More to Come: Chose Abundant Life!

John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life, and have it in all its fullness. 

The contrast between my son’s life and death is always the strongest on this day! He cared about people deeply. He was always looking to help, encourage, and equip others, even as his own resources felt limited. His smile could brighten the darkest of rooms even as the embers were being snuffed out in his own soul. He defended underdogs, even when he couldn’t defend himself from the pain others inflicted upon him.

Today my son would have turned twenty-one. No mater what you think your life is worth, there is so much more to you. You were born for a purpose! I turn the page on my sorrow because I know that God valued my son, He is greatly grieved, and will hold to account those who hurt him. I pray that God turns the page on your despair. I say God, because for some of us, it is impossible for us to stop self-destructing. The Lord must remove the oppressive thief. I acknowledge that the thief is powerful, but nothing is impossible for God. He uses that power to give us life!

May the scales of who we think we are fall from our eyes and we now revere the sacredness of human life. God shaped us with his own DNA!!!! No other aspect of creation has that distinction. As long as we have breath, God gives us the opportunity for the fullest life through his son Jesus Christ! Mother Theresa and The Little Sister’s of the Poor, exemplify loving and valuing those the world casts out as worthless. Please hear me, you matter to me! The very fact that many of you chose to share your journey with me, encourages me on the darkest days. Fight! Allow God to heal the deepest wounds the enemy has placed in your life. Shout from the mountain tops that no one is worthless. It is God’s will that none should perish, therefore, it breaks his heart when we despair of life.

On my son’s birthday chose to embrace life!

The Infinity Puzzle can Only be Solved by God

Psalm 139: 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

I love jigsaw puzzles. The bigger, the more intricate, the better. I don’t just put the pieces together with the picture in mind, I separate, organize, divide the puzzle into manageable sections. It helps that the picture is framed, no matter how challenging it always has boundaries. My life on the other hand . . .

I have a lot of pieces, but I’m not sure how they fit together. Right now, the health of my family lays before me–my son in particular. I have stared at the minute details until I am cross-eyed and frustrated. Each doctor finds a new aspect Daniel is struggling with, but no one will frame my child as a whole person. No one sees how he fits together . . .

God does. I keep looking for man to answer my questions, but the Creator framed Daniel, He designed in the human body a puzzle so intricate, cells so complex that the doctors,  I want so badly to help my child, can’t even begin to scratch the surface of the body’s complexity. They do not have all the answers to my son’s illness, and neither will I, if the only thing I lean on and into is my human knowledge and understanding.

So, Lord I lay Google search at your feet and trust you more deeply. Amen

God has a purpose for Daniel, and I can either miss out on the glorious joy of watching the puzzle unfold, or be angry that can’t fit all the pieces together. Here are some of the things I notice about my son. Even though he is scared by what is happening to his body, he praises God. When he struggles with one more blood test, he laughs and faces his giants. He sings, dances, and meditates on the promises of God. He laughs, encourages, grieves, and hurts. He is a whole person, made in the image of God.

Jesus came that Daniel would have life to the fullest, and it is in this frame that I now place his illness. I open myself to the pleasure of a picture of infinity pieces, and only one who has put it together from beginning to end.

Putting On Armor that Fits: Facing Fear With the Tools We are Given

Scripture

1 Samuel 17:8 He stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel and said to them, “Why do you come out to draw up in battle array? Am I not the Philistine and you servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves and let him come down to me. 9“If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will become your servants; but if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall become our servants and serve us.” 10 Again the Philistine said, “I defy the ranks of Israel this day; give me a man that we may fight together.” 11 When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid. . .

31 When the words which David spoke were heard, they told them to Saul, and he sent for him. 32 David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail on account of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” 33 Then Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are but a youth while he has been a warrior from his youth.”34But David said to Saul, “Your servant was tending his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock, 35I went out after him and attacked him, and rescued it from his mouth; and when he rose up against me, I seized him by his beard and struck him and killed him. 36“Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, since he has taunted the armies of the living God.” 37And David said, “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and may the LORD be with you.” 38Then Saul clothed David with his garments and put a bronze helmet on his head, and he clothed him with armor. 39David girded his sword over his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. So David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them.” And David took them off. 40He took his stick in his hand and chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in the shepherd’s bag which he had, even in his pouch, and his sling was in his hand; and he approached the Philistine.

