Thursday, November 19, 2015
I am very honored to be a part of the newest book by Patricia Bradley "The Light Bearers". It is a mall synopsis that my family went through last year. I am just one of the many stories of the faithfulness of God. I know you will enjoy the book and be encouraged by it
The Light Bearers: Witnesses of the Redeeming Love and Amazing Grace that's Available for You (under HIS SHADOW) (Volume 2) Paperback – October 28, 2015
The Light Bearers: Witnesses of the Redeeming Love and Amazing Grace that's Available for You (under HIS SHADOW) (Volume 2) Paperback – October 28, 2015
Tuesday, September 08, 2015
In time we all endure suffering of some kind. The fight to survive the crisis is sometimes not in the crisis but in the journey afterward. The aftermath of devastation that surrounds us. When a tornado, hurricane or natural disaster hits you see the houses, the cars, the memento’s scattered through the streets. In that rubble is the lives that were affected by the disaster. In other moments of disaster you may not see the physical aspects of live blowing down the street but you can see and feel the spiritual and emotional effect of the event.
The onslaught of emotion that we feel after we have stood and the draining of those resources and life ebbs back into routine. The wounds that are left behind from the crisis of the moment.
We all quote the scripture, we all hit our knees in the harshest moment but what happens after? What happens if things don't work out as we asked God to intervene in the crisis? What if we lose a limb? Lose a loved one? What if what has been before will never be again? As we walk, we need to keep this in mind:
For they that wait on the Lord, shall renew their strength,
They shall mount up with wings like eagles
They shall run and not be weary
They shall walk and not faint
Even though our mind is racing with all the devastation, we stand. We stand on the character of the one that holds our life in His hands. Instead of allowing the cares of this world overtake us, we make it clear that we serve God in every way. We hold steady. We don’t look to the right or left but let our eyes focus on the one who loves us more than we can ever know. We look into those eyes of grace and know in our hearts He is our strength.
We stand firm in all kinds of trouble, hard times and suffering. Even though the emotions will overwhelm, we stand. Then, as we stand, one day we will realize we took a step, then another and then we will be running again.
Faith is not for the faint of heart, it is for the courageous. But at the same time the weak. Because in our weakness, the glory of God shines brighter than we can ever know.
Saturday, August 15, 2015
This morning I am reading in Matthew 14 and I ran across this parable that a little light glimmered across It:
28And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.
We all know it this parable. We have heard sermon after sermon about it. I just saw something new in it that I thought might speak to someone else as it did me.
Peter, being a fisherman, was not afraid of sinking in the water. He was a fisherman after all and in the water all the time. I am sure he had seen a lot of times in the water and well equipped to swim. What caused him to get his focus off God was not the water but the wind! As a fisherman he knew that the wind would create a storm and quickly. His mind is quickly calculating how fast they can get back to the boat. How far are they from the boat? How are they going to be able to stand through this storm without the safety of the boat to hold them up? He rushes through all the scenarios in his mind of how they can best handle the situation until he realizes, he has never been in this situation. How do mortal men walk on water and get to safety with a storm coming? All these thoughts must have rushed through his mind in a matter of seconds He wants to protect them both but his quick exhaustive list has run dry. There is nothing he can do so he cries out “Lord, save me”. And Jesus acknowledges his heart. He was the first out of the boat but he wants so much more for him. So much more to give him. Peace in the midst of the storm. Eyes trusting not on earthly things but trained to see past that to trust the Father in all things. Jesus admonishment was not about his faith out of the boat but his lack of faith that something bigger could change his focus. That his first thought was not trust in Him but trusting Peter’s abilities until Peter could not see a way they he himself could fix the situation. That he did not realize that Jesus would hold him through the storm, through the hard times, through the darkness of the unknown. That something as small as the wind would not take away from his care and protection.
Peter took his eyes off of what Jesus had for him. We all think that if we stepped out of that boat onto the water to walk, that we would be so in awe of God that we would have made it all the way. But how many times does God do a huge miracle in our life and then we turn around and have forgotten what He has done because the next crisis is on the horizon and our fear overcame our trust.
Thursday, July 23, 2015
I have been working on my book and I know I need to use this part some where. I don't think it is fitting with the book but I know the Lord had me write it. So enjoy and comment. Thank you all for your faithful encouragement too.
We all have a story to tell. We have a place where we found God so profoundly that we made Him not only our Savior but Lord of our life. The Bible talks about these profound moments. The scripture says in Revelation 12:10-11:
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters,
Who accuses them before our God day and night?
Has been hurled down.
11They triumphed over him
By the blood of the Lamb
And by the word of their testimony;
I know this to be true. Many of us hear someone else’s testimony and are encouraged. We can hold on stronger to our faith, we can take just one more step, we can confess and allow God to heal that brokenness and our strength is renewed. When someone tells their testimony with such honesty and truth it breaks the yoke that is upon us. It allows us to give our burden to the Lord in the light of what we know to be true about Him. It makes our burden lighter, easier to carry, easier to have faith in the road unseen. Sometimes the Lord uses that testimony in our life so we can see how loving and giving and easy it is for Him to love us and help us have more faith.
