Will This Ever Be Fixed?

My youngest & I were at the Quad Cities Festival of Praise this last weekend.  What a great night of music by the JJ Weeks band & the David Crowder band.  The crowd was rocking!  The music glorified God & the messages that were presented were uplifting.  We’ve been to this a couple of times now…always a good show!

I want to address something that was said during one of the messages by the JJ Weeks band.  The lead singer was giving a message about turning to God & how God is our healer…of disease, of broken marriages, of finances.  He went on to say other things, however, I couldn’t hear them because I was too busy being focused on how I was going to address this with my daughter.  She had heard it…”God is the healer of broken marriages.”  She turned to look at me.  She had a look of shock on her face.  She quickly looked back at the stage & never brought it up again.

I know what she was thinking though.  Oh, do I EVER know what she was thinking!  I’ve thought it myself before.  She was thinking, “Well, if God is the great healer, then he will heal this marriage, he will heal this relationship, he will heal this mental illness.”  Yup, I’m pretty sure she’s trying to figure out why God isn’t healing her parent’s marriage.  I’ve wondered that before, too, sweet girl!

I certainly don’t have an answer to give her!  I’ve prayed about our marriage, I’ve given it over to God, I’ve asked him to change our hearts.  The message I keep getting is, “You are going to be ok.  I’m here with you.”  I’ve never gotten “Well, if you just jump through this hoop & do this thing then I will heal it.”  No, I’ve always gotten, “You are going to be ok. I’m here with you.” I’ve bargained, I’ve read books, I’ve sought counseling…the answer is always, “You are going to be ok. I’m here with you.”  I’ve held it together,  I’ve lost it all.  The answer remains, “You are going to be ok. I’m here with you.” Comforting words during a time of intense pain & decision making.

Now, I’ve done it myself.  I’ve told people to “Give it to God.”, “I’ll pray for your healing.” and all of those great things our healer can do.  However, what do you do when the healing doesn’t come?  How do you handle it?  How do you deal with life when you feel like you aren’t worthy enough for God’s healing?  Well, I’ve been know to cry, get mad & not sleep.  These aren’t great options.  I’ve never felt better after I’ve gone off on a tangent or not slept much of the night.  (I have felt a little better after a good cry!)

I guess the point I’m trying to get at is that God IS the great healer.  This I know!  However, sometimes, His healing doesn’t come in the form of fixing the problem, the disease or the finances.  Sometimes, it comes in the form of moving forward, of going through the pain & the hard stuff.  We have to truly listen to God & seek His will for the problem to be fixed!  I mean, my plan was for my Grandmother to live forever, my marriage to be healed & the mental health issues in my family to go away!  That’s how I would have fixed all of this!  However, in the end, my Grandmother passed away & is now living pain free, burden free with her husband.  She is healed!   My marriage, that I took the vows for, that I put forth the effort to change & be changed is ending in divorce & the mental health issues still rear their ugly head. Did I want this fixed a different way?  YES I DID!  That was not in God’s plan.  I sought out God’s will, sought counsel & prayed a whole bunch.  The message I kept hearing was, “You are going to be ok. I’m here with you!”  And He has been here with me every step of the way.  From the early stages of the mental health diagnosis, to fighting for my daughter & family, to making the choice to walk away & be safe.  God has been in every decision, every person that has walked with me & in every prayer!  Yes, God is here with me, even in the midst of the valley.  And, He will be with me on the mountain top too.  (I will get there someday!)

I feel like this has been a long post only to say, God’s will be done, not mine!  Even if I think things should be done a certain way, God’s will is what I am seeking.

To my sweet girl who gave me “the look”…I know you don’t understand this.  Neither do I.  However, when we continue to seek God’s will & wisdom, we will be healed.  I’m not sure what that looks like, but God is our great healer!  He will make us whole again!

