Praise the Lord for YouTube, because some stories are easier to tell than to write!😆
Here’s a link to watch my testimony and catch up on the last couple years of my story.
Praise the Lord for YouTube, because some stories are easier to tell than to write!😆
Here’s a link to watch my testimony and catch up on the last couple years of my story.
Hello, friends. It has been quite some time since we’ve visited, but I promise I’ve not forgotten about you! As you know, my life has changed rather drastically since we first met back in 2013. And to be totally honest (as I usually am), writing my heart has become somewhat difficult.
It’s been ages since the Lord has overwhelmed me with a message to share. Make no doubt, He still overwhelms me with His presence and direction in my life, but my Feels sometimes get in the way of my Skills.
But I’m pressing through all that today. I’m writing from a place of pain, once again. From a place I feel certain you want to hear nothing about. And yet, I feel Him giving me the grace, the strength to share anyway.
Two years ago today, my family lived through one of the darkest days we’ve ever known. No matter the calendar date, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving will forever be a marker of deep loss for us. We literally awoke to a brand new life, one we neither planned for nor expected. Sometimes, that’s just how it is.
And yet, God is still so good. He is the One who has held our hand and walked us step by step across the murky, boggy wilderness of grief, carrying us at times or pulling us out when we’ve gotten stuck. He has been so faithful. Gosh, I cannot even begin to recount the ways for you here. So good. So on-time. Every time. Even when my heart falls to the floor He is there, tenderly lifting me back up. His mercy truly is new every morning.
If you will, please pray for us today and anytime you think of us this week. God’s nearness and love is healing the hurt, but our hearts are still so fragile. We give thanks and praise to Him for each and every one of you who takes time to lift our names to His Throne. We will never be able to repay you for that.
And if I may, there’s one other thing I’d like to suggest. Love hard today.
Love your spouse, your kids, your parents, your in-laws and extended family. Love your friends and your enemies and the strangers along your way. You only have them for a time, so make that time count. Use the 24 hours you’re given to bring glory to God and to love people. All people. We’re all in need of the same love, grace and forgiveness.
Let’s make today count.
Have a happy Thanksgiving, too. I hope to meet you here again real soon.
“My help and glory are in God…so trust Him absolutely, people; lay your lives on the line for Him. God is a safe place to be.” ~Psalm 62:8 (The Message)
Easter and it’s egg-filled fun is over. Chocolate bunnies have lost their ears and marshmallow peeps have been demolished. Walmart is gearing up for The 4th while the rest of us are getting back into our usual weekly routine.
But as I clear away Easter baskets and boiled egg remains, I realize something. This Monday had to be anything but routine for the Disciples.
The Monday after Resurrection Sunday was only the beginning; a whole new life and adventure was unfolding for them. Jesus’ sudden and gruesome death was still fresh in the disciples’ minds. The shock and sorrow of watching Him suffer was a surreal moment they couldn’t stop reliving. But mostly, I imagine the buzz of rumors and gossip was all but a deafening roar.
Could He really be alive? Was this some cruel joke the Romans were playing? And what about the Mary’s and those who say they’ve seen Him? Are we all losing our minds?!
Having lost our earthly hero and leader, Momma and I feel somehow acquainted with Jesus’ earthly family and friends. Our loss has been so deep, it’s as if our minds can better process their loss; our hearts can utter their despair. We can almost close our eyes and imagine standing in their place…
Oh the incomprehensible shock, denial and physical illness they surely felt as they witnessed their loved one, their hero and supposed Savior, fall silent in unexpected death. The dream-like state they endured as they moved through the motions and events of that day.
This can’t be happening. He is our leader, our friend, our hope for tomorrow. Didn’t You give Him to us, God? How could You let this happen? Why are You taking Him? Why…?
Such a horrible day. So many tears. Shortness of breath. A gnawing, guttural ache. The realization that all their hopes and dreams and expectations have been dashed to pieces.
It really is finished. He’s in the grave. It’s over. What do we do now? How can we go on without him? How…?
The chaotic confusion that must have gripped their minds when they heard the rumors. While I can’t fathom someone telling me my daddy is alive, that they’ve actually seen him, I can imagine the simultaneous terror and ecstatic hope those words would elicit in my soul.
Could it really be? He’s back? We get him back?! This nightmare is over?! I must be going crazy– I saw him die! I watched him buried…but now the tomb is empty? That’s not possible! And yet, he’s not there…?
…On the days to follow
Oh, but then! The glorious fear that surely paralyzed their hearts as Jesus himself stood before them! Like the Mary’s who saw Jesus as they left the tomb, it would be the most joyful and terrifying moment of my life! (Matthew 28:8-10)
He is here! In the flesh! Alive!! I can’t breathe…How can this be?! I saw him die!! But it doesn’t matter because I see him NOW! HE IS HERE!!!
