Archive | November, 2013

Step Off the Edge and Into Love

21 Nov

The birthday of a sweet little friend is quickly coming up.  She will be celebrating four years of full on, love-out-loud, beautiful life—four years of miracle living.

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addy3Four years that were anything but a certainty on the day she arrived. This was the news given to the world the day Addy Josie made her debut.

  • November 30, 2009 (fb status)
    • Addyson Josie ///////  born at 7:42am, 8lbs 11oz. having some troubles breathing but stable. need lots of prayers for her.

Her introduction to planet earth was a little bumpy and the ride did not get any smoother over the coming days.  What seemed to be “some breathing trouble” initially, quickly escalated to a fight for every breath and a circulatory system that would not cooperate.  Miss Addy was transferred to a larger hospital and took up residence in the NICU.

  • November 30, 2009 (fb status)
    • Addyson is on her way to /////////// in ///////////, having troubles breathing. Hopefully I will be released tomorrow to go down and see her.

See the last sentence of that update – Momma had to stay behind.  Imagine the ache of that goodbye to her baby girl.  All the fear that could have flooded her heart.  All the worry that could have overtaken her.  All the sorrow that might have washed over her.  I honestly don’t know where her mind went that afternoon but I know it was hard on her.  The pain of it was all over her face when I visited her that afternoon.  She didn’t share what she was thinking but I know she did some business with her Father in Heaven and I know she came out with a quiet resolve and a determined peace.  She chose not to shrink back but rather to call out every prayer warrior willing to do battle and to trust Him for the outcome.  And regardless of the news of the day, that’s where she stayed.  Firmly planted in Him and counting on His people.

  • December 3, 2009 (fb status)
    • Back over to the NICU Addyson is stable, we are waiting for her little body to correct it’s circulatory system. This could take days to weeks depending on her body. She needs prayers for healing, I’ll keep trying to post updates on here. Thanks everyone for the support and prayers.

So Momma and Daddy gazed at their baby girl in her isolet, unable to hold her, but absolutely willing their sweet baby girl to breath with everything in them.  I can’t say what went through Daddy’s heart because men don’t tend to give voice to much in those situations.  But Addy’s Momma rolled 1 Peter 5:7 through her heart over and over again as she sat, watched, and prayed over her little girl.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

1 Peter 5:7 (NIV,1984)

Here at home we answered the call.  We prayed over that little girl.  We fasted for that child.  We linked arms in the heavenlies and humbled ourselves before God asking for a miracle.  We reminded ourselves that the child we were praying for was loved by Him far more than we could imagine and that she had an angel that was always gazing into the face of the Father.  His thoughts are most certainly higher than ours and His ways beyond our understanding, but we knew without a doubt that no matter the outcome His attention and His affection were on that baby girl.

addy 1day

 “For I tell you that their angels in heaven

always see the face of my Father in heaven.

Matthew 18:10 (NIV,1984)

Little Miss Addy surrounded by love and enveloped in prayer—quite a beginning. (And it strikes me as I type those words that I’ve never praised as hard for a single healthy life as I prayed for the one who was in danger.  That’s some food for thought on my part.) Prayers were said all around the country for Addy Jo–people from Michigan to Florida, lifting this little one before the Throne—with Momma leading the charge.  She desired healing for her baby and she had her eyes fixed on the Healer.

  • December  3, 2009 (fb status)
    • Addyson’s labs are looking excellent, praise the Lord for answered Prayers. we are still a long way. thanks everyone for the prayers and support. Keep them coming
  • December 5, 2009 (fb status)
    • so the Doctors made rounds this morning and believe that Addyson has rounded the corner and is ready to be taken off the vent. This is done slowly over the next 24 to 48 hours. Prayers that she tolerates it and will be off by Monday!!! I am so excited to get to hold that little girl!
  • December 6, 2009 (fb status)
    • So another great night and morning. Plans are to have Addy off the vent this afternoon and have the central line out tomorrow. So that means that I might get to hold that little girl tomorrow!!!!! God is a miracle worker, he heard our prayers and has answered!  

