Fainting and then Flying ~ When the Helper Comes

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And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever. John 14:16

It was last Wednesday night. It wasn’t the first time this has happened to me, but it still takes me by surprise when it does. It’s happened three other times in my life, but never to the point that I actually fainted – lost consciousness. I went down.

Yes, I went down, friends. ALL the way down. And in that down, I was truly lifted up. I was kept, comforted, and helped.

But, being a human, made of flesh, I was terrified at first. As it was happening, I felt panicked. I felt and thought to myself “am I going to die this time ~ is this it? Is this the end of the road?”

And then the Helper came.

I was watching a tutorial about skin care, as I am about to start helping one of my children to clear up their acne and I have much to learn about proper facial and hygiene techniques. I admit, I was getting a little bit grossed out by what I was seeing on the video. I took my night time pills and vitamins. Usually, I then have about 20 minutes before the melatonin-type substance my doctor give me kicks in and I can go to sleep.

Suddenly, I felt overwhelming waves of nausea. My extremeties went numb, my head started spinning, and my breathing became extremely shallow. I stood up. “Must get to the bathroom down the hall and get to my phone.” Everyone else had already gone to bed.

I tend not to be ready for bed until about 11 pm. The rest of my family turns in a bit earlier than that. So I was alone. Or so I thought.

Suddenly, as I am moving toward the hall, everything zeroes in and goes black. I wake up because I hear “CRUNCH”. I am on the floor in the dark hallway. No phone. No nothing.

I don’t know if the crunch was my chin or the ice that had fallen out of my water bottle I was carrying and now was laying on top of. But the Helper came. The Helper woke me up and then He stayed with me the whole time!

It’s beautiful and awesome the way the Helper works things out for us. He knew that I would respond to coaching. At first, I thought “I coached myself through this.” Then, I realized that it wasn’t me at all.

You just fainted….you are okay. Just lay here. Do not move yet. It’s okay. You will be able to call for help soon if you need to. But right now we just need to stay right here.”

Fear. Panic. But a very strong logical presence and voice of reason telling me to LISTEN.

I stayed put. I stayed face down on the ice cubes. Funny how they had all fallen to be right beneath me. They soothed me. I didn’t care about my compulsive need to have everything neat. It did try to capture me for a moment, but then the voice told me that I should leave them there, not worry about them, and let them help me. The ice did help me. The Helper told me that it would.

“You need to start taking deep breaths. Your body has not got enough oxygen flowing through it. There…see? The tingling and numbness is gone now. Stay on the ice. Keep breathing deep, but don’t move yet. You can crawl to the kitchen and get your phone in a minute. You aren’t going to die. I am not leaving.”

Then, suddenly, another voice interrupts. “WHY aren’t you praying? Why are you so concerned with the physiological aspect of this only? This is really sad that you aren’t praying. It’s the first thing you should have done.” Condemnation in the midst of even this. The enemy was zeroing in for the attack.  But he did not win.

I realized this morning that the interrupting voice was a deceiving one. I had tried to make myself start praying at the time, only to be brought right back to the calming, coaching, voice of wisdom. I couldn’t focus on prayer and I felt condemned and sad about that. That voice that interrupted was ME. It was the enemy trying to distract me from the Spirit of the Lord who was there to help me. The Helper had this under control!

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. Romans 8:26

So yesterday (Thursday), I thought I had coached myself through this ordeal. I thought it was sad that I didn’t pray first, coach later. I thought the voice telling me I should have been praying was the Holy Spirit and the coaching voice was Annie.

I had it backwards. I know – I just KNOW, that the devil was trying to deceive me. I was already being prayed over. I was already right in the palm of the Lord’s hands.

God helps us in ways that go far beyond our understanding. He is Big enough to help us through the situation and the prayer is there for us already if we are under duress.

Yesterday I thought “This is why no one should be alone when it comes time to die – so they don’t forget what is most important – to pray.” But I was wrong. I was dead wrong to be thinking that! God showed this to me clearly when I did my devotions and prayer time with him last night.

The Helper WILL come. He’s already there. Even and especially if we are alone, friends. The Helper is with us.

I was able to get to my daughter for assistance in due time. I found out that I just had probably had a small anxiety attack which probably caused a rapid drop in blood pressure or blood sugar. Don’t worry for me, friends – I feel fine! It’s physiological. It’s about these crazy changes my body and hormones are causing within me. My doctors are aware of this and helping me through this transition.

But most of all, the Helper is with me.

I don’t want to die alone when the time comes. But I know that no matter what, I won’t. I am His child. I am filled with the Spirit of the Lord. He lives inside of me until the very last breath. He will remain with me even after that. This is what I have learned through various experiences in my life ~ especially the really scary ones.

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. John 14:16-17

It really is true. God’s promise is TRUE. We should rejoice! We will never be alone, friends. We are kept. We are treasured. We are never to be abandoned.

So today, will you help me to kill fear? Will you help me to kill loneliness and isolation and panic and worry? Will you ask for the Helper to meet you and gird you with Truth, Wisdom, Love, Comfort, Peace and Joy? Will you?

Our hope is in Him, and Him alone. He strengthens us even in the midst of our utter weakness. Yes, even if we are laying on the floor and paralyzed, we are walking strong because of Him. And one day ~ one day, we may not get up off that floor again ~ it is inevitable. But it’s not the end of the road if we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior! For us, we will be soaring in that moment and for all eternity, friends. Soaring,  I say!

We may faint physically, but sometimes ~ just sometimes ~ those are the times when we are the strongest. Those are the times where we know and feel the presence of the Spirit of the Lord without question. This renews us, friends. This revitalizes us. This makes us stronger in Him. We have only to wait upon the Lord and He will provide us with His strength.

That’s a promise!

Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and all the men shall utterly fall; but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:30-31

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I Didn’t Even Realize It Fully Until Now: My Kids are Adopted

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Last night my youngest daughter was telling me about the plan for the weekend. In a quick recap of how it will be going down, she shared all the details.

“My friend is picking me up after school, then we are going over here, then I will spend the night, then dad will pick me up at _____ the next day. Then we go to _______ and then ______ and then church and then we will end up back over here. Then, Sunday……….”

Right after she told me, I paused. I knew within 30 seconds I had retained nothing but the big picture. I had to ask her to repeat the entire thing again. Then this morning, I reiterated it back to her to make sure I understood and finally remembered all the details. I had it wrong in several places.

I turned to my dear one in the car when dropping her off at school and said, “You know my brain didn’t always used to be this way, right?” She said…..”um…..not really.” I was struck. Struck to the core. She was just being honest. She was not being unkind.

I said, “Don’t you remember? I used to have a sharp mind. I still do. Just not with short term memory type stuff and lots of details.”

Again….”Oh. Hmmmm.”

My son then chimed in and said “I do! I remember.” That was good – to know that some of my children know and remember that I didn’t used to have to ask them to repeat themselves all the time. But it still made me so very sad.

See, the root of concern for me is not that I want my kids to think I am brilliant, or ever was. It’s that it makes me feel that my poor youngest may feel even MORE so like she’s not paid attention to, because even her own mom “doesn’t listen.”

Communication is important, and it helps, but there’s only so much we can TELL our kids when it comes to something like this. There’s still always that dynamic at play where no matter what we SAY, they still FEEL a certain way. Add into the mix that she’s the youngest, and that’s not a good feeling. The youngest tends to feel left out. The youngest tends not to feel heard. The youngest gets lost in the mix of memories that are talked about from when she wasn’t there yet.

But the youngest is blessed in another way that possibly the older ones don’t experience as much. She is cared for by many. She didn’t have to experience the trial and error of first time parenting. She’s not stuck in the middle. She was protected and nurtured (nursed and mom stayed home longer) for a much longer time.

As a parent, we want our kids to have the benefit of having all the blessing we can provide. But it’s really up to God to do that for them in their lives. Not me. And my faulty memory and the feelings and insecurities that I can easily discern will come about in my kids in some ways because of it, are real – no doubt about that. But it’s also a very real reminder for my children not to rely upon mom for that stuff. Not to rely upon mom for significance, purpose, even security.

THAT is hard for a parent to turn all the way over to God, friends. That is HARD.

But they are not mine ~ they are His. They have graciously been given to me on loan, but He is still their ultimate and primary parent. I am supposed to care for them and I get the privilege of doing  so.

But I was never meant to replace HIM.

May God use the fact that my brain doesn’t work well to help my youngest lean all the more into Him to fill that hole that must be there in her heart and mind. When she doesn’t understand (fully) that mom is not trying to frustrate her, that she IS truly cared for, that mom wants to pay attention to every last detail that matters in her sweet life, may He give her an understanding of HIM that is far more rewarding than any she could have of mama.

I want to understand her. But I can’t fix all that is wrong in the world for her. She doesn’t complain, but this daughter tends to internalize things too. I pray that the Lord will draw out anything ugly that she happens to stuff down. That He will draw it out and refill her with even more of Him.

She loves her Jesus. For that, I am so grateful. He’s her One, True Parent. He is the ONE.

As a parent…..less of me, more of Him is hard to swallow. We want to be everything to our kids. We forget to remember, we are adoptive parents.

They are not mine. They are HIS.

My kids may feel like something that matters to them is lost on their own mama from time to time. BUT, nothing is ever lost on their One, True Father.

Least of all, one of His little ones.

“Your Father in heaven is not willing that any one of these little ones should be lost.”  (Matthew 18:14)

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Getting Our Hands Dirty Keeps the Flowers Purty!

Man Holding Sprout

If we want to grow, we are going to have to be willing to get our hands dirty, there’s no question about it. And it IS the will of God that we grow in Him and draw closer to Him. In fact, He wants for us to utterly flourish!

“Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will
produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to
know God better and better.” Colossians 1:10 NLT

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What is something that stunts growth quite rapidly? Sin we don’t bother to confess. The stuff we just leave alone – avoid bringing to God, friends. Yah…that sin.

It’s so crucial for me to be constantly watchful of how sin tends to slink it’s way right into my heart and life. I try to remain ever-vigilant about the obvious temptations –  watching my mouth, trying to take an approach of service towards others (versus selfishness) , being honest about my intentions and motivations with myself and with God, avoiding laziness and coveting, focusing on being loving to others, and lots of other things. And I fail sometimes – too often, in fact.

But then there are also the less-than-obvious things in life that allow sin to creep up on us, aren’t there? As always, there are new weeds of sin just ready and lingering- waiting in the shadows for just the right time to plant themselves firmly in the garden of our hearts, prevent new growth, and attempt to overtake that which is already blooming there.

Nemo via Pixabay

Nemo via Pixabay

Weeds are mean. They are ugly. They breed and spread their baby seeds everywhere with the sole intention of smothering any and every thing that might be in the way. They like to choke, cut off, and squash out love and life, while they take on  far-reaching lives of their own. They are resistant, resilient, and just plain stubborn!

And leaving them alone is not an option either. Very little will stop weeds in their tracks if they are left to their own devices.

Weeds are savvy too – they are survivors by nature. We have to outwit them and work hard at killing them. More often than not we can’t do this on our own and we have to call upon experts to help us. Then we end up wishing we had just done that in the first place.

So it is with God and the temptations we struggle with in life – we may be saved by grace, but we still sin and have to be on guard with Him as our lead commander in the war against the flesh. To do so, we need to rely upon Him to expel the weeds of sin in our lives; and we need to partner actively with Him in that endeavor.