“For I know the plans I have for you…” Jeremiah 29:11

 

Advertisements

1f000eae350110214eb1b975d208401d

Sometimes, you have to put these things out for others so that they can speak to your soul.  I haven’t written in awhile because I have been, well, dealing with stuff.  I have been focused on getting out of bed each day, trying to see the good in the day, being thankful for what God has provided for me & my family.  I have been hoping & praying each day that functioning gets easier, that this mess moves on, moves out of our lives & by golly, it had better be quick!  (I’m not a patient person by any stretch of the imagination!  It’s just not who I am!)  But, I find myself stuck.  I’m stuck in the mess that I call life, my life.  I cry, I get angry, I justify, I fill my time but in all of this, I have felt very distant from God.  Oh sure, my village of people that I am blessed to have in my life have pointed me to God, I have even pointed my daughter to God…all for me to try to do this new life on my own.  I have gone to the cross & talked with God, bargained with Him, asked for forgiveness & put my burdens down at the cross…only to pick them up before I even say AMEN!  It’s what I do…

So, I share with you tonight the love of Christ…so it can speak to my soul.  I share with you tonight the Survivor’s creed…so it can speak to my soul.  I share with you scripture…so it can speak to my soul.  So my heart can see it, read it again and again & tell others about it and then…hopefully start healing.

Let me be honest…I don’t have any answers!  None, zero, nada!  NO ANSWERS to why I am where I am, when I will become unstuck or how I will become unstuck.  What I do know is that when I am true to myself & turn to God, when I remember that God has sought me out, He has chosen ME even before he made the world…when I remember these truths, I am better.  I am still stuck, but better.  These are the truths that I must remember through the tears, through the heartache, through the questions, through the weary nights.  When I look back at where I have been to where I am…I see growth, I see a new person in Christ. No, I’m not perfect, I’m still stuck & can be angry & resentful & full of pain…yes, I am human.  But, in Christ, I am new again.  I know that, no matter what happens, I am a child of the One True King and that I will survive this mess that is my life.

I saw this Survivor’s Creed by Max Lucado on a Bible Study I was watching.  It was like a breath of fresh air to see this, to see the words in writing.  It was calming.  So, I am sharing.  I am sharing so that, no matter what, if you are going through “stuff”, you have some reassurance, something in front of you to remind you of who you are and whose you are!  And yes, I am sharing this for me, for my soul too!

“Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and with out fault in his eyes.” Ephesians 1: 4

“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person.  The old life is gone; a new life has begun.” 2 Corhinthians 5: 17

“That is why we never give up.  Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.  For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long.  Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!  So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen.  For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”               2 Corinthians 4: 16-18

For The Bible Tells Me So

I Remember Now…Chapter 2

bible-verse-chalkboard-sign-jeremiah-29-11-digital-chalkboard-sign-6nujh5-clipart

So, after recovering from the miscarriage & counting my blessings, I picked up & started again with the infertility treatments.  The appointments, the daily shots, the frustration of it all…I was over-whelmed.  I kept going.  I remembered the sign that God had sent, my body could actually get pregnant.  This was huge!  1999 was the magic year for me…the year I became PREGNANT!  During the infertility treatments, there was a chance that I could have had triplets.  The ultra sound confirmed that there was one baby.  (I’ll admit, 3 seemed like a big job!)  One beautiful baby that was due mid January.  The excitement grew with each appointment, each time I heard the heartbeat of this being, I remembered God’s sign.  I remember attending Lamaze classes with my husband, planning on having a natural birth, no drugs!  Then, came the news that the baby was breech.  Dang that kiddo, she was upside down!  We waited & prayed & waited & prayed…the baby didn’t turn.  The options were pretty simple; turn the baby manually or  schedule a c-section.  Since I had worked with a woman who lost her baby after he was manually turned, I refused that option.  I had gone through a lot to get to this point…I wasn’t willing to risk losing the baby now! So, I was on weekly appointments & we talked about when to schedule that c-section.