The praise and prayers of a Momma’s heart.  The want to hold her baby girl and give the love she had been whispering to that little heart tangible, physical presence.  She had arms of love –wide open– waiting to pull her little one close.

  • December 6, 2009 (fb status)

I finally got to hold Her ! Hooray ! PRaise GoD !

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“I will praise the LORD all my life;

I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.

Psalm 146:2

  • December 6, 2009 (fb status)
    • As you can see by the pictures. The Vent is out, I got to give her a bath and hold her today! What an awesome day! “I will praise the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. Psalms 146:2

The battle that raged over Addy Jo was fierce.  Momma, Daddy, and every warrior who answered the call fought with tenacity and perseverance.  But little Miss Addy, did not worry for a single moment.  She did not fret or stew.  She just kept inhaling and exhaling.  Fighting the good fight with the tools she had been given.  Moving from one moment to the next.  At rest, right where God had placed her.

addyeyesaddytubesADDYHAT

And God, who does not change, performed a miracle that we could recognize.  No matter what the outcome would have been God would have brought beauty from it, but in this instance, even my limited human vision could see and comprehend His Goodness.

There are times in my life when I have to believe what I know to be true over what my eyes see and my heart perceives to be the circumstance.  Just like you, I’ve walked through times that didn’t seem beautiful to me. Times when I don’t recognize the miracle.  I know it’s there because I know the heart of my God is Unfailing Love.  But, I fully confess that there must be some uncovered, unbelieving places in my heart that won’t grab hold of that truth. If there wasn’t I would just keep inhaling and exhaling, moving from one moment to the next, fighting the good fight with the tools I have, and be at rest right where God has placed me – even when I don’t comprehend my circumstances.

The verse Addy’s Momma claimed as her own, 1 Peter 5:7, reads like this from the Message:

Live carefree before God; He is most careful with you.  1 Peter 5:7 (MSG)

Carefree living.  Inhaling and Exhaling.  Moment to moment.  At rest, right where He has placed you.  Oh Sweet One, The I AM is MOST CAREFUL WITH YOU.  And with me.  It is why we can be free of the cares of this world.  His care and His Love are our assurance of the miracle.  And while I would love for both of us to recognize it every time, to always comprehend the miracle in the midst of life, I just don’t think it’s possible this side of Glory.  You know all too well that life on planet earth is not for the faint of heart.  Storms gather above our heads and rain falls on each and every one of us.  We stand at the edge of our circumstances and we peer down, unable to see the outcome.  Uncertain of the beauty. Unable to comprehend the goodness.

But what if, as we leaned over the edge of the unknown,  we inhaled and we exhaled, and we called to mind the things we know?

  • November 29, 2010 (fb status)
    • Tomorrow is Addy’s 1st Birthday!! The miracle Baby is a year old, I cannot believe it!!! Praise the Lord for this little ray of sunshine !!!
  • December 1, 2010 (fb status) 
    • I am still celebrating little Miss Addy Today as well. Last year at this time, was the biggest hurdle our family has had to endure together. With the GRACE of God He healed Addy’s little body. I believe in Miracles.. I sure do.
  • November 30, 2011 (fb status)
    • Today is Addyson’s 2nd Birthday!! HaPpY BiRtHdAy to my Miracle Baby!! Not one day goes by where I don’t thank the Lord for that little girl! He preformed Miracles right in front of my eyes at /////// NICU.. I am so thankful we get the chance to see her grown and raise her! Sooo let’s Celebrate! Happy Birthday!!
  • November 30, 2012 (fb status)
    • Happy Birthday to Miss Addy Jo! Today she turns 3!! My little miracle baby is thriving and such a blessing to her family & friends! The way she came into this world helps me to remember daily God could of took her but knew I needed to watch my little one grow, I thank Him everyday for trusting me to raise her up to serve Him. So HAPPY BIRTHDAY ADDYSON JOSIE!