We also have a place where life changes our foundation, view, perception When that moment comes, it seems like we are facing head first into a hurricane . The waves are crashing on top of us and we can’t seem to catch our breath. All we know, all we are, all we seem to be unravels and we desperately seek to anchor our footing so we can have a solid hold on the things we have known. In that moment, inside the eye of the hurricane we don’t see the changes the water has made. The shifts of the sand beneath our feet. The way it moves the water around us and strengthens our stance as we place our feet on solid footing and weather the storm.
.In the midst of the storm we hear that still small voice. A whisper of truth to hold on. We struggle to grasp the grip of His hand, to hold on to our faith, our love and the Father who we know ultimately has it all in control. Finally we feel our hands in His, and the grasp is so strong we know without a shadow of doubt that He has us, in His grip
In those times doubt creeps in before you find that strong grip, that solid ground, you wonder if He knows the storm is raging. Much like the time Jesus was asleep in the boat and the Disciples shook him awake and asked “Lord Do you not see the waves crashing around us”? You know He is there, but[ the struggle to find Him while you are battling the wind, is hard. You see darkly in the midst of the trial and can’t seem to find solid ground. This storm might be the one [JG14] ravages us and leaves us in a heap with no energy to fight another day. This storm is raging may leave us all alone and gasping for air.
Have you been there? Maybe you have walked alone for so long that the only things you allow yourself to do is keep the smile pasted on, the hard things in your luggage compartment locked and closed, and the heart walled away so the pain can have a nice hiding place and maybe, just maybe there will not be another storm.
When we have been hurt or struggled so hard, I know how easy it is to close the pain off and not want to look at it again. To try and hold things at bay until the storm passes. I don’t deny wanting rest and restoration[ . But, I know that if we truly want to know God we must understand His heart for us. Seeing the wind for what it can create in our heart if we lean into the Father for strength, healing and hope. Then those raging waters will come and we can see the true things that lie in the dark in our hearts and bring light to them, truth. His desire for us and the love He has enveloped us in. David puts it best with
23Search me, God, and know my heart;
Test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24See if there is any offensive way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.
I am not sure where you are[, but my life faced one of the moments more than a few times. But, the year I faced death was one of the most profound. As I pen this book each day, I must face what I’ve written. The questions I] asked out loud to myself and to you, the reader. Every question, every doubt, and every dark moment I have painfully endured, do I have the faith to hold on? All those times I can say that “joy comes in the morning” and I finally found that faith. But the road is difficult and “the morning” represents time, and we need time to see all those things that give us peace, love, understanding, patience, kindness…the fruit of our relationship with the one who loves us more than we can ever comprehend.
Thursday, June 04, 2015
Sunday, November 30, 2014
I want to continue what I promised. Filling you in on the things I remember, the fight for life and the fight to hold on to the one thing I person I did know held me in His hands, God. So this is the next two weeks or so of my adventure.
The next night was when my poor husband was told I needed a heart valve replacement. My heart valve had a bacteria on it and endocarditis. The blood was just sloshing around in my heart and not going out very well. My body was still in organ failure along with a high fever that wasn't coming down and surgery was not possible until they could get the infection under control. My blood pressure was rising and falling so they were constantly pushing medicine to keep it going. They were going to transfer me to another hospital for the surgery but there was yet another problem. I didn't have insurance. I was always the one who was mostly healthy, no real problems. Insurance had to wait. Our budget was too small. So without insurance they had to find a hospital and surgeon willing to take my case. Thankfully, and again an answer to prayer, the cardiologist at my hospital had a surgeon friend at another hospital that was willing. Thank you, thank you, and thank you.
Again they didn't know if I would survive. They had given me medicine to put me in a deep sleep, almost a state of coma so that my body would heal but it was still fighting that infection. They wanted me awake for surgery so they took me off the medicine to wake me up, but I wouldn't wake up. When they received me at the new hospital and I wouldn't wake up for three days, the Doctor asked for a CT Scan to see if maybe I had a stroke. Evidently stroke victims like to sleep. When the scan came back, it definitely showed a stroke but it also showed that my brain was completely swollen. As my neurologist later told me “Your brain was like mashed potatoes!”
This was another huge setback. The Doctor again explained for the second time that I might not make it. He was going to re-do the scan in a couple of days and if the brain was healing then we would go from there, if the brain didn’t heal we were talking about a completely different scenario because that meant the brain was dying. I can’t even imagine what my family and friends were going through and down the roller coaster we went.
But God! They took the CT scan again in three days and it was not what anyone expected. The Doctor came to my husband to tell him my brain was completely healed. In three days it had completely healed itself. He exclaimed “I had nothing to do with that, only God”.
God had now done three huge miracles in two weeks’ time but was another one possible?