They wouldn’t do a c-section before 39 weeks unless I had “other things” going on.  Basically, if I was having problems or signs of labor, they would just take the baby.  I remember the winter being fairly mild that December.  I remember walking around town trying to get this labor thing going on December 30th & 31st.  I was going to have this baby on New Year’s & have her be the first baby of the New Year!  No such luck…The baby wasn’t coming, backwards or forwards…the baby wasn’t coming!

I went to the doctor for my weekly appointment on Monday, January 3rd.  They did all of the appropriate checking & asked a lot of leading questions but there was nothing.  I wasn’t effaced, I wasn’t having contractions, the baby was fine…I begged, “Can’t you just do the c-section?”  I asked several times…but the answer was always “No, not before 39 weeks, unless you are having troubles.”  Well, no troubles, so no baby.  The advice, “Drink lots of water & keep walking & come back on Thursday & we’ll schedule you for sometime next week!”  So, I was on my way.  I woke up the next morning with strange pains.  Being a first time Mom, I wasn’t sure what contractions felt like.  I put up with them all day & at one point, when they became bad, I called to the doctor’s office & wondered if I should come in.  The response, “No, you’re a first time mom, you have time.”  I would explain that this little gem was breech.”  That didn’t seem to sway any decisions.  So, I took their advice, took some Tylenol & kept on working & walking.  My Grandma even took pictures of me being sworn into the Crawfordsville City Council during the contractions.  Wednesday, I got up & went to work with the contractions less than 5 minutes apart.  Again, I called up to the office, again I was meant with resistance.  So, I kept on working between contractions.  My secretary at the time, took me out to lunch.  I remember having trouble while standing at the buffet line at the Peking Buffet.  I was breathing, I was struggling.  She wanted to take me in but I refused.  We finally got through the buffet line & I took one bite of the food & thought I was going to lose it.  After more urging, I called to the office & they suggested I come in.  We paid (I may still owe her for that) and went to the U of Iowa OB floor.  Heather got me checked in & the doctor came in & checked me & basically said that since I had waited so long, this was now an emergency c-section.  I had been talking to my husband all along & this time, when I called him, I told him that this was now an emergency.  He had to stop & get gas in his truck…the doctor said they couldn’t wait or the baby would be in trouble.  So, Heather got to witness the birth of my first-born.  My husband missed it by about 15 minutes.  Soon, my oldest child was born, a beautiful baby girl.

She was beautiful, stunning & I had more love for that girl that I knew what to do with!  Ohhhh, I loved her beyond words.  I knew that as much as I loved her, God loved her more.  I knew that she was mine on earth & His in Heaven.

I remember thinking (& eventually verbalizing) “God, if something should happen to this beautiful bundle, please help me remember that she is yours not mine.  Please help me through that time. I don’t think I would be able to move on.  But God, no matter what, I know you love her & she is yours.”

I’ll be honest, this thought scared me but I knew the truth then & I know the truth now!  This girl is a gift from God.  She is God’s gift to me, to raise & cherish for her time on earth.  I knew that then & I’m remembering it now!  Now, I’ll have to admit, the “something should happen” part was referring to death.  I was trying to remind myself then that if she should die I needed to lean into God & rely on HIM, I could not do it alone!  I never thought of something else happening to this girl.  God also gave me a Bible verse for this little darling, one that I think of when I think of her.  One could call it a life verse, I guess.  This verse reminds me that He is in control, that He has a plan.  Yes, this verse helps me remember…I remember the birth of my daughter, that He is control & that no matter what, HE IS GOOD!  So, I continue to look for Him! Yes, I remember…

Jeremiah 29:11–“For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord, “They are plans for good & not for disaster, to give you future & hope.” NLT

 

 

I Remember Now…Chapter 1

030ef785f0e8105a9eaa2ed5ec88fc2dIt’s interesting to see how God makes provisions in our lives, how He set all of this crazy life of mine in motion.  I didn’t know it then but looking back, I can see it.  I can see how God has been with me & working in my life & making the hard parts of this crazy life a little easier.  I didn’t see it but I remember now…