A big reason for this is that no matter how intently we seek to stay away from sin, if we try to do so apart from God and in our own ability, sin weeds will eventually win out. Weeds are driven by the motivation of prevailing as top dogs, and in all honestly, in the fleshly realm, the physical realm, they often do “win.” They tend to be stronger than all the rest. Their goal is to utterly dominate – seek and destroy –  KILL anything in their path; and to have no mercy in the process whatsoever.

I told you…weeds are mean. And they are ugly. Especially sin weeds.

But the truth is, that those suckers are fallible. They want us to think that they have already won once they rear their ugly little heads, but that is a lie. They CAN be conquered!

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I found a new weed in the garden a few months ago. I realized that even though I don’t have any outwardly visible barriers between myself and a particular person for the world to see right now, that there was still a nice-sized weed creeping into my heart in relation to that certain someone. And I hadn’t even really noticed it. Actually, I guess that I had noticed it, but I didn’t recognize it for the weed of sin that it was. I justified it not as “sin” in my life because it had come through something that the other person did to me.

See what I mean? Weeds are creepy.

This person had hurt my feelings – more than once, but probably not even intentionally. They aren’t someone that I interact a lot with in my world, so why give it a whole lot of energy? I just decided when I first started feeling bitter towards them that I should set it aside -just let it go.

But I forgot one very important thing: To confess my own sin in the matter to the Lord. How can I continue to forget this stuff? It just blows me away how dense and deceived I am sometimes.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and
purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 NIV

Friends, I hadn’t let it go. I hadn’t repented of all the ugliness that I had allowed to invade my heart in relation to this person. I hadn’t even seen it, yet somehow, I knew it was there – no excuses! I had swept it under the rug under the guise of “letting it go.”

Then, when I knew without question that it was there, I chose to ignore it. And not only did I choose not to confess or open my eyes to my own role in the matter, I certainly hadn’t even thought about forgiveness!

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And so it grew………………….

“I can’t believe that ___________ would do that to me. I have never asked them for anything before. Why can’t I get some support from them for once? Don’t they even care?”

And it spread…………………………

“__________ must just be absorbed with themselves right now. I should be okay with that, but if I really look deep down inside, I just can’t move past thinking that they really do come across as selfish, self-centered, and non-caring. How hypocritical of them! They are so all about just themselves!”

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And it choked…………………..

“I don’t want to be nice to ___________ the next time I see them. But I have to. I wish I could show love to them, but isn’t that kind of hypocritical of ME? I mean, they are the one who caused ME to feel bad. It is due to their selfishness that I feel this way, not mine.”

And it snuffs out beauty. Smashes love………………..

“Yah…I still feel bitter, but I am working on forgiving. It’s a process. I think I just won’t be mean, but I won’t be overly nice either the next time I interact with them. Should I think twice about being overly supportive and investing any time and energy into them the next time they need me? No, that’s the flesh talking. But I still feel bitter and resentful toward them in my heart. I hope I can get better about this. This is really bad. Gosh, I am a really bad person – this is not very Christ-like of me………..”

And on and on and on the enemy goes in the feeble mind and heart of Annie B.

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Ug. I greatly abhor the enemy.

But I love my Lord and Savior!!!!!!!! He saves me from the enemy, and He saves me from myself. He saves me from the weeds, and He yanks them outta there roots and all! Then He fills me up with this wonderful thing….this thing called love. And this other thing….this thing called forgiveness.

The fact is, we are called to forgive as Christ forgives us. We are commanded to love others the way that He loves us. We are asked directly by the Lord Himself to come to Him to help us to purge sin out of our lives (through HIS power, and our willingness to obey), repent of it, and keep the garden healthy and growing. We have to ask Him to do it in us – He is the weed expert! He is the exterminator, the weed killer, the gardener, the gate keeper, the powerful one who knows what it is to conquer, and knows just how to do it!

Waiting to forgive until I feel like it or because it’s a “process” is a bunch of trash! Working through feelings may be a process, working through repairing damage may be one too, but we can forgive right away with God’s help – and He asks us to.

Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one
another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13

Our pastor shared with us not too long ago that he thinks truly being able to forgive as Christ forgave us will sometimes involve the commitment to cry out to the Lord for His power along with a realization that sometimes forgiveness is on a kind-of daily continuum on our part. This is especially true when someone continues to do something over and over again, or something has happened that continues to have lasting ramifications that renew and show up day to day.

New bitter weeds can spring up even when the primary offender seems to have been yanked out of the ground (uh-hem…..heart).

I have asked the Lord to forgive me, but to also help me to forgive this person….completely. But I realize that I will have to go to my Savior in prayer every day – over and over again to ask for Him to help me remove any residual bitter seeds that remain. Why? Because the sin weed in relation to this situation may have already sprouted little babies into the air that just haven’t landed on the dirt and taken root quite yet.

And because my heart is not as it should be.

I wake up every day and there is a new chance for sin to enter or re-enter my life. But Gods grace, mercy and His compassion….. they are new every day – and we must remember to turn to Him for it.

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV

I have no excuse. I am guilty of not watching for the weeds in this area with this person. I am also guilty of excusing myself when I did see them show up. And finally, I am guilty of turning to myself instead of to my Savior for help.

I took for granted the fact that the flowers are still flourishing and looking beautiful and smelling good. I decided to do other things since they didn’t seem to need any water or attention for the moment. I didn’t neglect them completely, no not at all. I still enjoyed their beautiful colors and took time to gaze upon them. But I did forget to pay attention to the ugly invaders that were starting to grow. And that is my responsibility – to bring my sin to the Lord day by day.

We have to ask the Lord to give us clear vision to kick the enemy out of our hearts the moment a new growth of ugliness starts to appear. We then, by beseeching Him to equip us with HIS power, need to yank it out by the roots, burn it, and relegate it to the trash can that resides far, far away from the garden of growth in the Lord. And we need to take care of the garden every single day.