Sister, we have no idea of the battle raging over us.  We don’t possess the eyes to fully see our circumstance.  But if we will open our hearts just a little wider, if we will fix our eyes on the Healer, we will see Him.  His feet are firmly planted and His arms are opened wide.  His attention and His affection are resolutely fixed on you.

He will NOT waiver in His Love. 

He will NOT fail you. 

He will NOT let you fall. 

Girlfriend, step off the edge of your circumstances – He is Faithful. You may not know the outcome but you Know the One who does.  Take the leap of faith.  Believe Him to be who He says He is.  Trust Him to be who He always has been and know, without a doubt, that when you jump the Arms of Love are waiting . . . just for you.

nofear

♥ Happy Birthday Addy Josie ♥

Grab a Hard Hat Sister . . . The Walls are Tumbling Down!

9 Nov

Why do you think it might be that we can be zipping right along in life feeling as if we couldn’t get any closer to the Spirit without going Home and then . . . . wham!  A nasty brick wall rises up in front of us, seemingly out of nowhere.   We hit that thing so hard that we aren’t certain we’ll ever get up.   Our heads spin and we can feel blood seeping from an open wound or two.   We hear one side of our brain screaming, “Get up, we need some help!” and the other part is shouting just as loudly “Stay down. Nurse those wounds alone.”  And you find yourself in the middle of mind commotion that is all too familiar.

Why is it “all too familiar”?  Because that nasty brick wall did not come from nowhere.  If we’re honest—willing to look closely, willing to really gaze upon the thing–I’m betting we’ll find that that wall was carefully crafted by our own heart.  Constructed one brick at a time in all manner of circumstances, with all kinds of reactions and emotions.

No matter how early in life we accepted Christ we still had time to build that wall and it’s possible that the construction continued well into our faith walk.  I know for myself, I carried my wall building patterns right into my life as a Christian and it took years to tear down those barriers.  Even now, after 17 years of full out acceptance of the Truth, I still find my heart tempted to reach for a brick when I feel hurt and vulnerable.

Think about it for a moment.  Where does that brick wall spring from?  Fear of rejection?  Fear of exclusion?  Fear of loneliness? Fear of ____________?  Where might the building process have begun?

Maybe these ugly threats lived in your home.  Home should be where unconditional love thrives in every circumstance but maybe instead, you found that acceptance and tenderness were very conditional.  Withdrawn at the smallest infraction; restored when some measure of favor returned.   And you left that home of unpredictable affection with your bricks in place, only to find that the world was no different.

Perhaps you experienced these things in your school days.  Left out, left behind, disregarded . . . yet, you had some notion that when you left that environment those challenges would fall by the wayside.  Only to enter into adulthood and find that kids aren’t the only ones who are thoughtless and unkind.  And with certainty you reinforce each row in your growing barricade.

So we walled ourselves in and walled others out—sometimes purposefully and other times reactively.  brickmortarOne brick at a time – no one can hurt us because no one can get near us.  And we used the slights, hurts, and fears of this world as mortar to hold our wall together and convince ourselves that the pain of self-imposed isolation was far preferable to the pain on the other side.  Self-protection is a powerful motivator.

It might be, as much as it pains me to write it, that you have encountered these same unloving circumstances inside the Church.  The one place you were certain would be your safe haven was not.  The place was filled with imperfect people who acted from their imperfection.  They slighted you.  They excluded you.  They hurt you.  They gave you reason to keep those walls you so carefully fashioned standing tall.

And although the preceding words were painful, the ones that follow sear my heart more deeply than any other I will write in this post:  I might have been the one.  I might have been the one to make you feel excluded.  I might have been the one to slight you and leave you behind.  I might have been the one who made you feel less-than and unworthy.  The one who placed the brick in your hand and pushed you to build your fortress even higher.