Oh what I would give to see Daddy on this Monday. To touch him, see him smile, hear him chuckle and tell me not to fear. And then to share a meal with him!
It’s mind-boggling, but these believers were able to do just that!! The Friend they saw tortured, they now could touch! The Teacher whose voice they knew, they could hear once more! The rumors were true; Jesus was alive–standing right in their midst!!
Yes, Easter and the following 40 days Jesus walked this earth now mean so much more than before.
It’s not just the start of springtime and eggs and new life. It’s not just the Sunday we all go to church to honor what Jesus did. It is The Day and weeks we stake our claim on. The season we find glorious joy in. It is no longer a past tense remembrance to move on from come Monday, but instead a very present reality to rejoice in every day! It is proof of all our hopes and dreams!
Because Jesus rose from the grave, my daddy will rise from the grave. And my baby brother. And my grandma. And my grandpa. And all of the friends and family I’ve lost who put their faith in Him. Those who knew Jesus’ salvation and trusted in His resurrection in this life WILL rise again. And I will, too!!
How can I live out my days and not make a big deal about that? How can I possibly overlook it for a chocolate bunny and jelly beans? How can any of us refuse this offer, this hope? Jesus. Is. ALIVE! He is NOT in the grave. We CAN believe this!
Oh friend, how I desperately hope you know Jesus. The alive, always-present, death-defying Jesus. He loves you so much. And that’s present-tense, too. He loves you NOW. Today. Monday. Just the way you are. He died for you while you were still a sinner. And even better, He conquered the grave for you before you ever believed it possible.
Yep, Momma and I agree: Easter is our favorite now.
Come December, you can bet your boots we’ll celebrate because the manger was full. But today, Monday, we live in awe because the tomb is empty.
“But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died. So you see, just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man. Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life. But there is an order to this resurrection: Christ was raised as the first of the harvest; then all who belong to Christ will be raised when he comes back.”
1 Corinthians 15:20-23 NLT
“Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?””
John 11:25-26 NLT
When I wrote this, I had no idea how important this super-power would become or how desperately I would need it in the coming days. A LOT about our world changed just 8 months later. I’m so thankful the Lord granted me the ability to freeze a few of those moments in my mind and heart.❤
Faster than a speeding bullet, the years come and go.
My little man is 3 today.
And oh how we have entered the super hero phase of boyhood! With the swirl of his cape he’s off to fight the bad guys lurking under the bed.
“Don’t worry, Momma, I get them! Suuu-per Cole!!!!”
For the past few days we’ve been gearing up for a Super Hero birthday party, so the spirit of Heroism is definitely in the air.
Sitting at the kitchen table surrounded by capes and masks and super power cuffs, my daughter asked, “Momma, if you were a super hero, what would your super power be?”
If I were a super hero? Hmmm…
I had to think about it. Choosing a super power is not a decision to take lightly.
I mean, there’s flying. X-ray vision. Being invisible. Having the strength of 100 men. Moving faster than the…
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“Jesus said, ‘He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much…’” ~ Luke 16:10 (NASB)
“Make it BIG, Momma!” my two-and-a-half year old shouts. He LOVES balloons and regularly asks me to blow one up for him. As the balloon stretches, so does his smile. “Make it BIGGER!”
I like to do things big.
Never half-way, always full-out, I firmly believe anything worth doing is worth doing well. I’m a classic First-Born, Type-A, Overachiever. The Hostess in me LOVES birthday parties, holiday get-togethers and church events. Just ask Stevie-P or Momma; they usually get roped-in to helping me.
Hospitality has long been one of my Spiritual Gifts, but sometimes I take it to extremes. It’s like a giant teddy bear on Valentine’s Day; the bigger I make it the more obvious my love. But God is showing me it’s The Little Things that are the biggest to Him
.…A note of encouragement and a $2 bill
.…Caring for stray animals on a cold night
.…A hot shower
.…Balloons for a 2 year old—or a 68 year old.
Nothing big. Nothing planned. Just little things that happen to happen.
I’ve been challenged by books and blogs urging me to Do Life Big. Go the extra mile. Look for The Need and take bold steps to meet it. And I’ve taken that to heart. The Lord has even helped me do some of those things and I am thankful.
But I’m realizing, sometimes on my quest to obey and do The Big, I miss the impact of The Little. I get so busy planning and executing The Big, I forget The Little Things matter just as much, maybe even more, because The Little Things happen every day.
My availability for The Little is just as important as my commitment to The Big.
The way I respond to The Little tells more about my heart than the way I host The Big.
I don’t always have to Do Life Big in order to be doing life big. That same little boy is also ecstatic when I wash his Ninja Turtle jammies. Pulling them from a warm heap he smiles, “D’you wash ‘dese for me?! Yay!!! T’anks, Momma!”
It’s The Little Things that prepare my heart for The Big.