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It is not my garden anyway, it is my Savior’s. It is not meant to be the playground of the devil, it is the realm of the Lord! The enemy will always try to sneak in and vandalize or destroy it, but he doesn’t belong there. And the true owner of this domain is quite territorial – as He should be!

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is
in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 1 John 4:4

God’s message to me is quite clear: Put on the reinforced gloves, keep your shovel handy, and get to work. Stop and smell the flowers along the way, enjoy the beauty of all that He has created, but never forget to treat that which is the Lord’s with tender loving care. And although we have been redeemed by Christ Jesus, we still live in this world – which is just filthy, any way you cut it. We may not live for it any longer, but we still reside within it – hence, the need to take care.

I shall dig down until my fingers bleed, if necessary. I am not afraid to get my hands dirty. Besides, I have the mighty hand of the Lord upon me – and He isn’t afraid to get HIS dirty either.

In fact, He still has the scars to prove it. And those scars mean something: OWNERSHIP.

“Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands…..” Isaiah 49:16

I’m sure grateful that my Savior wasn’t afraid to get HIS hands dirty for me – He certainly went FAR beyond that for us, friends. And amazingly, His are the most pure, holy and lovely hands that we shall ever see!

Thanks be to God, we don’t have to relay any messages to the enemy to make sure that he knows who is the Ruler of All and Who will reign in power and glory for all eternity.

The message has already been sent  for us…….

via C28 Christian Graphics

via C28 Christian Graphics

“For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.” Matthew 6:13

He Says “Come All”

(c) werner22brigitte via Pixabay

(c) werner22brigitte via Pixabay

Mama’s Story.

No:  A story of mama’s cancer.

Nuh-Uh!:  A story of mama’s cancer seen through my eyes.

Nah….we’re gonna kill that lame title.

It’s a story about God. It’s about the Almighty Creator – the Father – the Redeemer- the Savior – the Comforter. The Shepherd. The Alpha and The Omega. The Great I Am.

It’s a story. Just one of His stories.

An amazing, miraculous, enlightening, saving, eye-opening, wonderful, and awesome story.

via Pixabay

via Pixabay

There’s a pond…or a lake of some kind in this story – There’s a glacier too. My mama is there and so is a little girl she called “Christy”. There is a song called Silver Wings in this story, and a lot of other saved souls who went before us to be with Jesus there.

There’s a magnificent woman of God, her three children, her sisters, brothers, parents, caretakers, pastors, friends, co-workers and all her family in this story. There are angels, doctors, visions and medications, laughter and tears, chocolate and morphine.  There are alarm clocks, funerals, phone calls, songs, decisions, notes, letters, popcorn and movies in this story. There are lots and lots of things in this story, friends.

And then……….there is Jesus…..there is God. There is the Father, the Holy Spirit in this story.

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There is God – God is in this story.

God is this story.

It’s His story, after all…just one of them.

And it’s a true story………….

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via Pixabay

via Pixabay

  • It’s a story of redemption – a story of pain…
  • A story of triumph, and a story of gain.
  • It’s a story of grief – a story of loss….
  • A story of love, regardless of cost.
  • A story of vision – seeing God through new eyes…
  • A story of heartache, saying goodbyes.
  • It’s a story of beauty, of joy and of grace.
  • A story of my mama, who saw Jesus’ face.
  • A story she told us, it wasn’t just hers –
  • Much that she shared, were not just mere words.
  • A story of death and a story of life –
  • Of true hope renewed, through turmoil and strife.
  • It’s the story of heaven, of gates open wide –
  • Of His hand reaching out, to take her inside.
  • Yes, this story she shared, bits of it we heard –
  • Now this story I share, please pray for the words.
  • Pray for the listening –
  • Pray for the heart.
  • Pray for my small, human heart to just listen.
Photo © CreationSwap/DougEFresh

Photo © CreationSwap/DougEFresh

Friends, I have a wonderful story that the Lord has impressed upon me to share with you. It is a true story – the story of my mama going home to live with her Savior forever and ever. It’s also the story of things God revealed to me in my own life as I watched it all happen, and really, ever since. I shall share with you, this story, in segments, because it is a lot to take in and I honestly believe I need to put it down it in the way that the Lord tells me to, as He tells me to do so.

You know, God is just so very amazing – I truly am awestruck by Him anew each and every day. My mama passed from this earth three years ago, and what we saw through her entire journey as she battled cancer, and especially through the “end” was truly just the beginning. This I know.

via FreeChristianImages

via FreeChristianImages

I ask for you to pray for me as I attempt to put into words what I saw – His story He told me through my mama.

Let’s name this story after Him….using the very words that He gave to her…..the ones He told her to tell  us………..

He said, “Come All” –

Jesus says, “Come All.”

Because we’re all invited.

Are you ready??????????????????

Hans via Pixabay

Hans via Pixabay

We have a glacier to climb.

werner22briggite via Pixabay

werner22briggite via Pixabay

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14

* To Be Continued by the grace and leading of the Lord – in His timing – in His wisdom – in His grace. Love, Annie B.

Copyright © 2013 – AnnieB – Feel free to share this with anyone you wish! The copyright is solely on these particular writings as they may eventually be compiled into a book for publishing.

via gopraise

More

It’s in the micromoments of life where we see God show up in big ways.

Author: Bagande

Author: Bagande (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Blink of the Day ~ More!

In my little family, when someone says “I love you”, often the other person says back to them,  “I love you more.” I fail to see how anyone could love anybody else more than I love each of them, with the exception of their Father in heaven.

I am so very thankful for each one of these wonderful blessings – these dear souls that God has shared with me. I am so very grateful for all the love that He has given me in my heart for each of these wonderful four.  And I am deeply moved by the love for me that He has poured into each one of their hearts. I bask in it.