I know without a doubt there were times when my actions told my child that she did not deserve my affection.  I am certain that I hurt others on many occasions by acting as if they didn’t belong.  And I know that the imperfect actions of this imperfect woman kept the Church from being the safe Haven Christ died to make it.  I wish those statements weren’t accurate, but they are. And Beloved, please don’t be offended, but might it be that you have been a brick provider on an occasion or two as well?

The truth of it is, no matter whom you encounter or where, you can be certain that they have been busy with their own bricks.  They have diligently constructed their walls based on their own experiences and the imperfect actions of imperfect people have made their structures strong.    So when you do life together, no matter where it is, the place is crowded.  You, them, and everyone’s collective bricks all fighting for the same space.

The irony of it is that we want to be together.  We want to do life side-by-side.  The walls we have created are not supposed to be there.  I say that so confidently because it’s the way God designed us.  We were meant to be in fellowship with one another.

He intended that my desire to follow Him would lead to my refining and I would be the deliverer of fewer and fewer bricks–I will sin less and less if I am abiding in Him. He desires for you to leave your fear behind, step out and follow Him.  He wants us to stop relying on our walls to protect us and to begin depending on His heart.

I constructed the walls of separation—not God.

I have put every brick in place—not God.

But here’s the beautiful thing, I am not clever enough, smart enough or strong enough to build a wall that will stand in the face of LOVE.  Girlfriend, neither are you.  God Himself has declared our freedom from fear –His Perfect Love Drives It Out. God Himself has opened the Door –step out and follow Love. Sweet One, you ask your Savior to set you free, you believe that He will make the way, and then you lace up your demolition boots and pull your hard hat down tight – because the walls are about to fall!

God is Dynamite

Beautifully Wrapped and Lavishly Loved . . . You are a Gift!

2 Nov

youaregift

The last blog post was about Remembering our Miracles.  Not losing sight of the Gifts that are doing life right in front of us.  Not allowing the stuff “between the numbers” to steal our vision.  I’m certain that as you read, your own precious heart album was laying wide open in your mind’s eye.  And I’m just as certain that as you looked into those eyes, saw their smiles, and considered the depth of your love toward them, you were overwhelmed with thankfulness to the One who gave them to you.  The One who intentionally carved out a place for each and every one of those beautiful faces in your heart.

Have you ever stopped to consider how purposeful God was when He gave you those Gifts?  Those Miracles imprinted on your heart and your mind?  He designed them, precious in His sight, fearfully and wonderfully made and then . . . . . He entrusted them to you.   It wasn’t an accident.  It wasn’t happenstance.  It was choice.  They were given to you–Gifts to watch over and to care for–beautifully wrapped and lavishly loved, heart-picked and hand delivered by Divine choice.

God knew that there would be life stuff come their way that would be more bearable, more joyful, and more doable with you by their side.  See, the blessing of Miracles and Gifts runs both ways.  Your Miracles, well . . . they possess the Gift of YOU.

  • God determined that you were the one to walk beside your husband and to support him even when it’s hard.  Nobody else could fill those shoes.  He made them just for you.
  • He knew that the baby He put in your arms needed to have unconditional love straight from your heart.  No other heart would do.  He chose you.
  • He resolved that specifically you would be entrusted to bless and love those heart children.  Only you were appointed to shower them with unending love and blessings.
  • And those Sisters at your side were given especially to you to comfort and to encourage.  Their lives are richer, fuller, sweeter– because they belong to you.

Now you look at that list and the general terms that I offered –husband, babies, children, sisters—and they all take on names.  Names of the ones you love and maybe, if you’re like me, you think of the immensity of what He has entrusted to you and quickly become convinced that God has short changed those Sweet Ones around you.  You’re not the one to love with no strings attached.  You aren’t the reliable one, the one who will be steadfast no matter the circumstance.  You can’t meet the needs of others that way or offer comfort that really makes a difference.  You surely aren’t the one who showers love on others, may be it trickles – on a good day.  Maybe everything within you right now is shouting—I am no Gift.

