A Few of My Favorite Things

  • God and all that goes with Him
  • Time Spent With Family
  • Bedtime Prayers
  • Family/Group Hugs
  • The Beach
  • Good Friends
  • Good Music
  • Laughter

Monday, January 15, 2018

A Righteous Legacy


I find it interesting how our heavenly Father uses the things in our lives to remind us of His will for our lives. This Fall, I was involved in two Bible studies: one online with a study partner at church and the other was our Sunday morning ladies' Bible class. At times these two studies overlapped and in so doing enriched my life and changed the way I look at the world and how I make decisions. It's been twenty years since a drunk driver killed one of my sisters and a cousin. They are gone, but their legacy lives on.

I was invited to a surprise party for a dear friend of mine in November...she wouldn't be a part of my life without Jenny. I listened to a room full of women excitedly awaiting the arrival of our friend: "she's such an encourager," "she gives the best hugs," and "she gives great advice". During that party, my friend shared that it was my sister who shared the gospel with her in college. In that room were four terrific teens, a group of young mamas, and a few of us "older ladies," all of us being encouraged and loved in a special way because my sister wasn't afraid to share the gospel. All I could think about was I hope that I leave that kind of legacy one day.

I have a precious family that I don't see as often as I would like, but when we all get together the time is not wasted. We've learned to say the hard things and fix what can be mended. Say I love you often, give hugs and sit back and soak up the joy of just being together. We've lost other family members since the kids died, but the urgency not to waste time is their legacy. I want to leave that kind of desire behind.

Taking the time to be silly and make someone laugh is also a blessing that they left us. Those two could fuss and get royally irritated at each other but forgave quickly. I wish they were here to talk to about the things my heart finds so hard to share with but a few others. My cousin helped me see how guys think, and my sister was there to bounce ideas off of for devotionals and Bible classes. I miss them and what they brought to my life but their legacy lives on in our friends and family.

It is with joy that I can look to the future, because I know I will see them again. It is with renewed determination that I look at each day to find ways to share the gospel with those whom I come in contact. It's with boldness and Godly fear that I choose to say the hard things sometimes in hopes of saving a soul or just doing what is right. All of that is their legacy, and it can also be mine and yours.

Jeremiah 29: 11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Nineteen Years of Head Pain

As of 5:00 pm yesterday, I have officially been dealing with migraine pain every minute of every day for the last 19 years. Some anniversaries we'd love to do without. There are those days that forever change our lives. Yesterday all those years ago, had been a typical day at school, and we were getting ready to go to church for a meeting. Until then I'd had headaches but I had never experienced that kind of pain. It was the beginning of a search for relief that to some degree still continues today. The part of myself that could make long-range plans, enjoy screaming on roller coasters, and having the energy to do what I wanted...that part of me is gone. In return, I have more compassion for others who are struggling. I understand more than ever that it's God who gets me up each day and it's his promises that have kept me here. Depression is real and at times no matter how much you want to choose to be happy you can't. (It's this point you want to tell someone close to you exactly what you're thinking along with telling your doctor how you feel. Many of the drugs used to treat a migraine also treat depression,) Don't wait until you have all those meds lined up in front of you before sharing the struggle. You don't have to walk this path alone.
During those 19 years, I've dealt with some scary side effects along with blessings. I can be thankful for the migraine because it lead us to adopting our son. I've learned how to use relaxation exercises to keep me out of the ER. I've learned the value of combining traditional medicine with acupuncture, oils, etc. I learned early to research for myself the latest treatments for chronic migraine. I learned which doctors to keep and which to steer clear of.
I don't give advice on migraines unless asked because, by the time you've made a trip out of state and stayed in an inpatient treatment program, you come home knowing more than your local neurologist (unless they are a headache specialist). My longest hospitalization was right at a month in Michigan, I've also had many one week to three week stays at the Diamond Headache Clinic in Chicago.
Just a little more than 2 years ago, we began the process of learning to live with the neurostimulator implant. (Most pain docs are used to seeing these used in the treatment of backpain, so finding someone willing to work with us now that I'm wired for sound was a challenge and a blessing in itself.) The implant has made a big difference, I can now look at the world without the constant need for sunglasses, and though the pain is ever present it no longer puts me to bed for weeks at a time.
The best advice I can give is to find the headache guru in your area, be willing to give new treatment plans a try....even when it's a list of what to eliminate from your diet. Be kind to yourself and explain life with a chronic migraine to friends and family. There are some wonderful resources out there now that were not available even 5 years ago. Find a support group...you need someone who listens to the bad days but who will also encourage you to keep moving forward. Finding a circle of folks who deal with chronic pain of any type and create a prayer group has been just as important as the right treatment program.Nights are long and days filled with beautiful sunshine can sometimes make you feel like a vampire ready to burst into flames. Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Let it be your mantra. Spend time in Job...sometimes you'll see well-meaning friends among the friends of Job. Study the life of Paul, find the scriptures that you can repeat over and over again inside your head.
If you need an ear or a prayer, please feel free to reach out. I'm praying for all of us today that our Father will give us the strength to deal with chronic pain and that He will send us people who can help as we travel this journey.