This all started 19 years ago with a miscarriage.  I had been sick, violently sick.  I finally went to see Dr. P to figure out why I was throwing up ALL THE TIME & for such a long time. Oh, I had other symptoms, I won’t bore you with the details.  Seeing how I never went to the doctor unless I was dying, Dr. P. was a bit worried.  She ran a variety of tests & sent me on my way.  A day or so later, I returned to work & since I was feeling better, I didn’t think anymore about my “illness.”  I remember the day vividly.  I was working for our local CAP agency in the old Chambers office, the one that burned in a fire.  I was in the office without windows, it was kind of drab but I tried to make it as chipper as I could as I was helped the victims of the tornado of 1998.  Dr. P. called me at work & asked if I was sitting down.  Now, usually when a doctor asks you this question, something is REALLY WRONG.  I sat down & I was ready for the bad news.  I remember her telling me the news, “The reason you have been so sick is because you have had a miscarriage.”  I remember her talking after that but I certainly don’t remember all of the words.  There was something about “There is a reason the baby didn’t make it.” and “This is your body’s way of taking care of itself.”  There was probably more.  What I was doing on the other end was smiling…I couldn’t believe it.  I HAD A MISCARRIAGE!  To me, this was good news.  To me, this meant hope!  To me, this was a miracle that I had just DARED God to show me & HE DID!

You see, my dream had always been to be a Mom.  Since I was little girl I would dream of becoming a Mom.  I would dream about how I would do things when I was a Mom, how I would love my children & go to all of their games & activities.  I would be present but not too present in their lives.  I would love them but not spoil them.  I would be crafty with them & be the Mom that made all of their valentines & teacher’s gifts.  Yes, I would be THAT Mom!  My dreams came to a crashing halt when after my husband & I got married, we figured out that having a baby just wasn’t as easy as one would think.  We did the usually trying to have a baby, then, when that didn’t work…we tried more “non-traditional” methods.  This involved me visiting the infertility specialist a lot & figuring out just what the problem was.

I remember…I remember, specifically, the one day.  It was cold, we had been to the specialist several times but no luck on getting pregnant.  I was on medicine, taking shots, & still no baby.  I was frustrated & mad.  I was hurt that God would put this dream in my heart & then not grant it.  After stopping in the middle of a cycle because my ovaries were growing too big too fast, I sat in the parking lot alone.  I cried my eyes out, I screamed at God for “His plan”, I tried bargaining with God.  You know, I’ll be good & do everything you want me to do if you just give me what I want.  I cried out to God, begging & pleading for a baby.  Then, I dried my tears & I said, “I’m done.  I’m done with this baby thing.  If you want me to have a baby, you are going to have to do something…give me a sign that I should keep going.  Give me a sign that sometime I will have a baby.  You are God, YOU can do this.  I just need a sign.”  Yes, I remember…I remember that conversation with God.   That was the end of the “baby thing” for me.  I was done, out, I wasn’t doing anymore of anything a doctor wanted me to do.  I WAS DONE!  The rest was up to God.

I surrounded myself with people who were fellow Christians, believers, brothers & sisters in Christ!  I attended Church, I talked of my struggles, I prayed that God would help my heart heal.  Then, the phone call came.  The one that took me back to that parking lot, by myself, alone, crying out to God.  I all but dared him to work a miracle, to give me hope, send me a sign…and then, I walked away from “it”.   I laid it down at the feet of Jesus & walked away.  Oh yes, I thought about having a baby but I never dreamed of having one again.  It wasn’t in “the plan.”  Then, God, who is every so present, heard my cry.  I didn’t realize it, but He did!