 

Thoughts

“Time to cut the apron strings, mom.” The gruff voice said on the other side. It isn’t my apron strings I wanted to use to strangle the man with, through the phone. Until this moment, I lived under the illusion that I do not let my fears, of harm coming to my children because it has happened to me, keep them from something they love, or a calling by God. But for the past two days I have been almost crippled with fear of my son going to camp.

My stomach was in my throat most of today as I considered my 10-year-old being two hours away  with strangers for 5 days and 4 nights. Suddenly he looked so much smaller and the adventure way too big for him. Daniel had saved up his own money for this trip, but was voicing fear of staying the night. Fear that echoed my own. I asked Daniel to pray, which he did and reported that God told him to go. So,now he was settled, but I was not. So I called the director of the camp for reassurance, but instead I felt like I was being pegged as a ridiculous overprotective mother.

When my husband got home I told him what the director said, expecting validation. Instead, my husband agreed with the man’s assessment. NO PHONE TO KEEP HIM SAFE!!! Everything in me was screaming and my voice kept getting more agitated as our “intense fellowship” ensued. (Thank’s to the marriage conference we just attended this weekend, I quickly got a grip, took in a breath, and asked for forgiveness from my husband.) No matter how afraid I was, I knew my fear was now messing with relationships, and I’ve learned enough to know that I had to reassess what was happening.

Once again Israel is facing giants. Egypt, slavery, enemies, and walls had all crumbled before the God who lead them. Goliath wasn’t the reason Israel could not defeat the Philistines. Saul had experiences of deep and devastating losses to the Philistines.This giant had been mocking them for some time. And now a little boy was claiming he could take the giant down? David knew nothing of fighting giants, Saul reasoned. But, Saul also had a lot of experience with victory and the power of God. So why, in this situation did he not equally apply that knowledge? He didn’t because fear of ___________ separate us from the truth about who God is. Even when fears are logical and come from a real, and often very frightening place, being controlled by fear, drives a wedge between, our spirit, God, those who love us, and even reality. So we put on our heavy-duty armor and prepare for battle, even if we think we are facing defeat.

I was preparing for a battle, but I was fighting the wrong enemy. I need to focus on equipping my son with armor that fits.We have big fears, so we try to put on our thick armor, but it takes the faith of a child to teach us that giants can be taken down with a sling, smooth stones, and total belief in the power of our mighty God! Equipping Daniel to trust God, regardless of whether he goes to camp, should be my focus. What God can and will do through Daniel will be spectacular.  In the end, it isn’t just Daniel that steps into manhood, but I face down some of my own giants. As I finish this post my giant fear crumbles to the ground.  What giant do you need to slay? Use the armor that you have been given, suite up and see the mighty power of God!

 

Prayer

Lord, help me to use the armor that you haven given me. You have slayed so many giants in my life, and this one is no exception. I praise you for giving me relief in my weakness. You are a mighty God. Help me to focus on what is possible in your power, and to invite others to claim the same mighty victories.

Clocking In

I didn’t quit my job of loving, when you stopped punching your time card.

I clock in to life,  heart uncallused by the

rough, 24-hour, work of losing. I freely

hope, with splinters of grief digging deep into my soul.

Faith, joy and compassion embrace the world

with a work ethic that suicide cannot render

unconscious to the world around me.

Patience Grows Love in the Petri Dish of Suffering

Day 16 (Originally posted on Facebook, 16 days after my son’s death)

Job 3:11 a, 26: “Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb?. . . I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil.”

Throughout my scripture reading I have always struggled with Job and other bearers of great suffering. Why would God allow Satan to test Job? He even goes so far as to point Job out. Can you imagine the God of the Universe pointing you out for Satan’s “special” attention? “Have you considered my servant …___________?”

