Thursday, December 12, 2013

Struggling to be jolly

Okay ladies and gentleman, this is a pretty personal blog. Its more of me just talking through some very hard stuff. I needed to get it out. When I feel like I'm about to explode the Lord moves me to share it, to get it out, to help someone else. I just read back what I wrote and it's a hard one to share for me. I'm not big on bearing my soul ya know?  I know I am called to say the hard stuff, so here comes the back and forth torn and worn thoughts of my heart.

Psalm 56:3
When I am afraid, I will trust in you
Isaiah 12:2
Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation."

This is the 4th Christmas we will spend without Jackson, its actually harder on me than last year. I think it may be because I'm still struggling to grasp a life without my son while others have "moved on". I suppose that's only natural but it doesn't make it any easier, in fact it makes it worse. The 1st and 2nd year holidays people seemed to sense why I was so down, now I'm just "in a bad mood". I'm not in a bad mood by choice, and I'm actually in no mood at all. Its that numb / worn down feeling that can't be shaken off , it can only be dealt with by sleep and praying. I can't stand to be awake truthfully when I'm this worn down from breathing without my son here.
I'm sick with a horrible headache that I'm sure is actually that my heart is just broken. Its exhausting and I'm just tired in my spirit. I know I need to keep going and I know I can't stay in bed but truthfully that's what I need, to just lay down and let it pass.
When you have kids, its not about what you or I need anymore though is it? I can't sleep all day because I have a job. I can't stay under the covers in the recliner until Christmas passes because I have 2 more children who need to enjoy Christmas with both of their parents. I want to be here mentally to enjoy the sweet blessing my Father has given me here on Earth. I don't want to look back and see myself in the recliner mentally drowning, I can't do that. My Jesus never intended that for me, He didn't.

I was looking at the movie "cars" for Jett for Christmas, he really likes it. Then I thought, I bet Jackson would like those wall decals........or not. Jackson would not like because I'm sure its to babyish for a 9 year old boy right? but what would he like? I won't know this side of the cross will I? That is a sick feeling, its just wrong on so many levels that I don't need to get myself started. I didn't get to watch my son grow into a young man and figure out who he is. I just don't, I got robbed and no it's not fair but it still just is.

The more I thought about what Jackson would like, I started really wondering. What will he be like when I see him again? Will he be 2 months shy of 6 years old still ? I like to think that he will be just as he was, perfect. I want to be with my 5 year old cowboy and I want him to tell me in his excited voice "MOM! Come see what Jesus has over here its super duper cool!" while dragging me by the hand, as if no time has passed. I need to feel that, I need Jesus to keep feeding me those visions because I would not be able to keep my head above water, this hurricane is drowning me. Treading water is exhausting, I'm sure you have done it before. I feel like I'm fighting the current but that's the way life is when its just all wrong. I, along with anyone else who is living on Earth without their child am living life wrong. Not wrong as in "right vs wrong" wrong as in " man this is SO WRONG". More of a feeling than a label. Things will never feel quite right for us, but things will be okay.
It doesn't feel like I will ever be okay again, but I feel like this in every Hurricane. Hurricane Christmas 2013 is no different. I will fight, go under water, pop back up and go right back to fighting that current. That's what my life is now, a battle field. Satan wants nothing more than for me to just let that current drown me, and drown my faith. Its not happening, its never gonna happen. I am human and I am a doubter, a sinner, I question my maker. BUT my faith will not be shaken. I can ask why." why us Lord?"  for 100 years and it won't change a thing. God himself can come sit beside me at this table and tell me exactly why he allowed my life to turn out this way, but it wouldn't take the pain away. I try very intentionally never to get stuck on the "why's" that seems to be Satan's favorite place to pounce on me. Now I just pray 2 simple words "Come quickly". Lord come quickly.

In true Ronnie form, as I write this journal entry, a song is playing in my mind. I never ever doubt that my savior gives me these songs (and so much more), especially because these are words I have said many many times. I'm just worn. I will share it because I'm in love with Tenth avenue North's song writer. He is gifted beyond what he knows with words, and we all know how I love lyrics. Here you go:

"Worn"I’m Tired I’m worn
My heart is heavy
From the work it takes
To keep on breathing
I’ve made mistakes
I’ve let my hope fail
My soul feels crushed
By the weight of this world

And I know that you can give me rest
So I cry out with all that I have left

Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart
That’s frail and torn
I wanna know a song can rise
From the ashes of a broken life
And all that’s dead inside can be reborn
Cause I’m worn

I know I need to lift my eyes up
But I'm too weak
Life just won’t let up
And I know that you can give me rest
So I cry out with all that I have left

Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart
That’s frail and torn
I wanna know a song can rise
From the ashes of a broken life
And all that’s dead inside can be reborn
Cause I’m worn

My prayers are wearing thin
Yeah, I’m worn
Even before the day begins
Yeah, I’m worn
I’ve lost my will to fight
I’m worn
So, heaven come and flood my eyes

Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart
That’s frail and torn
I wanna know a song can rise
From the ashes of a broken life
And all that’s dead inside can be reborn
Cause all that’s dead inside will be reborn
Though I’m worn
Yeah I’m worn               

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving coaster

Exodus 14:14
"The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still."

Its the most wonderful time of the year right? It's a time for family and friends and getting ready for Christmas. Most of us are shopping, decorating, being thankful, eating good food, and spending much needed time off work with family.
Some of us are not, some of us are struggling to be okay while the huge elephant in the room continues to remind us of what we are NOT thankful for.
Today I am trying to focus on what God has given me, and not what has been taken from me. That looks so much better as I type it than it actually feels. Its the old roller coaster ride that just won't stop (picture space mountain at Disney World) , right when I know I'm about to get sick from the ride it levels out and I think " I can do this" and then it steams ahead into that dreaded dark tunnel where I can't SEE to anticipate the twist and turns or the drop off's I know are waiting ahead. The unknown is terrifying yet I know the tunnel has an ending, I have been on this coaster before....every season that has passed without my son I board the roller coaster wanted or not it takes me on this ride.

Today I have decided to look around me instead of focusing on the paralyzing fear and sickness the ride causes, yes the tunnel is dark but there are hundreds, maybe thousands of tiny lights like stars shining all around me. I can't look forward searching for the light at the end of the tunnel, it's not visible yet and doing so only makes me more fearful of what is ahead. When I close my eyes and SEE the tiny stars I see what all those tiny lights in the dark represent. I see that my mom is here to spend time with us and cook the most wonderful dinners every night for us. I see my baby son, Jett growing from a baby to a little man with his  birthday coming in less than 5 days he will be 2 ! I see my daughter Jenna Claire making dinner with my mom so beautiful and full of light.  I see my husband, hard working and handsome the best partner I could ask for. I see my sister decorating my house for Christmas because God knew he did not give me the crafty gene in the family (seriously). I see my Dad and sister headed back to Wynne, Arkansas from Texas to spend Thanksgiving with us. I see Jackson innocent and beautiful waiting for me in Heaven. Most importantly I I SEE and FEEL my savior sitting in the seat next to me on this ride and I know I will get off soon, He will stop the roller coaster, he always does.