God is Big and He is in everything. The way I love my people, care for animals or open my home and plans, He uses all these Little Things in Big ways. In fact, He rejoices in them, even more than a two-year-old with a balloon and clean jammies.
“Do not despise this small beginning, for the eyes of The Lord rejoice to see the work begin…” ~ Zechariah 4:10 (TLB)
Take a minute and think about some of the things you do every day, even routine tasks. What Little Things are you overlooking the Big impact of?
Source: The Little Things
2016 has let me in on the biggest secret of life: I now know how to be prepared for anything.
I’m a Planner. (No shock, I know.) I like to plan and prepare and organize… and control. Sure, I claim to know I’m not in control, but my actions tell a different story.
I’m also a mom, so everything I seek to do is based around a central theme of comfort and convenience. Is it safe? Is it a good decision for us? Will it meet our needs? Will it bring stability? “I just want to make wise decisions,” I say, but ultimately it really doesn’t matter if I have answers to those questions or not. My wisdom only affects so much.
Life has a way of happening, regardless.
I can plan and prepare and save, but in the end my efforts have zero control over what happens. Yes, my preparations may ease a few tensions along the way, but they will not stop those tensions from arising. Life will still happen.
Unforeseen events are just that– Unforeseen. Even if I’m the world’s greatest planner or prepper, I have no way of knowing exactly what to plan or prep for.
A hardworking, active daddy could fall asleep peacefully and not wake up. A healthy young husband could have a life-threatening heart attack relaxing in his recliner. An honest businessman could show up for his secure job only to be told it’s no longer his. Life insurance policies can fall through. Unknown taxes can arise. Successful businesses can take a deadly downward turn.
No warnings. No prepping. No control. This life is not ours.
I know I sound like Negative Nancy but that’s truly not my intent. Just learning to accept my newfound freedom. I’m finally free from keeping all the balls in the air because I finally see that I can’t, even if I try! And when I insist on planning and fretting for control, I’m only torturing myself.
I’m done torturing myself.
God gets to be God. He alone sees the parade simultaneously from all vantage points: He’s at the start, while watching from the sidewalk midway through, while standing at the end and hovering above in a helicopter. He sees every float from every view in real time. I can only see what passes in front of me as I look through a tiny hole in the fence.
And that’s all I need to see. It’s all I really want to see. Life as it unfolds. I don’t need to have all the answers and solutions in place because He does. I don’t have to worry how I will handle “X” situation because it may never happen anyway. And if it does, I now know He will give me the strength and wisdom and answers and provision I need when I need them. Not before.
Therein lies the secret.
There is only thing I have to do in order to be prepared for anything: I must be faithful to Jesus. And not just on Sundays. I have to actually read His words–daily. I have to talk to Him every day–really talk to Him. And I have to listen for Him every day–like, actually focus on hearing from Him. Then I have to love Him by showing love to others–I have to live it. I have to put my efforts into Him, not my earthly work and planning.
Time with Jesus is the only preparation for whatever life will throw at me and here’s why:
I may not know what tomorrow holds, but I know Who holds tomorrow.
If I know Him, I know His presence. If I know His presence, I know His peace. I know His power and position of authority to help me.
And ironically, I am the only one who controls how well I know Him.
So, 2016 has taught me to throw in the towel when it comes to controlling my circumstances and outcomes. I’ll spend my time instead throwing myself into Jesus’ presence, waiting for His strength, resting in His provision and enjoying His peace.
And He will prepare me for the Parade of 2017.
“We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.”
2 Corinthians 4:7 NLT
P.S. Momma has long known this secret and has kept this saying on display for as long as I can remember. Wish I could’ve gotten its message sooner.
God must have shook His head when I wrote this 3 years ago. Not because it’s wrong, but because I had NO idea just how messy life was about to get. Even the family and friends I mentioned in this post have seen their messes grow exponentially messier over the past 3 years. Has yours?
If your life is feeling messy this Christmas, I pray you feel the hope in these words and it becomes your own. I can attest to the dark, messy moments of sorrow and fear, but I can also say that’s where I see Him the clearest. He is Emmanuel–God with us in our mess.
Ever feel like your life is a mess?
Does regret over poor choices or wrong turns leave you fearing life will never become what it was meant to be? Has the grief of loss left you hopeless, feeling life will never return to what it once was? Maybe you despair over the parts of life that were and are out of your control, reinforcing the idea that for you, life is simply unfair.
A Mess. Relationally. Financially. Emotionally. Spiritually. Just a Big. Fat. Mess. Well friend, I have good news for you: God loves The Mess.
God loves The Mess because it gives Him room to work. It creates space for Him in our lives. It is His stomping ground and where we are guaranteed to find Him. We live with this false assumption that He prefers to dwell among the perfect, pristine, unblemished life, like the air brushed images…
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