Love Ways

Love Ways (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, I am thinking about how the little things – the thoughtful giving, small acts of service, a word, a hug, a touch or a joke – they all add up to the greater gifts of bonding and joy that having an earthly family can bring to one’s life. And over the last couple of weeks, each one of these four blessed ones have done specific little things for me to show their love for me, and I just thought I would share a few of them with you.

Daughter Love –

This girl loves her Lord and Savior so deep. His light shines in her eyes and just bursts out all around her. One day about a week or so ago, I woke up to find a very thoughtful array of little gifts from my girl. She’d arranged them so nicely for me and set them where I would see them right when I came out to the kitchen. I loved this sweet surprise!

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She had remembered how badly I needed a new wallet and how picky I am about how the pockets are inside, and that it needs to be a neutral color with just a little bit of sparkle thrown in there to keep it interesting. I love my wallet!

She also picked out the sweetest card and wrote me the most loving and kind note – all by hand, which I LOVE!

I will treasure this memory and these photos that capture it forever. But as much as I love these caring little gifts…………………….

I love her MORE.

Son Love –

This young man loves God with all his heart. He is gifted with proclaiming the gospel in ways that are going to reach many, many souls throughout his lifetime! God is working in him in mighy ways. On the way to school the other morning, he and I were talking and he said, “Mom, you are sooo cool….you are cool with a k. I laughed so hard my stomach hurt. I love this saying!

I could not stop laughing, and he proceeded to tell me that kids say this all the time. I don’t care. It’s my new mantra even if it’s old news for the younger generation. I love that my boy says I’m Kool with a K!

I will continue to ride around in my car saying “Kool with a K” –

Thank you for my new Kool thing to say buddy! I love it! But I as Kool with a K that is……….

I love him MORE.

Daughter Love Too –

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Love ? I love love love you.

Love ? I love love love you. (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

This is my little baby…she’s not so little any more though. This child demonstrates the love of her Savior in ways that continually to stun and amaze me. She sprinkles blessings of kindness wherever she walks. She treats me like a queen and loves to do my hair. I love it when she brushes and plays with my hair.

This young lady is unbeleiveably talented in doing  hair and loves to make others feel beautiful and pampered. I love to check out all of  her masterpieces!

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I am sure she will continue to make all the women in her life feel like a princess as she creates these wonderful styles! But as much as I love this pampering……….

I love her MORE.

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Heart for love project

Heart for love project (Photo credit: cuorhome)

 

 

 

 

 

 

And last, but not least – Husband Love –

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This is the man that started it all. In fact, he likes to take it to a whole new level by saying I love you the MOST. It is because of this wonderful man and His spiritual leadership in our family that we have all grown closer to our Savior. He is pure of heart, absolutely on fire for Jesus, hilarious with an H, and I love him to pieces!

Romantic Heart form Love Seeds

Romantic Heart form Love Seeds (Photo credit: epSos.de)

The other day, I noticed all the little things he does for us – he really is so good at that. In fact, I can’t even touch the dishes now, as  he has a system all worked out on how he likes to efficiently load the dishwasher. I especially appreciate how he vacuumed not only the entire house, but also our closet!  You can even see the streaks it made –

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I love that – freshly vacuumed carpet, don’t you? But as much as I love those streaks……….

I love him MORE.

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Locket Heart

Locket Heart (Photo credit: goodwillstacy)

So today, I reflect on how wonderful it is to have family – family at home, family in community, family in friends, co-workers, and brothers and sisters in Christ. It’s all because of Him that we get to experience this wonderful emotion – He models it for us, we imitate Him, and we reap the benefits and blessings.

He loves us the best. And He loves us MOST.

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Is there someone you want to tell today how very much you love them? Maybe you can wait until they say it first because then YOU can say……………

I love you MORE.

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*** l*O*V*E** Shadows everything (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is
love”1  Corinthians 13:13

I Don’t Need a Rubber Duckie or A Brillo Pad

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts.” Ps:139:23:

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Although my sins have been washed away by what Jesus did for me on the cross, I still gather up the dust of the world and need to take a bath on a daily basis. Spiritual hygiene is vital.

If I fail to bring those new sins of mine to the Lord in confession, am I still saved? Yes! But that sin will grab hold of me and start to drain the life out of me if I don’t bring it all to Him; f I don’t ask Him to purify my heart, search it, and cleanse it.

Fact is, it just gets dirty no matter how hard I try to keep it clean.

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Guess what? To take a really good bath, one must be willing to strip down and get into the water. Aaaah….the nakedness of it all!

This is how I see it though: My life has been cleansed by my Savior, and my eternity is locked up tightly because of the blood He shed for me on the cross – it washed me clean, it made me pure in the eyes of God. Yet as I hunger to grow closer and deeper in my personal relationship with Jesus, I am finding how very important it is to remain transparent with Him – to come to His feet daily in repentance for anything that made me look less like HIm that day, to ask Him to remove the grime and build up from the day lest it try to penetrate my heart and stick around, making that its newfound residence.

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David knew something about this dirtiness of the heart – he found himself utterly exhausted as a consequence of unconfessed sin in his life. I can learn a lot from his experiences and how the Lord had David share them with us. David shared his heart, and the Bible tells us that he “was a man after God’s heart.” Acts 13:22

David said………………….

“For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up by the heat of summer.” Psalm 32: 3-4

It’s hard to ask the Lord to search our hearts sometimes – honestly hard. But dried up bones and a darkened heart doesn’t sound better to me! Even if we know that He already knows what is there, and we have the reassurance that He still loves us (He loved us while we were sinners), and we already know that we are forgiven, it can still be hard to humble ourselves before our Savior (aren’t we strange, that way?)

Silly Rus'

Silly Rus’ (Photo credit: GloriaGarcía)

What child goes to their daddy on a regular, daily basis and says “I want to confess that although I know how much you love me and dote on me, and will never leave me or disown me for anything I ever do, I would like to share all the bad stuff with you that I did today, okay?