The holidays are so hard when your brain is is foggy and you see so many people who seem so happy and so blessed. We have to try so hard to focus on the blessings WE have been given. Its the hardest thing I have ever had to do, to seek happiness when my heart aches so badly. It feels so very wrong to go on without Jackson but we were not given the choice, however we were given hope. Its a long road and it makes us beyond miserable at times and that is so okay! Eventually though, we absolutely must get back up and continue to be the light of Christ. I will continue to praise in the storms of the holidays and in the hurricanes that come with no warning even with no holiday in sight. The pain of living will forever be part of me as long as I'm separated from my son. I will say its hard, its harder than anything a human should have to do but as my mom always said "It is what it is" we can't change it, we have to trust and wait with Hope that maybe next Thanksgiving we will be with the Lord and our loved ones....ALL of them.

I know I have mentioned that everyday I wake up with a song in my heart. This morning it was a sad song, reminding me of the quiet loneliness that is now part of me. Just now, as I sat down to write this post God changed the song in my heart as I wrote. He changed it to Josh Wilsons "Pushing back the dark". Here are the lyrics to the song I sing as I write this.

"Pushing Back The Dark"

One million reasons why, you shouldn't even try.
After all you're just one heart, a single candle in the dark.
And there are shadows here, feeding on your fears,
That you don't have what it takes - who are you to make a change?

But oh, oh, don't underestimate the God you follow.

Whatever you do, just don't look back.
Oh somebody needs the light you have.
Whatever you do, just don't lose heart.
Keep on pushing back the dark,
Keep on pushing back the dark.

The city on a hill, it should be shining still.
Every sinner saved by grace, has a purpose, has a place
Inside the bigger plan, we might not understand.
But if we just keep walking on, we will see the Kingdom come, yeah

None of us are alone in this, we have to keep pushing back the darkness in that horrible roller coaster tunnel. Look for the stars (our blessings) in that tunnel, they are there and thank the God who put them there. Just breath. I love each and everyone of you, I'm so sorry that some of us are destined to hurt like we do. There is an end, just keep pushing and remind me to keep pushing as well. Cry and be mad, but get up and push back and please pray that I can do the same. 

Deut. 31:6
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you

                         A few of my blessing shining in the darkness this Thanksgiving. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Waiting out "the fog"

2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Have you ever driven in super dense fog and just had to pull over because it was so thick you could not see in front or behind you? That is how I feel lately, like I'm in a fog that has compromised my vision and it's closing in like the darkest night. I know it's just fog and it will lift, but pulling over to wait it out I think I got stuck. The fog will clear, it always does but when?
The feeling like life or this "fog" is closing in around me never comes on over night, its a slow process that I usually feel coming on. It starts with an extreme anxiety that things are just "not right" and slowly moves to the realization that things will never "be right" because my son is gone from this Earth. Next I start to envy happy people and begin to close them off because quite frankly I don't want to talk and honestly have nothing to say. I am not oblivious to the fog I am stuck in, I'm just stuck or paralyzed for the moment. I used to try and fight my way out, now I really believe I have to pray and wait to out. The struggle exhausts me and leaves me even more emotionally drained than just waiting and being still. I believe that grief has to take it toll on us when it rears it's ugly head. Fighting it and trying to pretend everything is okay is just not healthy for any of us who struggle for breath. I suppose its really just back to the basic's of the stages of grief, you don't just go through them and then its over. It happens over and over, probably until we die or Jesus comes to save us all.
I'm only sharing this current struggle because I feel pushed to share, maybe because the Lord thinks it will help me to write it down, or maybe someone else needs to know they are not alone in this heavy fog. You may not see me or any other person in the fog but we are here too. None of us are here alone.
Its hard for me to describe the emotions that come with this current fog because its more like being emotionless. Just numb and paralyzed forced to be still and be quiet. There is no rushing fog to lift, you have no choice but to wait it out. If you try to drive in it you will not get very far, or worse you may crash for lack of vision.
I guess a mothers heart will continue to go back through the motions of the grief process as long as her heart beats and her child is not here. It's the most un natural thing that can occur in life so I suppose its only natural to feel so out of sorts at the strangest times. That feeling of forgetting something, the feeling of bitterness at other peoples happiness, the guilt and frustration at not being able to keep your child safe, the urge to just lay it all down and be done fighting. These feelings are our "new normal", but we as long as we realize that the fog will lift eventually and Jesus will make a clearing we will make it through.
As a mom living life here while my son in living in Heaven I can say this, I do have joy. My life is not always wandering in the fog waiting for it to lift or paralyzed with bitterness and guilt. I laugh and joke with my friends and family, I am not lost in the fog. The fog will lift when I allow Jesus to lift me out of it. It will become less thick until I can SEE again and am able to start moving forward again. I will finish this race and I will hear my savior's voice saying "you made it, you finished and your home." Until that day I will spin my wheels in the fog when it hits and I will laugh and play when the sky is clear. I will wait, not always with patience but I will wait. I am forced to wait out this fog and then pray the next one will be less dense.
Psalm 130:5-6
I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning.

I will end with the lyrics of the song in my heart today. I wake every single morning with a new song in my heart, as soon as I wake I hear it in my head and I pray. Here is today's.

I’m Tired I’m worn
My heart is heavy
From the work it takes
To keep on breathing
I’ve made mistakes
I’ve let my hope fail
My soul feels crushed
By the weight of this world

And I know that you can give me rest
So I cry out with all that I have left

Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart
That’s frail and torn
I wanna know a song can rise
From the ashes of a broken life
And all that’s dead inside can be reborn
Cause I’m worn
                                                             Me and my sweet boy

Friday, October 25, 2013

Tick bite, to treat or not to treat.....

