Monthly Archives: December 2015

The Home Stretch

Any runner will tell you that the last little bit of a marathon is the toughest.  You’re tired, muscles are aching, feet are throbbing, you’re thirsty and your body cries for you to be finished or worse, it begs you to stop.  Even well-seasoned, conditioned athletes who run or play other sports are ready for the game to be over in the last quarter yet they know they must finish.  The end is not the time to quit.

Life is certainly that way.  Every day we must decide to get up believing God has ultimate control of all this even when we see absolutely no evidence of His presence at all.  I’m ashamed to admit it but there have been a few times I went to bed begging Him to let me wake up in heaven.  I didn’t want to finish or survive anything else.  I was just ready for it to be over.

As I recall when I felt that way, I would wake up refreshed and with just enough faith to get my weary body out of bed the next day knowing I was doing it simply because I believed Him and nothing else.

I know you’re tired and wounded.  If people could see the inside of you, your heart, they would see an abstract – bloody and tattered pieces that don’t even resemble you.  But keep going.  This last little bit of the race is the most intense and everything in you begs for it to be over but keep on going.  This DAY we weren’t promised but God gave it to us anyway and because He did, we have to believe He has a plan for it.  Seek Him first, love like He wants you to and believe He knows what He is doing.

Good WILL come of this.  It may not come like we think it should, it may come to someone else (very often it’s not about us at all), but it will come.  He’s painting a bigger picture on a canvas that we can only see a corner of.  He’s getting us to the place where we will agree to walk in absolute blind faith.  After all, isn’t that what faith is?  The Bible says faith is the EVIDENCE of things NOT seen (Hebrews 11:1) but it’s what is hoped for.  If we carry on based on what we SEE that isn’t faith.  We would surely be undone with no purpose or reason without faith and hope which we must determine is enough to keep on keeping on.

Keep running the race because you believe Him and believe in Him.  Sometimes it appears there is just no other reason.  I think He is working on our faith, perseverance and teaching us that He alone is enough.  Even when it’s hard and you’re afraid, keep doing it anyway.  Let’s finish this race strong.  Who’s with me?

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…”  Hebrews 12:1

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Distractions

Sampson is an extremely obedient dog.  He walks with me without a leash most of the time, he stays in his yard…until he sees a squirrel.  Some kind of little furry critter makes him forget who he normally is all the rules go right out the window.

Distractions. You know the truth of who you are and Whose you are and when things are quiet and peaceful it’s easy to live in that truth.  You claim all of God’s blessings and promises and are quick to praise Him with a thankful heart…until your attention is diverted by unforeseen circumstances.

Distractions.  When they come, we divert to our nature – the “normal” way to handle things:  anger, frustration, despair, desire, despondency, depression, etc.

Something we want or desire consumes our every thought and emotion. Something bad makes our faith (or lack thereof) wax and wane.  Whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing, if we focus all our attention on it we can be swept away to places we never intended to go.  Distractions come in all kinds of packages.  For sure, anything that leads us down a path we never intended taking and/or know we shouldn’t go on is a distraction from who we’re intended to be and what we’re made to do.

These are the times that we should remember our foundation – the truth of God and what He says but our humanness takes over.  “Well, that’s just the way I am”; “God made me He knows my heart” are often our weak excuses to go our own way and do our own thing.

Sampson ran after a squirrel one day completely oblivious to passing cars and other dangers around him.  He was almost killed. He was 100% focused on the distraction and nothing else.  We sometimes do the same.  We can’t see the dangers lurking and we don’t realise how far we have wandered until we find ourselves having to walk the long way back.

I used to pride myself in my strong faith.  I thought I had it going on with God until life threw me curveballs I never saw coming.  I found myself in a very dark place with a boatload of doubt.  I’m still recovering from the effects of my “falling away”.  I considered myself so close to God air couldn’t get between us and when the distractions/trials came, I found myself doubting He was with me at all.

Distractions show us who we really are.  No matter what form they take they’re designed, I believe not to punish us or make us pay for something we’ve done or not done, but to do just that: show us what we’re made of and how strong our faith really is.