I took the cookie when you told me not to.

“You are forgiven”

Oh, and I hit my brother when you weren’t watching.”

” You are forgiven”

AND I said a naughty word when mom said I couldn’t have the ice cream.

“Forgiven. Now let’s go take a nice, warm bath and talk about it together.”

Although most children don’t do this, they are missing out when they don’t just embrace bathtime in the first place. They still inevitably end up taking the bath anyway –  (We – the children, are funny this way too!)

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funny baby (Photo credit: Lucienne °e il suo diario°)

It not only strengthens our relationship, but it just plain makes us feel better to have nothing between us and our loving Savior – nothing to stand in the way of an honest, transparent relationship – and I believe it brings Him great joy as well.

It is important to remain pure and confess our sin daily because otherwise, we start to hide just as Adam and Eve did. Our Father doesn’t want us to ever hide from Him. He loves us! We start to live in shame, cover ourselves, and eventually, we can’t hear His voice. We need to hear His voice to have a two-way relationship with Him. And again, He loves us! He wants us to experience the fullness of joy that a true intimate relationship, nothing hidden, nothing to be ashamed of, entails. That is His plan! How awesome is that?

Even if He already knows it all, it makes us humble, it glorifies Him, it provides restoration and refreshment, and it brings about healing for any scrapes or cuts we picked up along the way when we confess our dirty secrets to Jesus. It keeps us in fellowship with our Savior and our very best friend. It allows Him to wash us clean every single day – to give His children a bath – to wash their backs, let them soak up the smells and the feeling of the soap and the warm water, to stroke and brush their hair until it’s clean and shiny.

What a wonderful way we get to experience afresh (daily!) God’s grace in action.

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Love heart (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.” Proverbs 28:13

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. “1 Peter 5:6

Those hands are indeed mighty, but they are so very gentle as well. He doesn’t use a brillo pad, or harsh soaps that sting our skin to cleanse us. He washes us in grace instead!

He says He will never leave us or forsake us and that is true. But we can drown out His voice if we keep barriers between us due to unconfessed sin. And you know, He also says that if we seek Him, we will find Him. Isn’t this another way that we are actively seeking Him? We aren’t just coming to Him for forgiveness, or for our much-needed daily bath, but also for intimacy when we confess our heart to the Lord. Even when we already know we are forgiven – it is so cleansing to our relationship to admit the truth – the ugly truth.Then He can help us to turn it into His truth – the beautiful kind.

English: Belle Vue Gazania A Gazania growing a...

English: Belle Vue Gazania A Gazania growing amongst lots of other beautiful flowers in Belle Vue Park. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Who can say, “I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin”? Proverbs 20:9

Certainly not me. Even on those days (few and far between) that I search my heart and don’t really find any blatant sin that crept in there, when I ask HIM to search it, He usually can reveal something to me. This is part of our discipleship – our learning. Where is the growth without learning?

And again, I don’t see this as God nitpicking me at all! I see it just like a daddy who still gives his baby a bath at night – even when he didn’t go roll around in the mud and muck that day – even when he doesn’t look too dirty from the outside. Because you never know what invisible germs may be lurking on the surface just waiting to seep in. Daddy’s like to take care of their children, and as I said, hygiene is important. So is comfort and warmth.

And baths just feel good, don’t they? Maybe it is just bonding time on a given day; time to listen and let Him probe our hearts, share  His truths, keep us clean and refreshed for the next day we are about to face. We don’t need a rubber duckie to keep us busy in the bathtub for times like these – we have the master storyteller of all keeping us company – I like to listen then – intently. We learn such great things from Him when we listen.

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Hand (Photo credit: yorkville)

I am thankful for the opportunity to come before my Father and turn myself in and over to His purifying hands daily. It’s not a works/condemnation thing for me, friends – It’s something that I know is just good for me. It’s something I want to do, even if it’s hard sometimes. What I get in return is just so worth it. Isn’t it just like God to help us come out the other side of something all the cleaner and far more comfortable than we were before? Even when it’s often the result of something we did that was not very nice?

English: baby guinea pigs in a tea cup

English: baby guinea pigs in a tea cup (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My favorite part of bathtime with Jesus? Watching all that dirt go right down the drain. Then, being dried off with the fluffiest towel ever by my ultimate comforter and protector – it comes from His wing under which He offers me shelter – it comes from being held afterwards in the arms of my Savior. It comes from my Daddy – the one who forgives me for everything -the one who tells me stories in the bathtub. The one who knows just the right temperature to make the water. Every. Single. Time.

Again I have one word for you: Grace.

Squeaky Clean!

I could take a bath in that all day long.

Singing through the Sobs – Mama has to go now

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This is the longest post I have ever written, but like all my posts, it is a story, and I just cannot bear to break it up into pieces – not this one. So you may wish to save it for reading when you have some time. You may need tissues too, depending on what you have experienced in your own life. (I have gone through a box already just in writing this).

I have completed my goal to write to you, thirty stories in thirty days. The Lord really placed that upon my heart and He has been gracious to allow it to happen. I will continue to write to you, dear friends, of the wonders my Lord, my God is doing in my life. I will continue to pray that He blessses you as you press deeper into His bosom and praise His glorious and wonderful name. It is a blessing for me to be able to reach out to each of you and to share all that He is placing upon my heart.

Thank you for being a part of my continued journey in Christ. And thank you for inviting me to be a part of yours.

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People sing, even when they’re sad. And did you know that we can worship God any time? No matter how we feel, happy, or blue…Our God, we can sing to Him. And He hears us, our songs, our cries, and our praises. He hears us singing, even through the sobs.

We’re closing in on almost three years now, since my beautiful mama left this world to go home to live with her Savior. I can remember so clearly driving across Kansas to try to reach her in time.