John 14:13-14 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it

The updates on our little man are getting longer as we try and figure this illness out, I figured this was the best way to put it all out there for all our prayer warriors!
Last Wednesday was the first day of the high fevers for Jett, over 104 presumptively. Since then we had ONE amazing ER doc tell us that he really believed Jett has Tick Borne illness, probably Erlichiosis (see previous blog). He told us that because he practiced medicine in Missouri he was very familiar with Tick illness and he advised us that we would probably be in the hospital at least 72 hours to get the IV doxycycline in quickly. As most of you know, we got discharged the next day because the infectious disease hospitalist doctor (the one who only see's hospital patients with no local MD) informed us, while smirking, "I do not believe it's not Tick fever you can go home and wait it out. Its probably viral and will resolve on its own but we will send you with a few days of oral antibiotic and follow up with his Doctor tomorrow." Jett was so much better from ONE dose of the doxycycline that I was convinced maybe it was coincidence, I mean surely an antibiotic would not make that big of a difference with one dose?
We came home, saw our Primary care doc who also was not completely convinced it was tick illness. His symptoms were getting worse, body aches, Joint pain with stiffness, night sweats, fever that would go up really fast, fatigue. She  needed blood from Jett and he just wasn't giving it. He was stuck about 4 times with zero success. From there we were sent to Arkansas Children's to the Infectious disease doc's there and the IV team in hopes that they would be able to get his blood drawn.
We were blessed in that they were able to get the blood and with that we were able to rule out one of our biggest fears, they ruled out Systemic Onset Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. We were so afraid that Jett was about to walk to same road Jackson walked (or limped) when he was 2. With that ruled out (by Jacksons old rheumatologist who we trust fully), we wait for the other tests that can take a while. Tests like : cat scratch fever, staph, strep, mono. You name it.
The infectious disease doctor at Childrens told us that he did not understand why the other hospital ran all the tick tests because obviously we do NOT have Lyme or erlichiosis in Arkansas. I could not believe he said that! I had heard it was hard to get a diagnosis in Arkansas for tick illness but this incredibly intelligent MD just told me there is no way it's tick related. I work for the Arkansas Health Department, I get the reports from the CDC of "suspect Lyme" and "suspect Rocky mountain spotted fever". I know there are tick illness, not only in Arkansas, but in Cross county! I did not say a word, after all, he certainly is more knowledgeable than I am. I was not about to question him. He sent us home with no meds and that night (Wednesday, 1 week after it started) Jett got worse. He started twitching or making jerky movements, and his fevers were going back up and pushing 103 every 3 hours. He was sweating buckets and white as paper. I took a picture of him and texted it to his Primary doc who called me immediately. I told her that my gut was telling me it's all tick related and I wanted the doxycycline now because he is obviously getting more sick by the day. I pointed out that the only time his fever has come down was while he was in the hospital on the IV doxy. She promised to call me back after she called Little Rock and updated them on his condition (Infectious disease doc's). About an hour later we had the prescription called in and in his little body. They said they were only giving us a few days while we wait for the other tests. I'm sure when I send today's pic of him to his Doctor she will change her mind.
He feels so much better and has had zero fever since 2 hours after his first dose of doxycycline, he has now had 2 doses. I have full faith in Jett's doctors, but I have to follow my God given Mothers intuition. If its not Erlichiosis or Lyme then at least we were on the side of caution being that there was in fact a tick on him and he has every single tick fever symptom!
Thanks so much for all the prayers, I know they are sustaining us. Jett and I are worn out but he is running and playing today, while I obviously don't wish him to have tick anything, I am thankful for a Primary Care doctor who listens and treats the child (and the mom) and not lab work, after all labs are just numbers on a paper. The patient needs to be looked at as a whole picture not 10 min in an office.
Keep praying my friends, its working. We love you !

This how fast he gets sick. looks ok in first pic, 2 hours later 103.
          This is today after 2 doses of the doxy :)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Storm number 456786, whose counting?

Ps 86:7 In the day of my trouble I will call upon You: for You will answer me.

I know some people who have had minor storms if any in their lifetime. Others, like my family, seem to have our share plus theirs, I suppose it's all in how you look at it. It obviously doesn't make sense that some of us go through more, um, obstacles than others, but in reality what does make sense? It's my opinion that this life is just harder on some people than others. I will choose to keep looking up in this current storm and keep praying. Who knows, maybe this will be our last storm (I had to stop typing and cross my fingers on that one).

On Wednesday October 16th at church, I noticed Jett was not feeling well at dinner. He just didn't eat and was very fussy, not his normal cheerful smiling self. I didn't notice a fever when I felt him so I went on to my class and sent him to he nursery. At about 7:30 I went to pick him up and noticed he was warm with fever and that's where it went really bad really fast. As we were heading down the hall to check his temperature he began having a seizure. As I watched him turn blue  I could barely hear people around me, all I knew was that there was a pediatric nurse with me and I felt that he was going to be okay with her there. I knew as a nurse myself that we were helpless to the seizure but I also knew if he did not breathe soon something would have to be done, I was praying for God to stop the seizure and show me what was wrong with my baby. The nurse, Jill, was with him was at his head and noticed how hot he was, you could fry and egg on my baby and his temp went up fast, really fast. Jill happens to work in the ER at Lebonheur Childrens Hospital. She never stopped or hesitated she just led us to the car where she called ahead and we headed strait to and through the ER. She did not have to go with us, but she did and I don't think she ever entertained another option. 
Jett was out of it most of the drive to the hospital but he did finally start responding to his name about halfway there. I prayed non stop on that drive to the hospital, Lord guide the doctors, Lord show me what to do, Lord help me remain calm for Jett. I was scared but strangely calm at the same time. The Lord was faithful and he may not have calmed the storm but he calmed his child.
The doctor was wonderful, he ran all the tests you would expect for a child with high fever and no other symptoms, (besides just looking and acting "sick" the last few weeks). When nothing to abnormal showed on the Labs and Jett was not looking better, the decision was about to be made to do a spinal tap to test for meningitis. While we were waiting again, I was strangely calm. One of our friends, Lacey, says "oh look there's a little dirt behind Jett's that's not dirt, it must be a mole." No one really replied or thought much of it. A few minutes passed and again Lacey said "Ronnie, have you noticed Jett has a mole behind his ear?" again, I didn't get up, so another friend went and investigated. "um, that's not a mole, is that a TICK?!" that got a response, yep its a tick. Imbedded behind his ear, so tiny I never saw it and may never have seen it. You see how God was working here? Pushing Lacey to keep seeing that spot behind Jett's ear, pressing her to keep bringing it up even though she had no idea it was a tick. Finding that tick changed everything. The doctor removed the tick and the whole game was changed. We were admitted and started on treatment for tick borne illness, we are still not sure which one it is.
If that tick had not been found, he would have had a spinal tap that showed nothing. We probably would have been sent home on no meds and been back again in a few days, repeat, repeat, repeat. As they were trying desperately to get blood from Jett and he was screaming after the 3rd stick I was praying again, "Lord why do you keep testing me? I will not loose my faith, please stop testing me." I lay my head on Jett's chest and the picture that came to my mind was awesome. Angels covering us with their wings. I want to share a quote from a Christian fiction book that will explain what I saw in my mind : "She lay nearby, facedown in the dirt, weeping, physically exhausted and emotionally spent. Guilo (an angel) sat beside her, his wings spread over her, stroking her head and speaking soothing words to her soul. Tal (another angel) approached quietly, knelt beside them, and spread his wings high and wide, joining Guilo's wings to form a canopy to keep out the world for a while. "~Piercing the Darkness by Frank E. Peretti. (wonderful book!)
They eventually got the blood, but not without a struggle from his little body not wanting to cooperate.
As we lay in his hospital room at 3am I felt God speak loudly to my heart, letting me know that He was not testing me. That he did not place illness in the world, when sin entered so did illness. He did not "make" Jett ill and as similar as all this was to Jackson fighting to be diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, it is not the same. My faith is 10 fold now and I now SEE that God is good all the time He doesn't give us illness to hurt us. That's just part of being human, getting sick.  He also showed me flashes of the whole night: Jill (our off duty personal super nurse) being there when the seizure hit, Cassie to take my JC home, Josh making it to the church in record time to drive us, Libby able to intercede and keep everyone updated and start a prayer chain allowing us to focus on Jett. Lacey finding the tick, Cissy showing up with Jett's favorite blankie. Matt being there to support Josh, the doctor being very knowledgable about tick's. He showed me that yet again , the storm raged on but he sent many, many life boats. He put everyone where they were supposed to be and for that Jett was sent home the next day with the medication that he needed. We were making progress and we were covered under a HUGE blanket of prayer.
We are still waiting for the Lab cultures to be sure of what kind of tick illness this is, and if it's not a tick illness, he still didn't have to go through a spinal tap. He still feels better and looks like he is on the road to recovery. This will be a long road as most tick illness likes to take it's time leaving the body. He has lots of muscle pain and I'm pretty sure his head hurts and most of he gets very tired very quickly but he is playing!  Most of all, I see improvement, it's slow but it's there. For all who have prayed for our little man, it's working. Keep it up!
The prayers of Gods people are heard and he answeres. I think the entire town was praying for Jett and I am forever grateful for that because I am sure that's how we were treated so promptly. I don't recall ever having felt other peoples prayer for us that deep before. I felt the prayers and I felt The Lord's presence.
I have had many prayers that I felt were not heard, On may 21st, 1996 I prayed for God to spare my sister, Amy's life and He had other plans. I prayed for God to spare my oldest son, Jacksons life on May 6th 2010  and that prayer was not answered, but on October 16th 2013 my prayer was answered in every way. So while our prayers don't always work out the way we need them or want them too, sometimes they do work out better. Never give up hope, and never tell me it was coincidence that Lacey saw that tiny embedded tick behind my babies ear, I was there. There are no coincidence's.