Well Girlfriend, if you and I were left to our own devices, abandoned to our own hearts, I would be the first one to stand up and agree with you.  But that’s just not the case for those who believe.  God never intended for us to walk into the precious lives He has surrounded us with on our own.  We were sent there as a Gift by the One to whom we have been entrusted.  He fully desires for us to rely on the Power, the Tenacity, the Endurance, and the Love of the One to whom we have been gifted.

JESUS PRAYS FOR BELIEVERS

And so for their sake and on their behalf I sanctify, dedicate, consecrate Myself that they also may be sanctified, dedicated, consecrated, made holy in the Truth.

Neither for these alone do I pray, it is not for their sake only that I make this request, but also for all those who will ever come to believe in, trust in, cling to, rely on Me through their word and teaching,

That they all may be one, just as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe and be convinced that You have sent Me.

I have given to them the glory and honor which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are one:

I in them and You in Me, in order that they may become one and perfectly united, that the world may know and definitely recognize that You sent Me and that You have loved them even as You have loved Me.

Father, I desire that they also whom You have entrusted to Me, as Your gift to Me, may be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory, which You have given Me Your love gift to Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.

O just and righteous Father, although the world has not known You and has failed to recognize You and has never acknowledged You, I have known You continually; and these men understand and know that You have sent Me.

I have made Your Name known to them and revealed Your character and Your very Self, and I will continue to make You known, that the love which You have bestowed upon Me may be in them–felt in their hearts–and that I, Myself, may be in them.  John 17:19-26

Do you see it?  You are the Gift from THE GIFT.  The richness, the sweetness, the love that you pour into the lives of others is because Christ Jesus—GOD’S GIFT TO THE WORLD–has received you – has received me – as a gift straight from the heart of the Father.  You have been entrusted to, given to, gifted to the Christ of God and He has poured Himself into you so that you might pour Him into the lives of others.

It is the unconditional Love of the One who is Love that flows through us and fills the hearts of our babies.  It’s His reliability, His steadfastness that wells up within us giving us the tenacity to walk strong beside our husbands.  It is Him, the Great Comforter, who reaches out to that Sister with our arms and lets us wear His heart for them.   And it’s Him – the Living Water, which never runs dry – showering our heart children with blessing and unending love.

See, apart from Jesus, apart from the Spirit of Love coursing through us, there is no good thing in us, but with Jesus comes every good thing.  He giftwraps us with tenderheartedness, with mercy, and with patience giving us the power to endure whatever comes and hand delivers us to the those we love and those we are yet to love.

And the world sees it.  They watch us do life.  Enduring trials, encountering suffering, celebrating and grieving with those we have been given.  We are never pulled out of the hard stuff but we’re always gifted with the One who will see us through and because we are imitators of He who loves us we walk strong and steady with those to whom we have been given.

Oh yes, Sweet One, you are the Gift and might it be that to see yourself as less-than is to see the Savior, THE GIFT who lives within you, as less-than as well?  We do not boast in or about ourselves, but we will boast all day long in our Jesus and the work He has done to transform our messy, sin filled hearts into blessings for those around us.  All praise, honor and glory to our Savior –THE GIFT—who for the joy set before Him endured the cross.

Sister, I believe with all my heart that part of the joy the Savior received were the Gifts given to Him by the Father after His work had been completed and He sat down at the right of the Throne.   I picture in my mind the Father handing His Son one Gift after another and the nail-scarred hands joyfully receiving each one.

And don’t you know Beloved, one of those

beautifully wrapped (Colossians 3:12),

lavishly loved (1 John 3:1),

heart-picked (Ephesians 2:4-6),

and hand-delivered (2 Corinthians 1:10)

Gifts –part of the joy set before Him–

is YOU.

gifts

Now thanks be to God for His Gift,

precious beyond telling,

His indescribable, inexpressible, free Gift!

2 Corinthians 9:15

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