My brain was cleared, the fever was finally going down and my organs were working again except my heart. I needed a heart valve replacement. The surgeon called the Cardiologist. He wasn't sure if he even needed to do the surgery. My body was not ready to withstand the surgery and if I contracted an infection I would not make it through the event. The Cardiologist told him that either way the outcome would be the same, I would /could die. At least I had a small chance with the surgery and if I didn't survive, well, I wasn’t going to without the surgery.
If I were sitting on the other side of bed, I am not sure how I would feel. I am not sure if I would even have enough in me to ask God for one more miracle. My family and friends though stood vigil, they prayed, they held my husband’s hand, they held my daughter close to their heart. In the midst of all of this, my daughter was still in the hospital and my husband was going to both hospitals as much as he could. Thankfully she was finally released from her hospital in time for my surgery.
So, the day before my daughter’s eighteenth birthday that had so many other plans than being in a hospital, before all this happened, I had surgery. God was so gracious with His love and I made it through that surgery with flying colors and healing began. But there was so much healing to be done. My body was so weak. According the Doctors, I was Septic the week before I went to the hospital and the infection had been in my body for a long time. I had been sick a lot longer than I even knew.
The recovery was very hard. When I woke up, really woke up, I was back at the original hospital and that is when it started. The things I remember before my eyes and brain finally caught up with each other is foggy and dreamy. There are so few things I do remember but I do remember finally waking up because that was so hard. The reality of everything that happened came crashing on me like being caught in an undertow. People around me were praising God about all those miracles they had witnessed but my miracle started when I woke up.
When I first woke up, I could talk but I couldn't read. I could think but I couldn't move any muscle in my body. I could want things, ice, food and other things but I could do nothing for myself. I was completely paralyzed. I had so many questions. I was so scared. I didn't know how I would be and what God had planned but I held on to hope and determination.
And today we have come to a new crossroad. A crossroad of Faith, Hope and knowing…..facing the good, the bad and the best in relationships and in my own heart. Watching God again take my heart and forge a new path in it.
Thank you for listening, the next few weeks were terribly hard. Recovery was the toughest place for me and I want to take my time through that. So next time…we will laugh, cry and praise God for all that He is, He does, and the love He gives.
In His Loving Grip
Sunday, November 23, 2014
It is amazing to me to see the seasons go by, they seem to flow one into another. I enjoy them all but now we are heading into the Holiday Season. What a precious blessing this year is to me. We don’t always stop and think, “I might not be here next Thanksgiving so let me make sure this is taking care of”. The next big event. We are all human, we know life is going to go from one day to the next. But what if it didn’t? What would life be without you in it? What would your family be doing without you in it?
As I start the decorating, the cooking, the cleaning, these things float through my mind. But also, why am I still here? What difference does it make? The struggles are harder now, not easier. I have burdened my family more now than ever before. The mountain of bills, the constant help they have to give me, the things I can’t do without them….some days it is so overwhelming. There seems to be no end.
Now before you start down the road of “Oh my goodness” you have to know, things happen in your life and those thoughts float through your mind. We don’t talk about it, we don’t look at it long, but there are thoughts that we all keep close to our hearts that tug on our faith, our heart, and honestly at times our hope. But as those dark, heavy clouds start covering the sky, I personally cry out and ask the God of all things for the rainbow.
This is why I love seasons, the Holiday season is here! The rainbow J Things are slowing down, Olivia is off for Thanksgiving break, Dean is happily working, he is really enjoying his new job as Minister of Music and I get to take my time this year. This is the first time that I ever remember that I am not working. I get to take my time to cook and decorate. I have time to listen to my daughter.
She is growing into quite a young lady. It amazes me at what she endures and still is strong and loving and caring. This summer was quite hard on her and it has taken months for her to work through everything. I didn’t realize how much I impacted her life. How much she depended on me, or how much she truly loved me. But, I do now.
If this is the only reason God spared my life, it is worth it. On Friday, her last day of school, we were discussing things that had gone on at school. Things she wanted to talk about it. During the conversation she talks about this character she is developing in her book, how she finally believed God because she saw God heal this little girl. As she was regaling her story with all the drama I stopped and just looked at her. It occurred to me that she was talking about herself. The miracle that she was trying to talk about was the one about her Mom. So I just asked, “Is that story really about you and I?” She looked at me sheepishly at first but then bolder and said “yes”. Mom, I felt like you would be okay, but, when I had doubts I begged God to save you and He did. When you were getting better, I knew that God was big and was able. I knew then I could trust him with everything.
I just started crying. There are a lot of things that I was upset about, how many things that have gotten worse from all of this but at that moment it was all worth it. It was worth every minute for my child, if for no one else, had solidified her relationship with the Lord. I know that sounds a bit extreme but there is nothing in life as strong and solid as a relationship with the Lord. When life throws you for a loop, when you need the faith to move a mountain but you only have enough to get out of bed, when you lose all hope but hang on to God’s hand, when things are good and you know the reason why….this is the most important thing in life. Knowing God and knowing Grace. That is a thankful heart, one that knows those things that matter more than what we can see. Because Faith is what pleases God.