Romans 8:31 :What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

                                                    At least one parent got some rest ;-)
woke up ready to break out after 2 doses of antibiotic and countless prayers !

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Hurricane season

Ecclesiastes 3:1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens

I actually wrote this blog first and then thought "I'm gonna go look up some friend quotes." Low and behold the first to catch my eye was Ecclesiastes 3:1. I did not type in anything about seasons, this is how the Lord works people. Here you go...

I could give a thousand quotes on "friends", but none can touch the truth. A friend is a person placed in your life in certain seasons to hold us. Maybe they hold us up, or maybe they just "hold us".

I have more friends than I can count. I have life long friends, new and old friends. Some people I count as friends and have never met them in person (thanks to social networking). I have learned more about friendship and love in the last 3 years than I could in a lifetime. The first thing I noticed is that God moves friends around. He moves them in out of certain seasons in our lives at the most perfect times, we may not even notice it at the time, but He does and I can show you.

I have a friend who is my very best friend and has been for a while now. She has a son who is Jacksons age, and we were close when the boys were very young (a season). She saw us at some of our worst times as a family as she was there when Jackson was diagnosed with Juvenile rheumatoid Arthritis and all the testing and waiting that came with that.  Gradually, that season of friendship ended and while we never lost touch, we were just busy with our own lives and just were not as close. I cannot express how Gods hand was all over that first season of our friendship coming to an end. I never really noticed that we were not as close, it just happened, like a gradual drift. I am so thankful that Gods plan worked to separate us at that time. Her son and Jackson were never really "super" close. While that may sound odd, its not and I'll explain why. When Jackson went to heaven, I was lost. I had friends but I could not tolerate seeing them, most of them had boys Jackson's age and I could not stand the sight of them. However, when God moved my very best friend back into this hurricane season, the timing was perfect.
I don't know very many people that would come to you in the eye of a fierce hurricane that was as unpredictable as that season in our lives was. I don't know many, but I know a few. God moved people and dropped them into our lives like healing rain. They came into our lives, weathered the storm and we are still standing because they allowed themselves to be moved when God told them to move.
Three long years later, I continue to make the best friends. Some of them do have kids Jacksons age, but they were not close to Jackson in a social way. Those people never catch me off guard, I know that God has put them into my life now and not then for reasons we will never understand. These friends are some of those gifts we never asked for.
I love to step away from the splattered painting of my life and SEE the gifts God gives me. He sends us life boats in the hurricanes of this life. I'm gonna end this with a joke that I heard from a previous pastor, mostly because it makes me giggle. Here goes:
A horrible hurricane was coming up the coast and all residents were told to evacuate the area for their safety. One man decided he was going to pray and wait out the storm. An evacuation vehicle came to his house and the man told them "its okay, go on without me. My God will save me." so they left. A while later while the water was rising a boat came by to try and talk the man into getting out of there, but he told them " its okay, go on, I'm praying and I know my God will save me." A while later the man is on his roof because the water is so high. A helicopter flies over and lowers a ladder to save the man, but he says "I'm waiting on my God to save me, I know he will." Just then a loud clap of thunder came out of Heaven and the voice of God said "Come on son, I sent a car, a boat and now a helicopter, I am saving you!"
There is a reason that I remember this joke from literally about 20 years ago. God placed that seed of humor in my heart because The Lord knew I would need it. When you pray and ask for God to save you, look around you, He probably is.....


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Watching and Waiting

Psalm 104:1-35                    
Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, you are very great! You are clothed with splendor and majesty, covering yourself with light as with a garment, stretching out the heavens like a tent. He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters; he makes the clouds his chariot; he rides on the wings of the wind; he makes his messengers winds, his ministers a flaming fire. He set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved. ...

My husband and I just celebrated our 10 year anniversary in Jamaica. There are no adequate words to describe the whole island experience for me, but for the sake of sharing with you, I will try ;-)
This was our first trip out of the US, and I must say I was not nervous at all. I was so excited that it really could not be contained. Even people at the airport asked us where we were going because I looked so excited! (yea, I don't get out enough). In 10 years Josh and I have not been anywhere over 1 night just the 2 of us. I was weary of how I would feel being separated by 2 flights and approximately 6 hours of travel from my kids. God was all over that feeling, he just replaced it with a peace that only He can give, we were meant to go on this vacation.