Friday, July 14, 2017

To See The Sea

The land I live in is filled with ups and downs; I long for something more. This place is dark, and it is lonely, yet it leads me to a shore. The man I see is waiting for me with an offer I can't ignore. In this land I live in, he's provided helpers, and they promise he's the answer to the pain and sorrows here. They've told me that he's special, that he's a protector from the storm.

He waits for me with love and patience; I have only to reach out my hand. He stands beside a sea that he can walk on, I can see the love he has for me, he knows my every need. I look out across the water, sometimes it's gentle, at times it rages, but he has the power to walk on waves, and promises to walk along beside me. He holds onto a boat named Grace, invites me to come aboard. Do I have faith to board sweet Grace, and am I willing to row across the water? The Sea of Salvation flows to new shores, but I can hear the howling of the wind. It scares me, but the man says watch and understand.

He tells the winds to be quiet; the waves are still again. I look again out at the Sea, and then back to the boat. Once again the man reaches out his hand, and I reach out my own. What kind of land will I be rowing towards? Why should I leave this shore? With a gentle smile and loving tone, he answers, "It is my home. A place where there are no tears, no pain is ever known. Oh, the singing there is beautiful, and our father, who loves you. You see he sent me here across the storm filled sea.The sea now does my bidding, the winds I now control. All you must do to get there is keep rowing for the shore. The winds will come, and the waves toss high, but you'll never be alone. For I can walk upon the Sea, all you'll have to do is call."

I considered all the man had said and I stepped into the boat. I picked up the oars to row but hesitated still. I wondered what would happen if the storms about me raged, and I could no longer see the man who would push me out to Sea. "Dear one", said the man, "You worry over nothing, for there may be times I don't calm the storm, but I'll be with you to endure. If by some chance you lose hope and are tossed into the sea, all you have to do is ask for help, and I'll be there to rescue you. I'll be there to anchor the boat as you board her once again. You'll find yourself still closer to the shore you've made your goal."

With questions answered and safely aboard Grace, I began to row. Across the Sea of Salvation to the shore of Paradise, I set my course to go. The man who waited by the shore was there on good days and bad. Sometimes I work to stay afloat, the winds toss me about, but all I have to do is call for help. The man hears my cries and answers, strengthens my arms as I row on. I'm sailing on toward a distant shore, but when the rowing is done. I know the shore on which I'll land is a bright and shining home. A place to rest my weary head, no pain or sorrow there. A place where only joy and peace are forever found.

Monday, July 3, 2017

A Time to Meet Christ

The following is a little different from what I usually share but it has been tugging at my heart for two years.

She stood on the edges of the crowd, she just needed to see for herself surely the boy who grew up in Nazareth that the little old ladies talked about being born "early" wasn't the man who drew a crowd no matter where He went. It couldn't be Mary's son that was causing so much talk.
Yet, there before her eyes was the Man who had the same eyes and strong hands she remembered from His working with Joseph. She kept thinking I'm not brave enough to approach Him.
The more she listened, the more hopeful she became. Jesus took care of the sick, He touched those who were unclean. Yet deep down she didn't feel worthy to even be in the crowd with Him. She knew the drill... pray, have faith, and the pain will stop. The emotional pain, the physical pain that woke her in the dark hour before dawn, all those things together must mean she's not worthy of His grace.
But wait, He just caused a blind beggar to see...He spoke to a Roman soldier, and from across the crowd, she could see them smile and leave.
She'd spent so many days following and listening. She knew the names of others who stood on the fringe, the ones like her who wanted to hear every word, the yet couldn't grasp that God could love someone so small, so full of sin. Yet the night had been a long one, filled with hurt, confusion, and anger. She knew that this was her moment to break loose from sinfulness to living a life with real meaning. It was amazing to look him in the eyes and recognize He already knew everything that she needed from Him. She just had to say it out loud and know that she didn't have to carry the pain alone. The Man who stood before her now spoke of His yoke being easy and the burden He asked her to bear being light. She thought about the pain filled night and His promise that one day He could give her a home where the son shine was always bright, there would be no tears, and the streets would be made of gold. So the woman who had been on the fringe of the crowd weaved through the vast numbers and reached out Her hand.
It was with a little fear and a lot of hope that she touched just the hem of His garment...so many were doing just as she was. The joy came when she lifted her eyes and looked into the eyes of Mary's son who she now knew was the Messiah who had been promised. The gentleness and love looking back at her made her weep and want to sing all at once. He continued teaching, as she moved so another could get close enough to find healing too. He didn't just heal the physical pain, but He healed all those broken pieces of her heart. She was ready now to live for the promises He taught, and she shared with all who would listen about how the Teacher had transformed her life.