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My brothers and I had been taking multiple trips to go out and spend time with dear mama as she slipped further and further out of our reach. We sometimes got to be there with her, all of us together, to listen to her, to talk and sit with her and read the Bible and pray. We were able to rub lotion on her hands, massage her arms, administer medication, cry, laugh, and eat chocolate. We got to talk to doctors, nurses, learn about controlled medications, and eat chocolate. And we wept with family, hosted friends and visitors, administered said medication, and ate chocolate.

Good thing that chocolate isn’t a controlled medication…..I’d be an addict AND a criminal if that were so!

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We got to also, for precious moments at a time – to, just be……… A family.

My brothers and myself, we really didn’t know exactly when mama would leave us. Honestly, the heightened awareness of the fact that it “could be any time” lasted over a period of several weeks. Every time all the hospice workers and grief counselors said, “any time now,” she would bounce back to us again. We loved the fact we got to have her with us all the longer, but that was seriously stressful! Wondering when exactly the hammer was going to drop upon our heads and the light in our hearts to momentarily be blown out. The not knowing….the not wanting to not be there when she needed us most…this aspect of it all, along with worrying about how much pain she might be in was probably the worst part for me.

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But we had jobs and families outside, (all three of us lived in different towns/states) so we unfortunately had to start taking shifts to come out to be with our dear one.

Mama battled cancer well. Not just with the most phenomenal example of grace that I have ever seen, but she was just strong as a horse physically. None of us could believe what all her poor cancer-filled little body could take. When she finally did leave us, it truly looked as though she were being ripped right out of her body….pulled up into the air, by the hand of God Himself (at least that’s what it looked like to me).

I think mama was so solid in her faith and her belief that God would always be there – waiting for her when the time was right, that she fought to stay with us, her children, as long as she possibly could. I really believe that SHE was ready to go, but she wasn’t sure if we were ready for it. She didn’t want to leave without her family. And God answered her prayer for that. He allowed her to stay until He saw fit to say that it was finished. Mama’s pain and affliction was used for OUR good and His purposes in our lives. Have you ever experienced the excruciating feeling of knowing a suffering loved one is staying around and continuing to endure unimaginable pain for YOU?

It wrenches my heart every time I think of it. Something is squeezing it very tightly right this very moment. But I know it to be true.

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God never allows pain  without a purpose in the lives of His children. He never allows Satan, nor  circumstances, nor any ill-intending person to afflict us unless He uses that  affliction for our good. God never wastes pain. He always causes it to work  together for our ultimate good, the good of conforming us more to the likeness  of His Son (see Romans 8:28-29). ~ Jerry  Bridges

I remember one day (when she could still speak a little) she kept saying that over and over….”I want ALL of my family to come with me to  heaven,” I want ALL of my family to come with me to heaven.” Once the statement started to take on a tone of distress, I told mama that the Bible says that Jesus was recognized after His resurrection. If Jesus was recognizable in His glorified body, wouldn’t we be recognizable in our own? And, we’d be right behind her – that it just wasn’t our turn yet. The passing of time in heaven is something we cannot fully understand.

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I told mama, that what we DO know, is that God is going to be there with her – waiting. She will be in His presence until we come to join her. And He will be with us too, here….while we wait. For we too, are his children. We too, are his sheep.

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them  eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my  hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is  able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” (Jesus speaking) John 10:27-29

I had prayed quite a bit and asked the Lord to give me what I should say in the event this very thing should happen. I knew mom was so very concerned about leaving us behind, her three children. Grown as we are, we are still her babies. That has to be heart-wrenching in a way I cannot fully imagine. I thank My Father in heaven for giving me the words to say. Mama really did seem to be honestly relieved by this, and other things that my brothers were able to share with her. With me, she simply nodded with what seemed like a very peaceful look on her face. She just no longer seemed sad or worried about it. God had given her His peace.  And He had given it to me as well. We have an abundantly gracious Father.

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Things started to change after that, as I recall. Mama continued to share the things she was experiencing, seeing, and hearing with us. She told us of the people she was meeting, and the fact that “He is coming.” I will be writing about that another time.

So, we now will return to this clear memory I have of driving across Kansas.
It was my turn to get to go out and be with mama and I left Colorado again to make the 8 hour drive. Being a person who works at night, I decided to stay on my normal schedule and drive out this February night instead of battling the sunshine and the traffic. (It’s a bit easier to be in the dark when you are grief-stricken).

Honestly, I do not remember if this was the last and final trip that I made before she passed away, or just another one of the many I’d take over the last few weeks before she went to be with God.

I remember……………………………………………

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This trip, this drive, is the one I remember the most though. I had been running on adrenaline for quite some time, and had gotten used to coming back to my own sweet little family, my job, and my responsibilities for a week or so, then turning around to go out to Kansas again. I knew this trek across this stretch of deserted and boring concrete like the back of my hand. Dark or no dark.
As much as I dreaded these long and boring drives, I grappled with the guilt every time I thought that to myself, as I knew that when the drives out there ceased, what that would mean for all of us. So I tried to be grateful to have a reason to get to go yet another time. Music is what kept me company. There’s not much else to look at along that long road. Especially in the dark. And honestly, I needed to drown out the mutterings in my head – they really weren’t comforting ones….just me and my little mind talking to itself.

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Although this particular trek is so clear in my mind’s eye, it, ironically, was an extremely dark and foggy and VERY snowy night. Truly, I was in the midst of a blizzard at 1am in the morning…..moving at a pace of about 5-10 mph. Absolute and complete white knuckles all the way from Hays to Topeka. Not sure if I’d make it to there….to see my dear mama. Not sure if I might die before she did…in a ditch somewhere…freezing, in the dark…muttering to myself and praying for my Savior to drown out my own voice, until my heart would just…..stop. (“Maybe that’s as it should be?”, I thought).