Once we arrived, I stared to relax and catch on the Jamaican moto "no worries mon!" I was like a different woman, I really had "no worries" for a few short days. The way the island made me feel is like nothing I have ever felt, I felt free. I felt like I was so close to the glory of God that I could reach out and grab it. I slept all night without waking up (un heard of for me) and by dawn I was sitting on the beach watching and waiting with coffee in hand.

There is not one thing we had to do for 5 days, not one single thing. Can you imagine that? I couldn't ! I told God that on this trip I would not worry or stress, that I only wanted to focus on my husband and relax. He made that possible, for 5 days I had "no worries mon." when you live a life with a gaping hole in your chest, its hard to believe it will ever be possible to let go and have no worries. I thought it was impossible, and God reminded me that nothing is impossible with Him. I was reminded of a time when I could not smile and I experienced a pain so deep that I struggled for air, and I was that way for a long time. While I remember that pain and it still hurts so bad, its almost like I'm literally seeing it through the grace of Jesus. I cannot imagine living a day without all my children, yet I do it. I cannot imagine living through such a tragic loss, yet I do it. The thing about that is this; I don't do it. I don't remember a specific time or a huge revelation happening, but at some point I decided to trust God. I realized that not only could I not imagine going through all those things, I absolutely could not go through them.

I spent months watching and waiting for the Lord to return on his white horse and save me from this tragedy and make it all new. I would wake up at the crack of dawn and head strait to the porch , coffee in hand, to continue my watching and waiting. While time and grace have made my time here bearable, my heart still longs for eternity with Jesus. I still long to be whole again, to see my son again.

It wasn't until I got home that God showed me the parallels of the watching and waiting from then to now. I do the same action, with a different heart. In Jamaica I woke up at dawn and eagerly headed to the beach to SEE the beauty that God so freely shows off on the island. 3 years ago I woke up at dawn yearning for Jesus to come and end my sorrow, there was no beauty in that only pain and waiting. Now I wait and SEE beauty at the same time. While the longing has not changed, the heart of the longer is forever changed.

I want to share a photo that I feel shows a little glimpse of how my waiting and watching has changed. Our last day on the island it rained, and I mean it rained and rained. While most people were on their balcony reading books or in the recreation area playing pool or ping pong, I was on the beach. Josh did not believe me when I told him the sun would eventually shine if we just waited. I knew in my soul it would, and I did what I do. I waited, in the rain, with my book under a huge umbrella when it rained hard. On the beach as close as I could get to the ocean when it would stop. When the sun finally peeked out, I knew it was for me. I felt the SON on my face and I had the sunburn to prove it! I waited and the sun and SON shone on me. That is just another sweet reminder of why I keep watching, because He keeps showing me, and Lord knows I don't deserve it. That's the thing about Mercy, it's free. Reach out and take it.
                                            perfect place to SEE. Psalm 104:1-35
Here is my seat, as close I could get.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Caught off guard

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 ~ But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong

I think its safe to say that at least 90% of the time I am on guard (or mentally prepared) in local public places, especially when I know there will be school age kids around. I like to be on guard in case I run in to some of Jackson’s friends or just see other little boys he knew. It’s never good for me to be caught “off guard”, because it can make me visibly nervous and anxious immediately. I’m sure most people who have lost a loved one do attempt to be mentally prepared when they feel they may come in contact with a person who reminds them of the one they long to be with. To be caught off guard can put me in a bad place, with supernatural speed. It is NEVER, I repeat NEVER the person’s fault that reminds of my Jackson. It’s nobody’s fault, it’s just a part of this grey area I now live in, sometimes things sneak up on me and I’m just not prepared. I can’t walk around in a bubble and I don’t want to. It does me good to see those boys and picture how tall Jackson would be now and imagine how he would have changed….when I’m prepared.

We are currently getting ready to take a trip without the kids, just my husband and I for our 10 year anniversary. I have been excited beyond belief the past few weeks just to be able to spend time with just the man I married and no rush to actually have to “do” anything. I forgot to take into account how the enemy likes to steal my joy, to steal all our joy (especially when I’m preoccupied and not in the word like I need to be.) I have mentioned in another post "The Search"( that feeling of forgetting something very important almost daily. We have been preparing things for Jenna Claire and Jett to help their grandparents who will stay with them while we are gone, and that “forgetting something” feeling has been overwhelming me. What am I forgetting?  Well let’s see, I’m forgetting to give them instructions on doing Jackson’s homework, and all his activities. That gaping hole, I miss my son.

I went to church last night, like I do most Wednesday nights because I’m involved with AWANA and there is nothing in the world better than watching a gym full of kids praising and worshipping through fun songs. As I was looking for Jenna Claire to pick her up and they were singing and dancing, I kept seeing this blonde head from across the room. At first I thought it was my imagination, I’m in that gym every Wednesday night and I have not seen that child. So I moved to get a better view, he looked so much like Jackson from behind that I lost my breath. It was one of Jackson’s very best buddies, tied together at the hip from 3 years old. The way he moves and his hair is the same as Jackson’s. What a gift God gave us when he gave us Tate, a reminder that Jackson was real. He was a real 100% boy with real buddies and he got into a lot of real trouble, and he really is fully alive in Heaven waiting for us to be re united. My point is this, while my guard was down and I got instantly anxious and nauseous at the site of Jacksons buddy and their likeness, (only because I was not prepared, I was preoccupied with our trip) what the enemy meant for harm, God made good and revealed a beautiful reminder.

The enemy does care that our marriage survived the unthinkable, the enemy is disgusted that we made it 10 years, the enemy needs to ruin our vacation with thoughts of my constant search for Jackson. The enemy needs to remind me that we should never celebrate anything in this life, we should be held in bondage by guilt and depression without our oldest son here. The enemy meant me harm and though it hurt to be reminded, it would hurt worse not to have those sweet boy’s as reminders. That is the gift God showed me early this morning. It’s hard to believe that the enemy would care anything about us, after all, isn’t he out trying to destroy nations? You better believe he’s after us, we are the church!  If he breaks my faith in Jesus, I have nothing. If I live in bondage, I’m not living at all. God is just not done with me yet, that much is clear. There will be many times I am caught off guard, and there will be many moments of overwhelming sadness over my longing to be with Jackson again. There will also be many moments of grace and hope that God so freely gives when I realize what is going on and call on Jesus. We are living in a world of constant spiritual warfare, don’t believe me? OPEN YOUR EYES, read the bible. He is near, and the enemy is on the prowl.

Ephesians 6:12  ~For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

Who knows, Maybe one day JC will marry one of Jackson’s buddies and he will be a reminder of the hope I have in Jesus, until I am with my oldest son again in eternity. A sweet reminder of my son Jackson in the face of a son-in-law . It could happen, we know God has a sense of humor, that much is true ;)

                                                           Jackson and Tate best bud's

Friday, September 20, 2013

Love story

Proverbs 3:5-8 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.