I got off the phone with Dr. P. & immediately called my mother & told her the “good news”.  (I waited to tell my husband until I got home.  You know, Mom can handle it!)  I was beside myself…God had sent me a sign.  He had heard my cry.  I was sad that I wasn’t going to get to hold my sweet baby but I know that someday, in Heaven, I will be greeted by my Grandma Stimson, Grandma & Grandpa Clang, Grandpa Love & a sweet baby.  I’m sure I will know he or she right away.  I’m sure that the sweet baby that I never got to hold is watching over us right now. Yes, I know that I am part of the statistics now.  I’m part of the 22% to 75% of women who have miscarriages before 4 weeks gestation, usually before a doctor’s appointment.  I’m pretty sure Dr. P. thought I had lost my mind that day.  (There may have been days since then that she’s thought that too, who knows?  She’s too polite to tell me if she did think that!)  But, I remember telling her & then continuing to know that God had given me the hope I had needed.  The miracle that I had asked for, the rope that I needed to hang onto to keep moving forward.  I just didn’t realize the vastness of this little miracle.

Little did I know that all of this that I have tucked away in my mind would come rushing back to me in 2017, when I feel like my world is falling apart around me.  Oh yes, I knew that God was with me but I’m not sure I believed it.  Things are changing friends…yes, things are changing.

2 Samuel 22:7–“But in my distress I cried out to the Lord; yes, I cried to my God for help.  He heard me from his sanctuary, my cry reached his ears.” NLT

It’s That Kind of Day

Today is a new day, a blue shirt kind of day, a day for glitter, a day to count my blessings, the gifts I have been given. It is also the 100th day of school.  What 100 things do you put on your shirt when you find out about this the day before??? Why, glitter of course!  Here’s to being broken & blessed, to seeing gifts in the mess.   Prayng for better days.  God bless, friends.  20170126_063420

0db84ae50f84d3ef8d19dd0e602b9bce

On this icy morning, where Audrey doesn’t have school & I can go in later, I read today’s Jesus Calling 365 Devotional For Kids with my her.  It’s entitled, “Don’t rehearse Your Problems”.  It talks about days being hard, it talks about playing your problems over & over again instead of only living through them once, like we were designed to.  It tells us to turn to God & let him guide us through & give us the strength & courage that we will need when we face the challenges. Oh, did I need to hear this.  Now, I have the adult version of Jesus Calling but sometimes it’s nice to have it given to me in very simple terms.

Then, I take the time to open the book by Ann Voskamp, The Broken Way.  I’m reading this book slowly, soaking in every word.  My book is underlined and marked up.  I’m about half way through & I can’t wait to read it again.  This book has stirred my soul like none other I have read in my life.  If you haven’t heard about it, here is your PSA.  If you have heard about it but don’t have it, I would strongly suggest you go & find a copy!  Get your own copy, that way you can underline & mark up those thoughts that stir your soul!

I’ve only read 2 pages today but I can’t get past those 2 pages.  I’ve underlined & thought & re-read those 2 pages.  That’s when I decided to write about them.  Maybe then, I can move on with my day.  Maybe I can understand my feelings, my situation, myself & go about my day.  I don’t know.

My heart has been aching as of late, my world shattered a bit, crumbling around me.  I feel like I’m in an alternate universe where the things I thought I knew, I don’t.  The people I thought I could trust, that’s iffy.  The life I knew is no more.  I’m trying to find my “new normal”, whatever that is.  I feel like my life is one of those slow-moving movies on 2 reels, it moves but yet, it doesn’t.  I have control, but I don’t.  I listen to those around me, they offer advice but I don’t know how to take the advice.  Is it be offered as judgement like, “If you would just do this, like I know best, then things would be different.” or is it offered out of love?  They offer help but I don’t know what they can do to help.  I find myself analyzing every conversation I have with people.  Are they judging me?  Do they know?  What do they know?  Look, they have stressors in their life & they are all smiles & fine.  Why can’t I get out of the chair & take down the Christmas tree yet?  Yes, my heart is hurting. I know that I’m not the only one going through this type of situation right now, we all have areas in our life where our hearts hurt a lot & we just don’t know what is next or how much more we can stand.  If you are “there” or any part of “there”, my heart feels for you.  I am sorry that you are battling your battles. Please know you are not alone, there are many of us going through “stuff” and we are doing the best we can.

