Tuesday, December 20, 2016

My CHRISTmas gift

Revelation 12:11 And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death
Testify : to bear witness; give or afford evidence.

With Christmas rapidly approaching my anxiety and general weirdness have been off the charts. My brain is scattered more than normal and I am forced to just sit down and stop. I can't express how draining it is to just try and act "normal", especially when you are in 24/7 jittery, anxious, missing something and someone mode.
One example of what happens when the "normal" facade is failing is as follows. Yesterday I was out shopping and I had a major case of fight or flight and had to get the heck out of that store. Nothing particular happened that I know of, but I had to go sit in the car for like 30 min (with some chocolate) to get up enough strength to go back in. I had gifts that needed to be bought, I had to go back in for my family. This. Is. Exhausting. I think as the person suffering through it, we are the last to realize sometimes why we are so fatigued and frustrated. It takes a intentional slow down. I want to share some things that may seem odd, but I can't ignore them and I know by reading Rev 12:11 (and many many other signals that include various songs and daily devotionals pressing my heart to continue sharing my testimony) that I am called to share what the Lord does for me. I want others to feel what I feel and I believe He wants me to share so that others may SEE what I SEE.  In all the anxiety and rushing around this time of year it's easy to get distracted and miss what the Lord may be whispering to our anxious and hurting hearts. I am guilty of knowing something is being said to me but not slowing down to listen, that is me missing a blessing. That is me missing out on his calming presence in an attempt to do it my way, by staying busy. When I am finally forced to slow down due to the overwhelming anxiety and just pray, I am always left in awe and I am always blessed. 
I gave an example of what happens in my life when I do things my way (emergency chocolate and prayer meeting in the Old Navy parking lot), here is an example of how it works when I'm being still and not rushing around, when I am in his word and just being present here and now. 

A few nights ago, I was drying my daughter's hair and just talking to her when I stepped on something in the bathroom floor. I leaned down to see what it was, it was a rubber bracelet in the shape of a cowboy hat. Understand that this was one of a million that belonged to Jackson, that was a "thing" for the little kids about 6-7 years ago, to wear all the rubber bracelets you can. I asked my daughter where it came from, she said she had never seen it.....in comes my 5 year old son, so I point to the bracelet and ask him where he got it. He says he has never seen it. I know it was Jackson's and I have not seen one of those bracelets in over 6 years. It could not have fallen from anything in my bathroom, if there are any of those bracelets in my house they would be put away, safe with the things in his trunk. There is no reasonable explanation, but there is Jesus. I don't know what or who He uses to send us these gifts , maybe an angel?  I have no idea, I only know that it was a sweet reminder that Jackson is not forgotten and our pain is not forgotten this season. A CHRISTmas gift.

I took a photo of that sweet little gift and I prayed that I would be able to slow down as to SEE more of the personal gifts our Lord sends, I also uploaded a photo of Jackson wearing the bracelets, look at his left arm!
The Lord cares, He knows our hurt!  We serve a living savior who has and does feel pain. He chose to be born into a broken and sinful world and in his time on Earth he felt grief, pain, loss, joy, betrayal and faith among countless other emotions.  How can we forget that He feel's our pain when he see's his children hurting? I hope my sweet reminder helps you to slow down and SEE that the Lord is good.

John 1:9-14  The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.  He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.  He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him,  who believed in his name,  he gave the right  to become  children of God, who were born,  not of blood  nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.  And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of  grace and  truth.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

6 years later


Romans 12:12

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer

I am not an emotional person, I'm not typically a crier and I don't usually get excited (good or bad) outwardly. I learned at a very early age to just keep it in, I'm not sure if that's a gift or a curse. It certainly results in total devastation when the dam that holds back the emotions breaks. There are times that I think I should be crying, (as in a totally appropriately sad situation)but I just can't. I also get very uncomfortable when there is a lot of emotion flying around, mostly because I just can't deal. I suppose I am just basically socially awkward at times, I am a work in progress no doubt!

I said all of that to say this, yesterday the dam broke and let me tell you, hoover had nothing on Ronnie's emotional dam. 
Jackson's birthday is Friday and I felt the numbness and the lack of caring what is happening around me settling in. That is a gift I believe, to protect me from the pain of constantly realizing my child won't be here to celebrate or to even turn 12 years old. He is forever almost 6. I went to the cemetery because I felt pulled (mothers instinct I suppose) to be near him. I don't go there much at all because I know in my very bones that he is NOT there, he is in Heaven and not even studying his earthly birthday!Yet my flesh was longing for his flesh. As I sat in my car just staring at his name on headstone, I felt that old familiar crushing pain in my chest. That pain that is my heart trying to beat despite not being whole anymore, the pain of not understanding "why me?". And then the tears came and I can't describe the pain and loneliness I felt, there just are no words. Then the rain came, it was literally pouring from the sky. As I looked out the window covered in rain I felt this scripture whispered into my heart and mind:

John 11:35
Jesus wept

I am not saying that the rain was just for me, but who is to say is wasn't? Maybe God used the rain to speak to my lonely heart in that moment. I was able to raise my head and I no longer felt alone in that moment. The crying did not cease and neither did the tears, my breath did not come back immediately either.  I simply knew that I was not alone and for that moment, it was enough. I watched it rain, I cried for the life my son doesn't get to have,  and I grieved hard for my husband and other children. I did all of this while watching it rain and knowing that Jesus cries with us and he was hurting with me. 

Thanks for traveling this crazy journey with me, I know it's hard to read but I also know that sharing is what God wants me to do. May he use my grief for his glory and may he PLEASE return soon!

NEEDTOBREATHE, Be here long:
And though my heart may be in pieces
My mind is still set on you

And though I can't keep it together
I know that you want me to

Oh I'm swimming in the grief
and there's no anchor that hold me down

And I don't want any relief 
'cause i don't want to let you go right now 

Close my eyes and think of you
Go to sleep and dream of you
We don't get to be here long


Monday, March 14, 2016

The gift of Perseverance

~Perseverance: steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.

You don't go through spiritual warfare and live in the deepest pits of grief and come out not recognizing Satan when you encounter him. 
As surely as I recognize My saviors hand on my shoulder, I SEE the devil's schemes as clearly. I don't think anyone can truly experience the personal healing hand of God and not come out with a new set of eyes, at least that is true for me. 
I have spoken of the pit of grief many times, it is the most lonely and ugly place anyone could experience and I would not wish it on anyone. I say that to say this, I would not change my experience. I was not who God intended me to be before my trials and losing our son. I was luke warm and it was not pretty.
I have come to believe that when Jesus brought me out of that pit on the other side he gave me a gift, I believe my spiritual gift is "perseverance". That may not sound like much of a gift to you, but its everything to me. Not only do I endure the trials of this life and still have JOY, but I endure with the ability to show others that they can too, I persevere in spite of the trials, I grow because of them!

When I think of the cost of my families spiritual growth I get upset (hello, I'm human!). Then, I think of the cost Jesus paid, and I am humbled quickly. Is it fair or right that some families have to suffer so much ? Nope, but he does not leave us without hope and the intelligence to SEE Satan's attacks as they come. The more we pray and turn to God in trials the harder Satan comes at us. I will just have to use my personal gift of perseverance in Christ and keep moving. 
Trials are part of spiritual growth and Lord knows we have been through them in our home, losing our son was torment, but we put our heads down, prayed and we endured the storm, we still do. Together my family is stronger than ever because of hardships. I don't see an end them anytime soon, but doesn't that just mean God has something huge in store for us? The hardest battles are dealt to the strongest warriors, so I'm told :) 

James 1:12
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.