I read an advertisement for a vacation aimed at couples that read something like this “For couples who want to be reminded of when they first fell in love.” That got me thinking. I think that I am truly one of the only people who can not identify with that statement. When I married my husband I thought I knew it all. We were in love and there were birds chirping and I was devastated when we had to be apart for any amount of time. He was all I thought about….Is that what they meant in that advertisement? Let me share a little of my own love story with you.

On July 29th, 2004 I laid my eyes on love in the flesh. It was that day, that moment that we had Jackson David that I knew I was wrong about my previous ”idea” of love. I had birthed that beautiful boy with no epidural (not by choice, the thing just wouldn’t work). I had brought that perfect baby into the world with only the help of the good Lord and lots of support  (plus some good pain meds). I had started something and I had finished it,  that baby boy was my first true accomplishment in this world. You see,  I have been known to think something is a good idea and start it, but never really finish it. Having my first child changed all that, I went into labor and I finished it, and I was IN LOVE. I think I had always really thought that I would try and push a time or two and it would be to hard and I would end up having a nice painless little C-section (yes I now know they aren’t nice) and never feel a thing, or really have to do anything. That’s not how labor works in the real world and I’m so thankful for that now. One definition of labor is : Physical or mental exertion, especially when difficult or exhausting; Something produced by work.
I don’t believe that the pain and physical exhaustion of labor is all bad. If I have learned anything in my time on earth its that pain of any kind be it emotional or physical brings about change. The pain of child birth brought me my first glimpse of love without boundaries, that labor pain brought us our first born son.

Pain has many, many faces though, it is not cut and dry. I have had to learn that life is just not black and white, I live in the grey area along with many others. We live in a place that is full of choices that have to made daily now, choices that should never have to be made, but that’s part of living here in the grey areas.  The pain and absolute devastation of losing Jackson almost 6 short years later brought me my first glimpse of what its like to make the choice to keep living without that little boy who showed me true love.  The first choice that had to be made was to keep breathing. I made that choice and I made another choice to lean on my husband and together we hurt like hell, together we changed. Whatever relationship we thought we knew before was gone and in its place was raw truth mixed with pain and respect for one another, we found something more real than any 4 letter word could ever be. Together we chose to focus on our beautiful little princess who desperately needed us and we focused on each other, we submitted to Jesus and let him direct our path.

After all the suffering, Its my thinking that we love differently because we have truly seen each other.  We love because we choose to love each other, in the pain and heartache we grew and through our faith we changed. We have walked a treacherous road together and while God grew us in ways I never knew possible, I pray this is the home stretch now. Pain is pain no matter how you feel it, and when you sit back and look at your hardships you will SEE the changes that took place during the pain. It could be the pain of having a child, pain of saying goodbye to a child, pain of watching your spouse suffer, pain of divorce, physical pain of disease, or the pain of living when you can’t have your hearts desire on Earth. No matter the type of pain, there will be change. I pray you look up in your pain, Acknowledge Jesus and let Him guide you. There is no other way to survive this kind of pain and truly live. I know the alternative , I was there and I’m not going back.

I look back now at the people Josh and I were 10 years ago when we got married and its almost laughable. We really thought we knew something, don’t all 20 something year olds? I did love Josh 10 years ago, but now I’m in love with him and I make the choice to keep loving him (that’s not saying I always like him…. ;-) ). Would I trade Jackson to learn how to love my husband better or to grow in my faith? Of course not, but a choice in that matter was never offered. However, the choice to grow in the midst of horrendous pain and trust Jesus was offered  and we took it.
In the words of Mercy Me ”The hurt and the Healer”

Sometimes I feel it’s all that I can do
Pain so deep that I can hardly move
Just keep my eyes completely fixed on You
Lord take hold and pull me through
So here I am
What’s left of me
Where glory meets my suffering
I’m alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I fall into your arms open wide
When the hurt and the healer collide
471441_404227376321164_873764952_o (2)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Faithful and True

John 1:1                    
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Last night as I was laying in bed, I was very restless (that part is normal). I could not get comfortable and when I prayed it felt "off". After a few minutes of me praying and tossing around I finally decided to change up my prayer a bit. I asked God to remove the obstacle that I felt between us as I tried to find rest. When He showed me what the problem was, I was relieved. It was that I have not been in the word the last day or so. Time has interfered with my reading and prayer time and He was gently reminding me of that fact. So feeling better knowing what it was that felt so "off" about my prayers I tried sleep. Again, not happening. The next prayer I said was something of this nature, "Lord please help me rest, my brain is fried from to much computer stuff at work and I need to pray for my friends who need you, I will make changes and start back in the word tomorrow, I SEE now that being out of the word has caused me to start that spiritual lean, yet again. Please help me rest tonight"......Still I'm wide awake and I feel this response
"You realize that Knowing is only half the battle right? If you are not in the word yet and still putting it off until its convenient then what good was it for me to show you the problem? Now you know and still you lay."
I'm sure you can imagine my response, it was a silent Thank you Jesus, I went to get my bible and dig in.

Ephesians 6:12: For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places].

There are many things about this precious time I had with the Lord that I learned. He reminded me that anything we know and don't act on is utterly useless. For instance as Christians we are all aware that we are living spiritual warfare daily. Our Jesus is under attack and the way we live to follow Jesus is under attack. So you see, knowing that battle is growing daily and quickly heading our way we have to prepare. If we don't prepare, then it did us absolutely no good to even know. The Lord also reminded me that I'm fully equipped for battle, I just have to remember to put on my armor and use my bible , His word is alive and its sharper than any sword. I have been under attack spiritually to the point that all I could pray was "father I believe, help my unbelief " scripture holds more power than we give it credit for, its God breathed as in by the creator of the universe !
Ephesians 6:13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
The days seem to be getting worse and worse. My friends who I love dearly are suffering with faint relief in sight. A beautiful young man was shot while jogging because some kids "just felt like killing someone." Today, a 5 year old brought a gun to school in Memphis and it went off in his backpack, no one was hurt but....WHAT?  Another man goes into an elementary school and had full intentions of killing with those 500 rounds of amo he had in his duffle bag.
We need a revival, we need to get stirred up in our spirit and pray. We need to be prayed up to deal with this kind of tragedy.
I choose to trust Jesus when he reminded me to get prayed up and put on His armor, I'm  choosing to not only to be a "knower" but I want to be a "mover" get up, get suited up and get down on my knees. If revival doesn't come soon to the USA I shutter to think of the USA my kids will know. If we are not prayed up and prepared how can we stand in the gap for hurting people who just can't stand for themselves right now? We have to pray and stay in the word. Continue to stand up for what is right and show the world what Jesus looks like. I want someone to look at me and see my savior all over me. That's who I want to be.
Thanks for not letting me rest last night Lord, the lesson was so much more important. Pray for my friends as they are afraid, sick and in pain. Cancer does not care who you are, or how strong of a believer you are it will try to destroy you and not just physically. Many people are suffering in the world, just turn on the news and start praying. I have been called specifically for 2 families currently and I ask that you join me. These 2 families have a hard road ahead and their journey with cancer is very draining.