Sometimes we allow ourselves to be swept away by something that becomes more important to us and sometimes bad things happen we have no control over.  When they happen (and they will happen), it’s up to us to “go back” to God who is the only sure, steady and stable foundation we have.  During the quiet and peaceful times in life when it’s good are the times to grow closer to God, reaffirm and believe because as long as we’re alive there will always be something to try to draw us away.  But be reassured, God NEVER moves or changes.  He is ALWAYS there, and will always welcome you back.  We just have to decide to “go back” to Him.

Just like now – can’t find Sampson.  He’s been hooked by another distraction.  Thankfully right now, I’m not but I’m preparing for the next one.  I pray you are, too.

James 1:6  “But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.”

Reruns

“Why me Lord, what have I ever done to deserve even one of the pleasures I’ve known…”

This time of year is bittersweet.  My son was born 33 years ago tomorrow.  Every year I replay the days leading up to his birth and it astounds me that it feels like it did then.

I was in labor 23 hours and I was rushed for an emergency C-section when my water broke and it was green and his heart rate became very concerning.  The fear grips me to this day.

When he was taken, I was under general anaesthesia so I didn’t see him, but I was told he wasn’t breathing.  They resuscitated him for 11 minutes and when he finally started breathing he had grand mal seizures.  When I finally did see him, he was green and unconscious on a ventilator.  I remember seeing him laying there, lifeless and to this day, I relive what that heartbreaking moment felt like.

I remember my Mom and family holding a death vigil at the hospital for the next three days until I held him and he opened his eyes for the first time.  Until that moment, he had had no urine output, low body temperature and every time he was touched to draw blood he seized.  I only got to hold him because his doctor told me that was the last thing to do, they had tried everything else.

The battle for his life raged on for years.  When he was six months old I was told by a doctor that if he lived to be a year old, he would never walk and talk. If you’ve never experienced this kind of pain, no words do it justice.

Now almost 33 years later, I look at him and wonder how anyone who has ever met him doesn’t believe in God and the fact that He still is in the miracle business.  I stand in awe of what He has done in our lives.  I stand in his doorway at night listening to him breathe sometimes and cry thanking God for letting him live and not only live…thrive.  Why would He do that? Why bless me…bless us…like that? He could have died…he should have died as I could have/should have.

To not share what He has done in both our lives would be a crime.  I know God exists. I know He loves us.  I’m sure He has a more divine plan for our lives than we can imagine and I want you to know the same is true for you.

As I reflect on those bittersweet reruns, I’m jolted to the now.  I’m well aware of the fact our story could have been so different…and had I been my judge it would have been different.  I didn’t deserve to live and I didn’t deserve to have my son live.  But God chose different.  He chose to let us live and experience Him. We KNOW Him and what He can do with a surrendered heart, believing He can do exceedingly abundantly more than we can even conceive. Grace still prevails…almost 33 years later!

We all have things that have happened that we will never forget and sometimes feel the pain associated with them.  That’s just to show us how far we’ve come.  It’s okay to remember and when we do, let’s be grateful.  Happy birthday, Matt.  No matter what I will always, always be thankful God chose me to be your Mom.  I love you.

for the complete story/testimony, go to http://www.amazon.com and search for my book, “But Grace Prevailed” 

What Was

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In all likelihood, this was a good storage building at one time.  Not anymore.  Full of who knows what, it’s dilapidated and forgotten now.  It captured my attention for some reason and when I go back, it reminds me of what was.

I see people all the time who have weathered many storms.  I wonder if any of us are even close to who we’re supposed to be.  The things life has brought our way, all the hurt, disappointment, tragedy, death, have taken their toll.

I look at my own life and wonder if there is anything worthwhile left.  There must be because God still has me here. Why, I don’t know.   My life, in some respects, doesn’t resemble my life at all.  The most important people to me have changed addresses, the things I used to care about I don’t anymore.  Sometimes I question the point of all this. What was makes me sad, in a way, but what still is, excites me.

I wonder what God will do next. I think I needed to be cleaned out, things needed to be removed. Perhaps I clung to things and people too much.  Perhaps they obstructed my heart and my view to what is really important.

I’ve learned that many things I valued have no real significance and that the only person who will never fail you is God.  The only love that lasts, in its intended form, is His.  I’ve learned, I really know that everything can be lost or taken, misconstrued or manipulated, but He can’t be.  He is true to his word and if all this hadn’t happened I wouldn’t know that.