Snap out of it!

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“I am really starting to lose my mind,” I thought to myself, laughing out loud quite hysterically.
I had made it a habit of listening to praise and worship music on these trips. I learned certain songs by heart, and listened to the same ones over and over and over again. I sang them when I didn’t want to. I sang them through the screams. I sang them through the hysterical laughter. I sang them through the fear of driving off the road.

And I sang them through the sobs…the rib cage cracking, heart being squeezed to the point of pain, my head is going to implode any moment, sobs.

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All of those songs hold a special place in my heart now. But the one I remember the most, is the one I sang over and over during that blizzard….three of the darkest and longest hours of my life. This little song….well it’s the one that came to mind when I finally turned off the radio as I was trying to conserve the little gas I had left (for some reason, I had the insane idea that the radio was going to suck all the heat out of the heater and the gas out of the tank – go figure).

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(5 miles per hour. Blizzard. Can’t see. Slower ‘ cross Kansas, poor old me.)
This little light of mine

(choking sobs-heaving chest, clinging to Jesus, He loves me the best)
Is mom still there? Are my brothers okay? Am I going to wreck? Will I see them today?)
I’m gonna let it shine.

(streaming and stinging, grief and pain, trying to see through the sleet and the snowy rain)
This little light of mine

(headlights fuzzy, dark and cold, wow this song, it’s getting old)
I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine (choke), let it shine

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(aaah….wailing cries, screaming loud, will my God ever lift this cloud?)
Won’t let Satan blow it out

(Screaming now, “I hate your guts, I hate you Satan, you’re making me nuts!)
I’m gonna let it shine

(ah, ha, ha, ha…sniff! I can’t breathe, better stop, cuz I may heave)
Won’t let Satan blow it out

(awful enemy, go back home, I can’t stand you, leave me alone!)
I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Whaaaaaa Haaaa Haaaaa AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!

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The snow let up just as I pulled into Topeka. I had no more tears left for the time being. Oddly, I felt reenergized. There had been a couple of times before this in my life that I truly cried out to God. This time….I practically left my body doing it. I guess in a way, this was my moment for God to lift ME out of MY body and unto Him. It saved me. It helped me be able to face the day.

And then, mama left us.

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The day that mama went home to be with her Savior, we all got to be there with her, my brothers and me. She had told us in days previous to that one the wonderful things she got to see as she was waiting on the Lord. The most important thing she told us was that He says we are all invited.

“Tell EVERYONE they are invited. He says ‘Come All’.”

I guess in kind of a strange, yet glorious way, she did get to take some of us along with her to heaven – even if it was just to the edge of it and back. But the message He sent – THAT gets to stay with us forevermore. And He’s the light that won’t ever go out.

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I will hold that little mama light of mine close to my heart while I’m still here. But I won’t be needing it any longer once it’s my turn to join her and my Savior for eternity. He IS the light. And He is with me NOW. In a way, so is Mama.

Do you think He will choose for her to come with Him to the gates when it’s time to greet me? Will mama’s face be the one I see right after I get to see His?

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Mother Resting Head on Infant's Chest

I can almost hear her voice singing to me now….telling me…reminding me of what I can do in the meantime……while I wait…………………..

“You know Anne, you can worship God ANY time!”

“Yes I can, mama. Yes, I most certainly can.”

And yes………………………………..I WILL.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Girl Making Snow Angel

“Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.”

Light Streaming Through the Crown of a Tree

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. Psalm 116: 15

Do you have someone whose little light still shines in your heart? I would love to hear about it! Please share below in the comments if you wish.

Blink of the Day – Hug Luv

Aaron

The micromoments in life are where we see God show up in big ways.

My son, Justin is a hugger down to his very core. He thrives on this kind of physical affection and LOVES to give it and to receive it as well. This is probably the primary way He likes to show his love outwardly in life.

Jessica, my oldest daughter, is very affectionate as well,yet has a different boundary and comfort level when it comes to hugging. Bear hugs, tight squeezes, and tickling are not her thing. A soft touch and a kind word are more than substantial ways of showing her some true and genuine affection.

Julia, my youngest, like my husband and myself, falls somewhere in the middle when it comes to physical displays of affection. She tends to go with the flow and accommodate to others when it comes to the hug love stuff. This little buffer provides a sweet balance in our family life.

Today, I got to stand back and watch God show up in the small moments again. These three siblings had a “hug teaching” session with one another, in which they found a way to teach one another how they prefer to give, and to receive hugs. It was such a blessing to be able to be here and watch them find ways to work God’s magic into their hug life while respecting one another’s preferences and boundaries too. I got to watch each of them defer to one another, listen, exchange information, and then “practice.” They each stepped a bit out of their own comfort zones and allowed God to help them compromise to make their hug life more enjoyable.

Who knew that hugging could be such a big thing?

The very fact these wonderful souls wanted to practice their new ways of hugging one another shows just how seriously they take this part of their relationship. They practiced it over and over again and it all ended in a group hug in which I could see that they truly enjoyed just being in one another’s presence. They all, for the most part, are young adults now – no longer small children without many boundaries to speak of – that begin to impede us as we grow older. The fact that they realize we all have barriers, but we are all called to still find ways to tear them down, and invite God to show up? Well, it just stuns me beyond belief and does my heart good.

I am so happy that these children of ours (they will always be our babies) want to continue to make hugging a part of their sibling life together. It not only displays love and affection, but trust and relinquishment of control.

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Our Lord Almighty can be found there – in those spaces – He bridges all gaps and fills every nook and cranny. Even the ones that lie between us in the midst of hugs.

Today I got a glimpse of God in the midst of that hug love my children shared. I am so glad I was there to gaze upon it. I will hold that memory in the album of my heart forever.

A million little glimpses of God can keep Him in full view all the day long – all we have to do is look.

Won’t you share some hug love with someone today?

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