We must be prayed up in order to stand in the gap for the Steve Dillard family and for the Lyndsey Taylor family. The Lord is preparing many to continue to stand in the gap for you. Love you all !!

I keep reminding myself these are battles, but the war is already won. Until I die, this is who I long to see coming in the clouds. Faithful and True. And FYI I bet he had to move Jackson off of His horse :)


Monday, August 12, 2013

Realizing the obvious

Matthew 11:29
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

I have felt very out of sorts lately. I have not felt like sharing my life or journey with anyone let alone strangers on my blog. I am gonna attempt it anyway because when I'm called to share I want to be obedient even when I don't "feel like it". I never said this was gonna be easy or that the entry's are good. They are just mine, my heart and my journey that I'm led to share in order that it may help another. 
Last night while I was reading before bed, I realized something. Its gonna be kind of hard to explain and maybe awkward (whats new right?). So here it is If you have a child in heaven and you are a follower of Christ you have surely noticed this.....We are for the most part all alike....... not only do we have in common that we have children in Heaven, or that we are living through Christ in the midst of a horrible tragedy.  We are alike in our thinking, speaking and feelings. I have read so many books on grief and the loss of a child that there is no way I can count them. I am very selective (learned the hard way) about what I read and who wrote it and who I take advice on healing from.  The books I read I usually research first, I want to know the writer and his/ her beliefs before I allow my heart to soak up their experience and what they have learned. Reading can be very dangerous when you are searching for help anywhere you can find it. A broken heart and spirit is more vulnerable than any other. So guard your heart and be mindful of the person you are reading about or speaking to. Its easy to get confused or to start to believe things that are just not true of God when your hurt. All it takes is the wrong word at the opportune time.  

Proverbs 4:23 Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it

Okay, back to my original thought (shocking, I know). I am blown away at the likeness of us in this group of parents with children in Heaven, or really anyone who lost someone they loved more than life. If we were followers of Christ before our loss and chose to seek Jesus in our loss, then man we grew in faith with supernatural speed in our pits! I mean not only did we grow and mature in our faith, but our way of speaking and our very spirit's seem "alike". The longing to know everything we can about Heaven, the way we feel and SEE the sufferings of this world, the way we love with our whole hearts, the words we use to explain the pain of it all. I stand amazed at this realization, how can I just now notice how very much we are alike? 

I noticed from the beginning of our walk with grief that others living with grief were "like"us, but I didn't realize why or maybe I never considered the "why". When we allow Jesus to carry us, teach us and grow us we become more like Him which is the point right? I have said 100 times that there are times I feel so close to Jesus that if he showed up in disguise, I would recognize Him. I have no doubt that's true of any of us who have given our grief to Him and let Him carry our burden. There is no doubt that the trials I live with every day are not trials that one can live through (and actually live, not just exist) without Christ. It takes supernatural intervention to actually "live" again. I have days and sometimes weeks that I feel like I'm spiritually sideways (like that V8 commercial when the people are all leaning as they walk) I need Jesus to come hold me tight , like when someone hugs you and pops your back....that kind of hug. Nice and tight, and straiten my back and my spine again. I don't want to live in a spiritual slump or walk around "off" or leaning one way or another. I want to walk with my back strait and my eyes focused up and on Jesus who saves me over and over again. 
I love to read and talk to my co-sufferers because they lift me up and help me shift my focus back where it needs to be. I hate that I am a part of this group but man it's amazing to SEE how we are all so much alike. I never understood it but now I do, just like that, He showed me. Jesus showed us Himself because we let him and that forever changed and bonded us in this grief stricken group of followers. We know because we learned from the same Jesus, how could we not be and speak like each other?! 

As I type this I mentally picture Jesus smiling at my revelation :)
We are children of one father, we made the choice in horrendous circumstances to focus on Him and that forever bonded us. We are like Him in ways we never would have been pre-tragedy because we SEE now. Don't get me wrong, we SEE Jesus, that does not mean we understand His ways. When all you have is Jesus to get you through moment by moment you tend to listen for His voice in any storm, not just the life altering ones. That goes back to the saying "Faith isn't faith until its all your holding on to". When we are forced to choose to live in faith again or stay spiritually dead we are absolutely changed. If I learned one thing from Him in my storm its that cause and effect are a human thing. There are not always reasons for everything that happens. We have to stop looking for the effect of our loss. Maybe there isn't one, or maybe there is. We wont know this side of Heaven and that's the way it is. Stay focused on Eternity and it will be here before we know it. Hold on to faith like its all you have, because the truth is. Just ask any of my co-sufferers, I feel confident you will find the same way of thinking.

The most famous co-sufferers I have ever met, yet we still have the same mind set. amazing.                                           Stevin Curtis and Mary Beth Chapman & Me

