Monday, May 16, 2016

No Pulse

I did not know there was an Enemy in the camp.

Here I was, fully immersed in the life and the kingdom that I had so carefully arranged and had dominion over. 
The dishes were washed AS they got dirty and I implemented the same strategy for the relentless laundry.
Back-to-back dentist appointments were scribbled in red ink for Tuesday. 
Said a prayer for my neighbors, daughter's dog AND the pope on Thursday.
A family reunion complete with a bubbling casserole and peanut butter whoopee pies tucked into a picnic basket for Saturday.
And always, always church on Sunday. I was the pastor's wife. I needed to show up.
Every morning as soon as I became conscious, my legs would swing out of bed and my feet would hit the floor running. My husband and four squeaky-clean children needed me for their very survival.
The floors had to be swept and vacuumed, the dog bed needed fluffed, there was a glaring streak on the window that faced the morning sunrise that I never stopped long enough to watch and there was only one pickle left in the pickle jar for goodness sake. 

And while I was debating dill versus sweet in the grocery aisle, a battle raged inside my little boy's body.
An unseen and aggressive cancer was quietly grasping and clawing and consuming his entire right kidney for its own and creeping its way to nearby blood vessels and lymph nodes.
We did not know that time was against us.
The only red flag flapping gently in the wind of life wasn't very red at all; fevers that came on swiftly and left even more abruptly only drove me to buy more Tylenol and stock up on freeze pops.
We were all sleeping soundly at night while the disease multiplied and advanced.

As clueless as I was about this nefarious cancer being camped out among us, even more unaware was I, that a different sort of enemy had long ago coiled itself around my beating little-girl heart and had stolen my identity, dreams, hope and purpose.
Any and all red flags on this sinking ship of mine were lost on me.
I was numb.
I barely had a pulse.

Little did I know that a daring and risky rescue for my heart was being ordered and executed as my own son's imminent battle with The Beast began.
I can almost hear the valiant call to arms with swords clashing, arrows launching and shields deflecting. Here began a frightening and exhausting, earthly fight for my child's life and an all out, unseen, spiritual war to cut me loose and lead me out of the dragon's lair.....


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Popsicle Stick Cross

 I've been asked to pray about and share my one word for this new year.

One word that God has impressed my heart with.
A word that I will take with me all year long and know that it is mine.
My one-word-gift.
Given to me by my Father.

 I typically resist being boxed in by a request like this when I write.
Rules, scripts and boundaries suck the life out of even the smallest inclination to put my heart on paper. If you look back at my recent posts on this blog of mine, you won't find any. I have not published anything for an entire year.

I've been silent.

My life took a road that I never would have chosen, Had I been given a choice.
A road that was littered with betrayal, loss and eventually suicidal thoughts and intent.
Who chooses to watch their long-awaited-for dream be bulldozed into a pile of smoking rubble?
And who chooses to lose hope?
To lose heart?

But I realized that this request to share my one word is an invitation. 
An invitation to use my voice. To take a break on hiding my own story.
Because God made us to be known. 

For the past year I've been finding out who God is. And who He isn't.
Who I am. And who I am not.
Past trauma and the resulting belief that I needed to shut everything down that moved or breathed or had life in me, kept me far and away from living authentically. And it kept me from knowing the truth. That the God I thought I knew is not that kind of God at all.

God is love.

I've known that since I could hike my own tights up under my little skirt in the bathroom stall of our local church. Since I could wrap my fingers around a blue crayon and color in those exact words on my Sunday School take-home-paper. And glue those letters onto a popsicle stick cross.

But those three words were not mine to keep.
I hastily folded my paper up each Sunday and dropped it into the trash.
My cross was broken and discarded before I ever reached home.
God's love was a concept that I bravely denied. Passing it on to the next deserving kid in line.
I knew without question that I was not ok.

There were other shameful words that had been given to me that kept me from receiving any kind of good gift. Any kind of truth.
And especially any kind of love.

I've traveled a few miles since then.
And God has persisted and pursued in His desire to introduce Himself to me.
As He IS.
And to open my bolted heart on who I am.
To Him.

I'm Beloved.

This is who He says I am.
It has taken months upon months of personal, intimate, healing moments to be able to open my hands up and receive that word.

BE.....exist, have life, breathe, draw breath.

LOVED....cared very much for, felt deep affection for, thought the world of, devoted to.....a feeling of warm personal attachment....all arising from kinship or close friendship. 

BELOVED....much adored, treasured one who is affectionately and unconditionally loved.

What kind of God loves like that?

It is the same God who helped me learn to pull my tights on by myself.
Who shaped my unskilled fingers around a blue crayon.
And who wept at the sight of a little girl lost.
The God who rescued her and brought her to rest in His unsearchable love.

“Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders.” Deut. 33:12

I'm linking up today with my favorite blogger, Bonnie Grey at Beloved Brews.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

This picture makes me smile.... husband, Jeff in Uganda holding two little girls being adopted by two American families...