No thank you!

“She has the patience of Job” is used when describing someone who is enduring great suffering. What do patience and suffering have to do with each other?

Patience: from the Latin word patiencia- “endurance”, from pati- “to suffer”.

  1. the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like.
  2. an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay: to have patience with a slow learner.
  3. quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care; diligence: to work with patience. (Dictionary.com)

Alright, so suffering is in the very meaning of patience.

Job suffered the loss of all his children, his livelihood, and his health. He even had to suffer through the speeches of three friends who have been nicknamed “miserable comforters”. The closest that the devil can get to having Job curse God is to curse his own birth. But, at the end of the day God had final say over even that. “Where were you when. . .” (38:4) In other words, I am God and you are not.

God doesn’t always tell us why we suffer, but he did not spare his own son, who was without blemish, and look at the results of Jesus’ suffering the cross. Many are saved. I have seen enough examples throughout scripture and in life to know that suffering comes, and that I always have a choice as to how I will respond to it. To truly love others, patience must be the first part of my response. 1 Corinthians 13:4 says love is patient,” . . . Without patience love doesn’t stand a chance. Patience, at its core, means that I am giving up my right to have my way; that I am “bearing provocation, annoyance, misfortune or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation or the like.”

Barbara Johnson, one of my all-time favorite humorists said, “Patience is the ability to idle your motor when you feel like stripping your gears.”

Today I practice idling my motor, accepting God’s will for my life. The result is ALWAYS that many are saved. Just ask fellow sufferers, Joseph, Moses, Job and Jesus. Our suffering produces good things when we obey the will of God.

The Best Remedy is Jesus

1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

So, I am blessed with strep and possibly the flu this weekend. There is not a joint in my body that doesn’t hurt right now. Yet, God in his infinite wisdom, brings me peace and perspective in the midst of my discomfort.

It is so important to see that the world doesn’t stop running when I am incapacitated. Many of you know how hard it is for me to allow others to care for me. I kept trying to push through, but my entire family insisted that I rest and allow them to do my routine. I have slept more now, than I have in weeks. Brian took care of the dog and cat I’m pet sitting. Daniel was my gofer yesterday while Daddy and Natalie danced the night away at a Father Daughter Dance. He heard the phone page (I have no voice) and came running to help me in anyway he could.

So many of us must be brought to our breaking point before we allow God to help us. We need to relax into his love, compassion, and care. Get used to operating within his easy yoke (Matthew 11:29-30).Why do you think it is so difficult for us to cast our anxieties on Jesus? What is at the heart of this human struggle?

Cast Your Cares Video

 

 

 

It is Not About Our Circumstances

Scripture:

Romans 1:15 That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome. 16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes,first to the Jew, then to the Greek. 17 For the gospel reveals the righteousness of God that comes by faith from start to finish, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”…

Thoughts:

If faith in Jesus Christ were dependent upon where we were born, who our parents are, or what religion we were brought up in, then the divisions in our beliefs would be concrete walls that were impenetrable. But trust in God, belief in His son Jesus is found throughout the world. Why?

  • God desires a relationship with his creation
  • Creation itself testifies that he is God
  • Men and women testifying to the nations about what they have seen and heard of Jesus
  • The Holy Spirit goes ahead, directs and softens, prepares, convicts and inspires
  • The truth of Christ is emboldened by persecution rather than crushed
  • We can test and see that God is good
  • His word does not go out and come back void

Prayer:

Father, I praise you that you want to be known! You are not an inactive, distant God. Your will is done on earth as it is in heaven. Thank you for letting me be an instrument of your will. May my testimony of what I see and hear of you encourage all who cross my path. Amen

Being with Jesus is the Fountain of Youth

Isaiah 41:…30 Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly, 31 Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.

This is the strength I desire Lord! Being with you is the refreshment I need to do your will today. Thank you for being present with me, loving me, disciplining me, giving me hope. You are the reason I turn my page, and you alone turn my sorrow into gladness. Amen