Today, God has given us the Bible. He has provided us with the way to reach Him. It is my hope that this fictional story will make you long for the personal relationship with Christ that comes from reading His word and obeying it. By reading the Gospels and the book Acts, we can all see who Christ is and what He wants for our lives. The way to salvation has not changed since the first gospel sermon given in Acts 2. May God bless us all as we strive to live our lives for Him.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Times of Tough Spots


During the tough spots of our life, we either end up losing more than we ever thought possible or we slowly find our way through faith and grace a new level of hope that we never dreamed was possible. It's those times we are hurting emotionally, physically, or both that we get to choose to stay stuck in the middle of the yucky, lost place we're in, or we can deal with the hurt and find out that God has worked in our hearts another level of hope, love, and compassion. Sometimes it doesn't take us long to decide, but there are times when it takes long sleepless nights, days spent feeling sorry for ourselves, and time spent examining our hearts under the microscope of what we think is fair or unfair. It can feel as if every breath we draw and every decision made is a battle waged against the devil. He is the deceiver. He wants us to look at what we're dealing with and see an unloving God who plays games with our lives or A God who no longer cares or sees us hurting and fighting. It's been a rough season for me. My heart breaks with those who have lost loved ones, friends who are dealing with chronic pain, and watching those I love walk their own roads of suffering. It's when we are trying so hard to please the Father, yet we continue to encounter road blocks at every turn. I don't have the answers, but I know the One who loves me enough that He suffers right beside me. He cares so much more than I can begin to fathom the depth of that love and grace. So this morning, I'm pushing to see the beauty and growth that comes with suffering.It's the tough times that are used to bring us a deeper capacity for caring and loving. It's those times that help us see that this world is not our home. It's those times that help us see the Sonshine and walk in the warm rays of God's love and grace.
Romans 5: 1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Monday, April 25, 2016

A Time to be a Princess

I've been thinking, scary right, about a chat with a friend from Canada whose view on princesses is a little different than the typical American's view. She told me once that it's not unusual for them to see royalty at work. Think about how much is done by England's queen. The royal family are ambassadors they work. I'm the daughter of the King.

Romans 8:15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

If I am the daughter of the King then I've been given a job to do. If I am co-heirs with Christ,the perfect son, then why should I not expect to suffer along the way. I'm not talking about playing the role of martyr. I'm talking about walking in the footsteps of the son. His life on this earth was not an easy one. He worked in Joseph's Carpentry shop, Joseph died before Jesus was 30. The one who spoke the world into existence worked hard, suffered the loss of his dad, and dealt with all the drama that comes from being the oldest in a family with many brothers and sisters.,,,(this was the easy part). The one who had lived in Heaven's splendor came and walked among us. He had a vision and a plan for how He wanted things to go, yet he mourned over the city of Jerusalem and the sin that had taken over the chosen. He then dealt with the verbal abuse of those he taught who rejected him, he delt with overwhelming crowds and those who just wanted to get close enough to touch the hem of his garment, he was betrayed by one of those closest to him, he was beaten, suffered the pain and humiliation of the cross. Yet he came and stayed and fought for us. He died a painful death for me and you. Without his hard work, there would be no grace for us, no salvation. Praise God, he arose on the 3rd day and was seen among the people and made a promise to return.
We are given a promise that if we do his will and follow his footsteps, we will see glory.'

So here's my point, If someone doesn't like me for my faith then I'm in good company.If I suffer the loss of a loved one while on this earth, Christ has been there too and I am not alone. When the troubles of this world bring me to my knees and a friend betrays my trust or disappoints me, Christ has felt those emotions too. My job here on this earth is to live as closely as I possibly can to be who God wants me to be, to share his love, to be the one who lives a life of truth to shine his light with his message by my daily walk so that it is obvious that I'm the daughter of the King. I'm a princess who is an ambassador that shares the love of the Father and His plan for eternity. Then I can know that at the end I'll get to sing at the foot of the King for eternity. I know when the labor of this world is done I have a home...much better than anything I could imagine.

Praying we all will be who God wants us to be.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Faith

Faith
I know that God is good.
I see His grace and love in the sunrise, the birds' song, a child's trusting face.
I know He is in control and faith leaves no room for doubt.

I also see the pain and hurt, the loneliness and shame.
For sin took a perfect world and brought with it death and trouble.
Sin changed man with its promises of power and knowledge.
It left behind a broken world in need of a perfect Savior.
For sin is what brings suffering and God who is always good brought us salvation's glory.

In the quiet of the pain filled nights, my heart wonders why me.
It questions how God who is good could allow all this to happen.
I look at where I am today and know my Savior lives.
For even in the darkest times, His light shines up ahead.
I'm not alone even when I feel like I am, my God is holding me.
His Spirit lives within my heart and brings me hope and love and joy and peace.

So when my soul begins to wonder why, I look back to Calvary's mountain.
I see the mighty Son of God his arms stretched out on the cross held not by the nails but perfect love.
The King who left heaven's glory to pay the debt my sins had wrought.
He was brought from God's presence to a world filled with pain from eternal love to hate.
If my Savior could suffer such cruelty for me and do it all alone then I can walk the road of pain with faith that doesn't doubt for God has promised an eternal life without pain and tears and death.