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

When God hands me His Word through the voice of someone who says it so well, it has to be shared.
I can't keep this all to myself.
I'm generous like that.

"God has frequently to knock the bottom board out of your experience in order to get you into contact with Himself.

Faith by its very nature must be tried, and the real trial of faith is not that we find it difficult to trust God, but that God's character has to be cleared in our own mind.
Faith in its actual working out has to go through spells of unsyllabled isolation. Never confound the trial of faith with the ordinary discipline of life. Much that we call the trial of faith is the inevitable result of being alive.

Faith in the Bible is faith in God against everything that contradicts Him--I will remain true to God's character whatever He may do. 'Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him'--this is the most sublime utterance of faith in the whole of the Bible."

~Oswald Chambers~

For the record, I had to look up the word "sublime": -of such excellence, grandeur or beauty as to inspire great admiration or awe.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Stand Still

Relentless Love....

Coming and going....

Like the waves that roll up on a rocky beach in Maine.

And when the tide is coming in, the water of those waves comes closer and closer to where I am standing.

Almost touching my bare feet.

Not quite.

But it will.

If I stand still long enough.

The water will reach me.

To Be Continued......

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Romania Bound!

My son, Zachary, is a junior at Malone University in Canton, Ohio majoring in social work and English and he has joined a team of fellow students and professors who are traveling to Sighisora, Romania from May 16th to June 6th!

This mission will enable Zachary and his teammates to work alongside Veritas with many opportunities to serve needy and at-risk children and youth, disadvantaged elderly, and people of all ages with disabilities. At the Veritas website you must click on the British flag in the upper right hand corner to read through the site in English!

He will be staying with host families in Romania and have the opportunity to get to know them personally. This trip is a perfect fit for him as he loves interacting with people! Projects and activities will include after school programs, home visits, an elderly club, public school English classes and work projects at various sites.

This is Zachary's first missions trip out of the country and! His team has been working hard to sell candy and sandwiches around campus to raise funds for this mission. We are also having a ham and chicken pot-pie dinner on April 27th at our church and Zach will be there ready to serve you!

He needs 2,500 dollars to reach his goal to cover his costs of travel and in country expenses. If you can't make it to the dinner and would love to help a young college student step into serving the people of Romania, please donate HERE! 

As his parents we are proud of Zachary and his heart for people of all walks of life and for God. Thanks SO much for giving towards this trip and for your friendship and love towards our family!

Monday, March 4, 2013

"I Am Not Shy..."

  Eleven year-old Wamaitha  is one of the children I sponsor in Kenya through Compassion International. This little girl came into my life at a time when I was NOT looking for another child to add to my Compassion family. I was instead heavily involved in advocating for Compassion and seeking to get others involved with this ministry. Michelle Wright from Blogging From The Boonies and a fellow advocate for Compassion, posted a challenge on Facebook to go to the website, find a child who had been waiting longer than six months and then share that child through social media in hopes to find them a sponsor.

I took that challenge, clicked the link to waiting children, and there she was. Bilha Wamaitha. Age ten. Kenya. Waiting for a total of 780 days (which I calculated after discussing her history on the phone with a CI representative.) The plan was to post her profile to FB and reel in a wonderful friend and sponsor for her. And instead she became mine.

I don't really know what it was........the red socks......her shy countenance......her long wait......God's insistence....

I just knew that this one was my girl and there was no way I was going to be able to actively look for a sponsor for her. She was already home.

I have received several letters from her and her personality has been developing as we correspond back and forth. I just love these little details she has given me...

"Personally I am not shy but I don't like talking in public."
"My dad washes cars for others and earns money to feed us."
"I fear being extracted a tooth."
"I am afraid of mosquitoes which cause malaria."
"I would like to visit you in your country."

Recently I was given the opportunity to send her a gift....whatever I could fit in a gallon-sized zip-loc travel with a fellow Compassion sponsor on her trip to Kenya. This is an incredible opportunity as we are not allowed to mail packages to our kids due to mailing restrictions. The only way to send them something other than flat paper items is to travel a million miles TO your child, or send something with someone else who is going that way!

One word.....RARE.

So I knew I wanted her to have a doll. And the doll needed to have a few outfits. I also stuffed a few clothing items in for Wamaitha and some candy to fill up the small pockets of air left. I could barely zip-loc it, but I got it closed, mailed it off to my traveling friend.......and completely forgot I ever sent it.

Until Saturday when I opened my mailbox and found a letter from Wamaitha with this picture of her with her new doll.

In her letter she thanks me for the "beautiful gift which made me so happy" and she tells me she named her doll Julie Wambui.
 I like that.
 It rhymes.
But what I love most is that SMILE.

She also drew me this picture of a helicopter which I thought was pretty impressive!

  YOU have that same opportunity to bring light and hope and joy into a child's life. I am positive that the smile is there whenever she receives a letter from me......that a gift is not a necessary part of the equation. I can't close this without inviting you to join me in Changing The Story for one needy child through Compassion International. 

Leave me a comment if you do decide to get involved as I'd love to hear about it!