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Trouble lurks






1 Peter 5:8-9  Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

As a follower of Christ one of the hardest things for me to do is be like Christ. Who can be like God? Not I...... However I can ATTEMPT to be Christ like and keep at it day after day.
One thing that has been on my mind constantly the last week or so, is this. In order to be like Christ I need to also recognize Satan. If I don't recognize Satan then I get stuck in trap after trap and let me tell you this, when you start to look for the enemy, you will know him. The more things we do to show love and to be the body of Jesus the more the enemy lurks:
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6: 12
What makes us think that the enemy ceases to "mess" with us at this day in time? Are we any different now than the people of Jesus time? We may be different, but we face the same old enemy. He is invisible to us, but he is here and he is running things down here on Earth. His time is short though and he knows it. The fact is, Satan is real and he really is messing with you. I have found a few ways in my own life that I sometimes recognize the enemy. One is this, remember the saying "Divide and Conquer" ? The enemy loves to do just that. If he can divide or isolate us from others and make us start to argue or feel superior to another person then he has begun to conquer us. If we are divided from one another we are not functioning correctly, that goes for family and friends. If we loose sight of our attempt to be like Christ and the meaning it has for others, then he has begun to conquer us. The thing is, we can make a choice to not allow the enemy to divide us in the first place. Have you ever got into a sticky situation and thought "whoa, how did this happen?" (I haven't because I'm perfect ;-p ....) When this happens just back up and pray. See what Jesus shows you. Lots of times I see that something I said was not how I meant it to be, or maybe I over react to something someone says to me. This is Satan, that's all it is. To be human is to sin and sin is from Satan, when we are not like Jesus then its Satan working through us. Telling us lies, throwing fuel on a fire that never should have been lit.
I came across this scripture in a bible study I'm reading, and it stuck in my brain (that's usually a sign that Jesus is talking to me). If I'm supposed to be like Christ, and recognize Satan for who and what he is, shouldn't I learn how to deal with him to?
Matthew 16:23
23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
Human concerns.....human concerns. Yes, that's me, I'm like Peter with my human concerns! I'm human and my concerns when I'm not in the will of God are mine and they are selfish human concerns. Peter was looking out for himself he could not stand the thought of what Jesus was teaching, Peter was human and Satan used that. Jesus put him in his place though and I love it. I love that Jesus put him in his place and said it with all the authority of heaven and earth. I can just feel the authority. GET BEHING ME SATAN! maybe we should try that? when I step back and see what that there is turmoil where there should not be, I will pray and tell Satan to get behind me. Satan has no authority over us, we are children of the one true king (My daughters favorite song!) ! He can mess with us, but he can't have us. We just need to learn how to recognize him and put him in his place.....behind us. Another place I am noticing frequent attacks is in my mind. I will pray for something and knowing Jesus hears me, I continue to worry and the worrying becomes excessive to the point that I may get sick. This is particularly true about my family. My baby has been sick and I prayed for Jesus to heal him, I knew he heard me because I was instantly more calm. Later in the day when Jett's fever shot back up I started freaking out. My thoughts were racing I was thinking the worst possible things. Things I never should have been thinking but losing Jackson made me understand too clearly that bad things happen in a split second. So you see, I was physically ill and heading to the car to take Jett to the hospital, then I stopped to pray. I felt Jesus smiling and could picture him shaking his head at me and saying "whoa now, you gave this to me like hours ago and now your sick over it? Has he gotten worse? No he has not. Let me work and tell Satan to get behind you." and I was instantly at peace and I mean that.  
Growing in my faith is hard and it's lesson after lesson. As long as I learn though, I'll continue to share it. Maybe it will help you, maybe it will just entertain you. Either way, if it brings glory to Jesus then I'll share it!

Sweet Jett man :)


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Suffering to "get" it

1 John 4: 7-8
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love
It is my personal belief that no matter how much we love Christ or where we are in our spiritual maturity, we just can NOT "get" what life is really about until one of two things happens. Either we suffer pain and loss so great that it completely devours us, OR it is a spiritual gift from God. I refer to it as a gift because that type of faith is not easily obtained, trust me.
While it may be true that everyone suffers, (and I believe that with my whole heart) there are only a few who have been all consumed by it. By this I am speaking of those of us who have been rocked to our core and changed from the inside out because of our sufferings. If your every thought has not been consumed with pain or thoughts of how you will survive without your child or how your children may have to survive without you. You have not suffered the intense, raw pain I'm speaking of. Let me be clear in that I am not saying that we don't desperately need our friends who have not been through this kind of pain, we do! However, we need other sufferers who “get” us as well. We are an ever growing group of people who have been called to hold out our hand and sometimes our hearts to help others who suffer. We never know what goes through the mind of someone in that kind of pit. Its possible they can't SEE Jesus through the pain, but he is there and he is counting on US to be the body who steps up to hold them. Show them who we are and tell them we are still standing through our pain and suffering because Jesus holds us up. We can’t just hope they know we are there when they need us. We have to be intentional and step out on faith and just show up at their door.  
The longing for heaven like we who suffer have, comes from an almost urgent anticipation of the day our savior will wipe away every tear. On that day we will meet our savior and we will be whole and we will be WITH our children, ALL of them. We will be happy and whole again.
I have mentioned before that when I began my climb out of that horrible pit after Jackson went to heaven, I noticed immediately that my eyes were different.  The Lord had literally given me a brand new pair of eyes that took a long time (and still a work in progress) to get used to. I SEE things now. I'm literally not the same person I was before Jackson went to Heaven. Its hard to explain, but here is a prime example. I don't remember ever seeing someone in public and going out of my way to speak to them before my new eyes, in fact if memory serves me correctly (which is a questionable spot to even go) If I saw someone I would go the other way to avoid them all together. I mean who wants to get stuck talking to someone when you’re just in the grocery store to grab one thing? Well, me….now anyway. I get that I need to at least acknowledge that I see you right in front me. I can only imagine what people think of who I was before. Actually, I don't want to. It breaks my heart and brings me to my knees when I think about who I was before. I am literally heart broken as I type this thinking about what it took to make me SEE.
It should never take tragedy to obtain this kind of faith, but sadly it does. It does take that kind of suffering and up close wrestling with Jesus to make you SEE the face of your savior. SEE how our savior will come here and change your heart and heal your spirit. He does not only sit on a throne all day, He is here. and He is near to the broken hearted and he saves the crushed in spirit! I have SEEN what he can do. I don’t believe you obtain new eyes until you have seen the savior who offers them. You may have wrestled him for you new eyes or you were gifted with them.
Psalm 34:18
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.Lots of people know Jesus and are just as saved as Billy Graham and still are not gifted to "get" it. The thing is, I don't expect them to and I don't want them to ever have to "get" it. If its not a gift strait from God then you suffered to be able to finally "get" it. To get it is to finally “get” what it’s like to know without a doubt that this world is not our home, it’s NOT OUR HOME.
There are song writers who have never gone through what some of us do, yet they write the most beautiful lyrics that only one who "gets" it should sing. What a perfect thing that is, to be able to“get” it as a gift!
I know this is a long blog but for some reason my heart just weighs 1000 pounds today. I SEE so many who may think they "get" it but then they say or do something that proves opposite and let me say this THAT IS OK! Be thankful that you don't, I mean that. It’s a blessing that you don’t fully “get” it. We need those of you who have not suffered, we need you to intercede for us and stand when we cannot. God gave us all a purpose, those who “get” it and those who don’t. Though I may be jealous of those who don’t I know I need you every hour of every day. Though we may have different eyes we are all the body of Christ. It takes each of us to help pull the others up off of their faces when it’s just too hard. We need you, I need you.
To those of us who unfortunately do "get" it (and got it by suffering) we need to step up and show others that Jesus saves and He comes here to do it. This world means nothing, its only a second on an eternity time scale. We have got to put down the things that don't matter and pick up the people who do. Stop worrying, that’s not our job. Our only job on this earth is to bring glory to God.
Lord knows I need all my warriors no matter what eyes you have, if you “get” it or don’t. I know I need you, especially in the next week as Jackson's birthday approaches. Please keep those of us who suffer in your prayers. We need all the prayers we can get to remain upright, every day. Every single day we need you until the day our Lord returns we need you.