These 2 pages of Ann’s book that have stirred me so deeply today speak of making my identity in Christ.  Page 184–“When you’re most wounded by the world–run to the only Word that brings healing.  And His Word makes it clear: at the core of every one of our issues is this attempt to construct our identity on something else besides Christ.”  “You are most who you are meant to be when no wind in the world can stop you from being grounded transparently in God.  You are truest self when you live with your heart as glass to God.”  Page 185–“When your identity is in the Rock, your identity is rock-solid.”  “You are brave enough for today, because He is.  You are strong enough for what’s coming, because He is. And you are enough for all that is, because He always is.”

These words from God through Ann were what I needed to hear today as I continue to fight my battle, my families battle.  I know that I am chosen by God for greater things.  I know that my strength to get through everything I’ve been through in my life, has not been MY strength, but it has come from God.  I’m not strong enough to do this life alone.

Joshua 1:5,9–“No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life.  As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you…Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

 

Adulting is hard

img952108

I’m reading a book by Ann Voskamp entitled “The Broken Way”.   On page 167 it says, “Be brave and do not pray for the hard things to go away, but pray for a bravery that’s bigger than the hard thing.”

That’s a HARD thing to pray for!  I’m not that brave…What if…I mess it up?  What if I miss something?  What if I’m not good enough?  What if I fail?  What if I’m brave & I fight for my loved ones & I fail?  What if I love someone so much, with every fiber of my being, that my chest hurts so bad, that the tightening of it is too much to bear?  What if the outside worlds opinions weigh so heavily on that already burdened heart that I don’t think I can every get out of the pit?  What if everywhere I look, all I see are people judging me?  What if???

It’s during these “What if” moments that I have to bring myself back to the Cross, to Jesus.  I center myself, I look at the pink Cross I’ve penned on my wrist & I remember that God sent his one & only son so that I can live. I look back at what I’ve written above, those thoughts that keep rattling around in my tired brain & I see a lot of me doing things by myself.  God did not design us this way.  He wants us in community with one another.  He wants us in community with HIM!

This maybe more of a reminder for myself, a therapy of sorts or maybe someone else needs this reminder too.  I don’t know but I do know that today, I wear this shirt, made with love by a dear friend, to remind me that I am not alone.  Today, as I go through the day & I hear the outside world chirping in my ear…God is with me, helping to discern the truth, HIS truth.  I give thanks to God for that.  That even on the hardest of days, God goes before me & I can keep “adulting”.  (Don’t you just love that term!)

“I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.” Philippians 4: 13  NLT

“Don’t worry about anything, instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4: 6-7  NLT

Today, I pray for HIS peace that exceeds all understanding.  We all have our own battles.  Some that people know about, some that people don’t.  I pray that today, our actions come from a place of love for others, not tiredness, not hurt, not hurriedness, but LOVE.

Praying for us as we all “adult” a little bit longer today!

Looking for Miracles

I have to admit…I don’t read my devotions daily like I should.  Some days, I read them & I don’t understand them.  I’m in a hurry & they don’t sink in or they just don’t make sense.  Some days, I just don’t take the time to sit quietly with God before I enter this busy world.  I know I should but I don’t.  I don’t know why, I’m up by 4:30 every morning.  Good grief, you would think I would have time!  I DO have time, I just don’t MAKE time!  Big difference!

The last couple of days, I’ve been making time!  Time to stop, to spend time with God, to listen, to reflect on the upcoming birth of my Savior, to look around at the blessings before me.  This early morning time, for me, is one of my many blessings!

