the lesson…our pastor put this in a different light for me.

He said that we see this as a blessing….. she was “blessed and highly favored!¬† And the Lord was WITH her!¬† But we also know the rest of the story.¬† So……what if the angel had said instead, “Greetings, you who are highly favored!¬† The Lord is with you!¬† He has chosen you to birth the messiah.¬† This will seem, to all outsiders to be¬†conception out-of-wedlock, you must¬†suffer for that…as well as have the child in a barn.¬† And although this child will be perfect….and live a sinless life….. you must watch him¬†be mocked, and ridiculed…..then beaten and put to death on a criminal’s cross!

The pastor asked us again…….”Now…how many of you are still willing to raise your hands and say you want to be HIGHLY FAVORED??????¬† Seems a little different now.”

And it did.¬† For me, this is when I thought about the what if game. This is when I considered…….

What if God told us the ENTIRE plan before we embarked on a journey?  Would you still do it?  Would you be willing to take the bad along with the good of the situation?

What if being “highly favored” means walking through some very tough and dark times?¬† Would it be enough to know that “the Lord is with us” even then?

For me, it made me feel better.¬† I know…..kind of a weird reaction to the whole lesson.¬† But for me….after everything I have been through…..it totally confirmed that even though my life isn’t easy or even all great all the time…..I AM BLESSED AND HIGHLY FAVORED!¬†

And you know what else?  I always have been.

I am SO thankful that even though HE knows the outcome of every situation……He doesn’t let me know.¬† I hate to admit….but I don’t think I could accept knowing everything …. how hard some of it might be.¬† I would want to think I’d be strong enough…..brave enough to take on what He intends for my life…even if I knew it all…..but in reality…I just don’t think that is what would happen.

So now, my what if game goes like this….and believe me….I am asked some of these¬†A LOT!

Q. – What if I hadn’t gotten pregnant at sixteen…married and then my first child at seventeen?¬† A. – Then I wouldn’t have had my precious Cody…or then my adorable Cory….and then maybe not have gone to church and met my best friend who then led me to a relationship with Christ.¬† And then….my sweet Caleb never would have been a part of my life too.

A. – cont’d……¬† and I wouldn’t have made the relationships…..friendships….had awesome experiences……in my life.

Q. – What if the boys hadn’t died?¬†¬† A. – Well…..then I might not have married my sweet husband, had two more beautiful children…..made the friends I have now…. or have the ministry that God has given me in the aftermath of this tragedy.

How can you play what if?????¬† All that has happened…has made me who I am today!¬† All that I have gone through…..has led me to this moment of feeling blessed and highly favored!!!!¬†¬† All of it….good and bad….were a part of His purpose for my life!!!

And ….. now I believe…..with all my heart…..¬† if it was good enough for Mary….it is definitely good enough for me!

Thank you Lord, for writing my part in Your story one word at a time.¬† For, if I knew at the top of the page, what would happen at the end of the page…….well…. let’s just say I’d never have considered myself strong enough to endure.¬† But, now I know, being highly favored simply means…….YOU have been with me….EVERY STEP OF THE WAY!

The pastor described it like this……The Favor Of God is…¬† The guarantee of His presence and the provision of His power to accomplish His special purpose in and through my life!

WOW!  I love being blessed and highly favored!!!!

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