I’ve learned that the choice to keep believing is ours. No matter what has happened, He knows the silent cries of our hearts.  He knows the truth – He doesn’t see through broken glass.  His picture of us, our lives, is the only real truth.  What He says, His view, is much more important than ours because it’s real and unaltered by anything that happens.

What was is gone and our view of what should be is tainted. No matter what is missing or changed, He still remains the same and if we let Him, He can rebuild what is left into the most beautiful dwelling.  He can heal all that hurt and create in us a new heart, not just mend but take the broken pieces and reconstruct a better us from the inside out.

This old building is a picture of what is left, the evidence of what the years have taken.  Others may see us as finished, broken, beyond repair but He sees something quite different:  a chance for a new creature and a promise for a better vessel in which He resides.  All the unnecessary is gone and a shell, a shell remains.  The lessons of what really matters are learned, not just survived.  That’s all He needs to begin the process of healing and restoring us into better than we were before.  I believe that. Do you?

Don’t You Dare!

No matter how you feel, where you are, what you’re going through.  No matter what everyone is saying and speaking, don’t you dare.

Don’t you dare start believing this is all there is. Don’t you dare believe that no one cares.  Don’t you dare succumb to the feelings of your dark moments because that’s what they are…MOMENTS.  Don’t you dare believe that it won’t get better, your pain won’t lessen, your despair won’t subside.  Don’t you dare.

Don’t you dare stop praying.  Even if it has been years that you’ve asked and not received, don’t you dare stop.  Just one more breath.  One more.  Just one more.  Don’t you dare fall for the lies of the enemy who is so crafty he knows the exact moment you feel like giving up and giving to speak a lie to you.

Remember who you are, Whose you are and where you’ve been. It may not be perfect right now but you are far from where you were.  Look back and see.  Remember.  Don’t you dare stop now. Don’t you dare.

This is a defining moment.  Choose to believe. Choose to walk on.  Choose to allow The only One who can make a difference do so.  Don’t you dare give up.  Don’t you dare. He knows your despair, the anguish of your soul.  He knows.  He knows the deep wounds, the gaping crevices of your heart and He’s busy right now filling them in.  He’s working on that ‘beauty from ashes’ thing right now.  Don’t doubt it.  Don’t doubt Him. Don’t you dare.

Thank You, Lynn

Thank you.

When pretty much the whole world looked at me with disdain you showed me love, kindness and respect.  You were more like a family to me than most of my family was and I was…and am, so grateful.  I hope I told you that in person; I can’t remember.  Forgive me if I didn’t.

You loved me like your own. You took me in and helped when you could.  You encouraged me very often with a simple smile.  You quietly supported me in the worst of times.  You showed me Jesus and the real love of Father God way before I met Them myself.

Oh that more men were like you – exhibiting strength, acceptance and genuine love.  Not many words were spoken, they weren’t needed.  Your presence and gentleness spoke louder than words ever could.

I pray for your family during this time of your changing addresses.  I know they know what a treasure they had in you.  Many of us never had what your children have in you. I know you will live on and love on through them.

I will always be grateful for the chance to have known you. Rest in peace precious one.

Finished. Again.

Tired.  Weary. Discouraged. Sad. Done. Just done.  Done trying hard to make things better.  Done believing things are getting better. Tired of bailing water out of the boat.  Time, perhaps, to let it sink.

The work of a Saint is hard.  Believing against all odds and keeping content in extreme situations is exhausting.  This is, I believe, the work of our salvation – keeping faith alive when even you feel dead.

Then you hear that song.  You see others walking a more extreme road than yours.  You see their strength.  You read something specifically pertaining to your present situation and smile.  A warmth covers you and you know.  You know it came straight out of heaven, custom made, constructed specifically for you.  What will you do?  Stay down?  Not believe? Not hope?

The choice is yours.  God won’t stop loving you.  It may not even change things on the outside…but it can change things on the inside.  Will you let it?  Do you dare to believe again?  Pick up another bucket?  Usher up another prayer?

The choice is yours.

Sometimes the smallest things can make the biggest difference.

Remember.  The rock.  The blessing.  The socks.  Remember.  Cling.  And start bailing.  Again.

Finished?  Not this time.  No. No. Not this time. And that’s all that matters.