Today’s devotion is talking about living by faith, about finding miracles.  It’s from “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young.  It speaks of how God’s plan for my life is unfolding before me & how sometimes, it can be so painfully slow & how I have to hold myself back.  (If you don’t have a daily devotional, I would recommend this one!)  This really tugged a my heart-strings.  I am not a patient person by nature.  Some people think that because of the nature of my job, I HAVE to be patient…I wish that was so.  I am one of the most un-patient persons I know!  I don’t like to pray for patience because then I get those situations that cause me to have patience & I get very frustrated!  In my profession, I can reign those feelings in because the little people I deal with are learning, they are exploring, they are just figuring this thing called life, out!  It is something that I have to remind myself of in every situation.  I have to stop & work on & practice daily, this patience thing.  Yes, even in my profession.  I am human.  But, I didn’t come to write about patience.  I came write about miracles.

The devotion goes on to say, “As you persevere along the path I have prepared for you, depending on My strength to sustain you, expect to see miracles–and you will.” pg 372 Jesus Calling  I keep going back to this sentence.  I keep looking over 2016, wishing it away, it was hard.  How did I make it through?  I know it wasn’t by my strength.  I used God’s strength to sustain me & I saw miracles.  Now, did I always realize that they were miracles?  No, sometimes I was in such a funk that I didn’t see anything as a miracle!  I only saw the bad stuff or how the events affected me.  I had to look hard to find the miracle.  Reading this one sentence & then Psalm 63: 2 I am able to see things a little differently now.  “I have seen you in your sanctuary and gazed upon your power and glory.”  Psalm 63:2   I also think of one of my favorite verses in the Bible–Jeremiah 29:11 6f559879cf6766debcc23aaa3982ca1d

These verses remind me that while, I may be in a funk, while “bad things” may be happening to me or my family or may be happening around me, God has a bigger plan for me.  I am able to have faith & see the miracles that I once saw as black holes in my life.  Like when a friend of mine contacted me after my Grandmother passed away.  She sent me a loving note hoping that I would find comfort in knowing that while Grandma was gone, a new life had found its way here, her granddaughter, on the day my Grandmother passed.  I was comforted by the note & prayed that this little sweetheart could have the beautiful relationship I had with my Grandmother.  I will always think of this little miracle on July 15.

As I sit in the morning stillness & reflect over the last year, I can see the dark spots in my world & see where God has been, where He has put the “perfect” person at the “perfect” time.  I can see where He protected me in the dark, where He shielded me from the daggers of life & where He wrapped his loving arms around me & held me tight.  Yes, I can see the miracles.  They aren’t always visible to others but they are to me.  While I don’t know His plan, I have faith that it is for good.

So, I pray you see the miracles in your life today.  I pray that God sustains you today and always.  Expect to see miracles, even small ones, the smile of a toothless child, the touch of a friend, a door being held for you…yes, expect to see miracles.

ad1fcce0cedcb131727742f611f7ad4c

Expecting to see miracles,

Sonya

 

Crawl into your Father’s Lap

qualities-child-of-god“A precious 2 year-old little boy in denim jeans & gray shirt sees you come into day care. He gets up from playing, says your name and runs to you. He jumps into your arms & wraps his arms around your neck and holds on tight for what seems like an eternity. When he lifts his little brown-haired head, he smiles and begins playing with your necklace and earrings and jabbering about the toys he is playing with. Then he says in his sweet little 2-year old voice, “I go with you?” You reply, “Yes, sweetheart, you are going with me.” He hugs you again and you help him put his shoes on and out the door you go.

This scenario actually happened to me after a long day at work. Oh, the kids were fine; some of the adults left a little to be desired. I left work feeling like I had given it 110% but 150% had been sucked out of me by negative attitudes, anger and bitterness. Yuck. It wasn’t fun. But let me tell you, when I walked into that day care and saw that sweet face of my nephew and he came running to me…oh, my soul cried out “THANK YOU!” I hugged that sweet boy just a little tighter and squeezed on him as long as he would let me!

Oh, if I was that happy to see my nephew and have him run into my arms, I can only imagine how Jesus must feel when we run to Him and run into his arms, when we cry out for Him and seek His word and way first. I can only imagine the joy He must feel when we crawl into His lap after a long day of work, feeling worn out & broken. Maybe this isn’t your situation, maybe yours is different. Insert your situation here. Finances, marriage, family, health…He doesn’t turn us away, He welcomes us and says, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

Think about this…have you ever crawled into His lap during the good times, prayed when everything is going well, when your soul is full? Yes, I believe that He wants us to do this also. Ephesians 6:18 says “Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” I know for me, I don’t go to Him as much when my life is good as when it is bad. I cry out to God more when I’m in the despairs of life more than giving thanks for the good things I have. This verse reminds me that God wants me to pray through everything, not just the bad stuff. I have many things to be thankful for, my health, my family, my work, my friends, my church, the fact that Jesus died on the cross for my sins…the list could go on. I’m not sure that I see that list daily but I am sure that I am quick to see the list of horrible things in my life. Those are those flashing neon signs in my life. I am changing the neon signs to be the good things in my life! I realize, and I hope that others do too, that there will always be those days, or weeks, that over take us and get us down. Those times where nothing seems right but, friends, we have hope and love in Christ.

We have a Father in Heaven who wants us to crawl in his lap, who is waiting for us to come running to Him. To climb in His lap and put our arms around his neck, snuggle in as He draws us closer and hugs us a little tighter as we tell Him our struggles, hurts and our good things too. He wants us to surrender to Him, everything, all of it!

He is waiting for you, He is ready for you, He listens to you. Now, change that sentence to “He is waiting for me, He is ready for me, He listens to me.” Say it out loud. It’s okay; sometimes I have to remind myself of that, those times that I’m really down on myself. I have to tell myself that again and again. It’s okay we all have those days. Acknowledge them and then move on, because they happen. Our Risen Savior is still here and ready for us in the good times and bad, every time, not matter what we’ve done. He is waiting for each one of us!”

I wrote this about a year ago.  To be honest…I don’t even remember what was going on at the time.  I just remember that I needed what my nephew had to offer that day, which is his unconditional love & hugs.  This piece, this vision in my head still resonates with me.  I can still picture picking up my nephew & his sweet voice asking if he was going with me.  I can still feel his hug tight around my neck.

The year 2016 has left me hurt, broken, grieving.  I feel like a shell of a person.  I feel like I’ve been emptied and have nothing to offer anyone, depleted emotionally.  The one thing that I have learned during this year is that God is STILL with me, in the highs & lows…He is by my side.  Oh, I’ve known this in my head & my heart but this year, 2016, has shown me with my eyes…just where God is.  I’ve seen friends come along & grieve with me.  They’ve allowed me time to be by myself & to gather.  I’ve seen God watch over my family & provide support when I thought there was none.  I’ve seen family members protected that shouldn’t have made it through those times.  I’ve seen Him heal my Grandmother of her earthly ailments & now, she is in Heaven with Grandpa.  I’ve seen friends show up when I needed them the most & call when I thought I had this all figured out.  Ask me where God is…I’m sure I can point Him out to you!  Yet, I still feel like an empty shell with nothing to offer.  So what do you do during these times?  How do I get through?  Trust me, when I completely figure it out…I’ll let you know.  Until then, I will lean in & rest in God.  I will continue to picture me crawling onto Jesus’ lap and his arms wrapping around me, comforting the hurt, the grief.  Just like my nephew hugging me tight when he was so happy to see me, Jesus, too, is so happy to see me.  He knows the inner struggle, he knows the outer pain & junk.  He, alone, knows and is by my side through it all.  He is my strength, I am not doing this alone.

So, in the good & bad, the sunshine days & gloomy ones & even the ones when you are sure you aren’t going to make it…lean in.  He is there for you, He knows your soul, every broken piece of it!

Ephesians 3:17–“Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.” NLT

Spread Love