Wednesday, November 28, 2012

And the walls come tumbling down

I have the ability to walk in a house that looks like the first picture and see it in my mind as the last picture.
It is something I have loved to do and we have done it many times.  I am a restorer.  I see the potential in something and I want to be a part of getting it there.  I LOVE seeing the finished result.

Isn't that just like our Father?  He looks down on creation and we look like the first picture.  And yet, He sees all our potential... He sees us as the last picture.  But just as it is in the physical world... it is in the spiritual world... it is a process.  And the process takes time... often triple the amount of time estimated!  And I have come to realize, over time, I don't like the process.  I want to skip the second and third pictures and just jump to done.

As you can see, we attempted to pull down wall paper in the kitchen.  It was on there like white on rice.  The wall was coming off with the paper and well, we just didn't have time.  We left two weeks after moving into this house to adopt our son.  There were other important matters to tend to and so the walls were not totally stripped.

The kitchen walls are fine.  The dinning room walls are fine.  The bathroom walls are not.  The bathrooms get hammered with steam each time someone showers.  And our master bathroom doesn't even have a vent fan.  So the steam sits in the air and festers.  Over time, that constant attack of moisture is causing a mess.

Constant attacks on my walls are causing a mess.

I mentioned yesterday that I had easily identified six walls in my life that have not been completely stripped of paper.  As I lied in bed last night, the 7th came to mind.  How I overlooked it so easily is beyond me.  Anger.

Here are my walls... six of them... the seventh I will keep to myself. 
1. Communication
2. Quality Time
3. Expectations
4. Respect
5. Submission
6. Anger

These are the sticky walls in my house that are affecting me greatly.  As they affect me, they are affecting my relationships.  And they have to come tumbling down.  Forget stripping the paper... God is hammering at them... smashing them... He wants them down... gone... cleared out.  After they are gone... there will be a wide open space for HIS presence to dwell in and flow from... nothing in His way... nothing blocking the view... no corners to dodge around... nothing blocking the light... nothing to hide behind.  And honestly, I have always preferred open floor plans anyway!  :0)

Do you have any walls in your life?  Are they blocking anything?  Are they dripping with a sticky mess as constant moisture penetrates the outside layer... revealing what is really lying beneath?

I invite you to take a look around your house.  Be honest.  Be real.  Maybe God will speak to you as I share my remodel with you.  That is why I share.  My heart's desire and ministry is to encourage others to be real... to invite others to be real and to look for God in all of it.  Life is not sunshine and lollipops all the time.  But God is in it all.  And as long as we continue to see Him and walk with Him and be real with Him through it all... we are transformed.

Amazingly, again, "Salvation" was on my calendar for discussion these last few days of November.  It is a frustrating topic for me as so many people just receive salvation and think that is it.  THAT is the prize...  the gift... but there is so much more to this christian life than being saved!  We are called to be transformed into His image and to die to ourselves and to our flesh and to our will and allow His holiness to flow through us.  And the dying and the transforming is a process.  It takes time.  It takes sweat.  It takes honesty.  It takes sacrifice. It takes obedience and selflessness.  And it takes faith.

Thank you for "sticking" with me during this time of dripping mess.  I know all too well... He is in the process of making something beautiful. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

One Little Heaving Beautiful Life

I didn't have a blog when I miscarried the first time.  If I had, I would have written about stomping my foot.  I would have wanted my friends to see that I have moments of flesh just like the best of them.  So that is why I write the hard stuff... the not so glamorous moments of One Beautiful Life.  And there is another reason.  I KNOW God will walk with me through it.  I KNOW He will reveal himself to me and show me what He wants me to see.  So why not walk with you through it instead of just sharing the triumph at the end.

My posts lately have been far from decorating tips, sunshine happy photos and recipes.  My life is far from that right now.  And I know there are several of you out there who also can't seem to find that sunshine happy photo right now.  You know it is there, buried in some drawer somewhere or deep in a file... so how about we'll just look for it together!

Yesterday, I searched around for some of those wallpaper covered walls.  And pretty quickly I found six.  Six.  Right off the cuff.  I thought I would be walking through some of that today but God had something else in mind.

Exhaustion.  Depletion.  Running on empty.  Those are the words that describe me lately.  Being in that state for sometime now has really taken a toll on me.  Discouragement came in and camped out in the middle of my house and I simply walked around her instead of booting her out.  As she continued to shoot her arrows at my heart, Hopelessness knocked on the door and I simply opened it and invited her inside as well.

"What am I doing this for?" and "What in the world do I ever accomplish?" became two thoughts that played over and over in my mind like a broken record.  I don't think I am the only woman/mother that has felt this way.  I clean the floors (no small task) and in an hour, they are covered with dirt, leaves, prints, crumbs and mung again.  I empty the laundry hampers and in one day they are somehow full again.  I clean the kitchen up and mere hours later it is dirty and needing cleaning... again...for the third/fourth time that day.  I clean and organize the kid's rooms and in less than 12 hours, they are dismantled again.  I correct, discipline, love and teach my children and two hours later... they are at each other again.  It's like the movie, Groundhog Day!  The same grind... over and over and over... never anything "done".  Never finished.

So little by little I have stopped caring.  Why?  Why bother working so hard to only watch it disappear in half a day? Why care about the mess when it only makes you feel like a failure?  Stop caring.  Stop trying.  Those became the thoughts that answered the replaying questions.

God had an answer planned for today.

She walked into my room at 5:30 this morning. She was crying and I immediately ran her to the bathroom... just in time for her to blow.  I am still amazed we made it to the toilet.  As she threw up, she started apologizing.  "Mommy, I am sorry I am sick.  I am sorry I threw up in my bed."  I reassured her there was no need to apologize and my day flashed before me.  My husband was on a trip and gone.  My preschooler would be staying home just in case this is the flu and my older one would be car pooling.

My next thoughts raced to the Tamiflu we have had for over a year now in the pantry.  Prayers offered that I would not get this.  Tamiflu taken.  Preschooler fed and situated on the sofa in front of the television (his dream come true!).  Sick one nestled in bed.  Temperature taken.  Tamiflu and Tylenol given and prayers offered over her.

And then she was up again.  Racing to my bathroom.  As I held her hair out of her face and rubbed her back, she asked me between breaths, "Am I doing great Mommy?"  My little fighter.  My strong one who knows all too well how to handle not feeling well, looking for my approval during throwing up.

My heart hurt for a moment.  It was like another movie, the Grinch, when his heart grows.  As I snuggled her back into the blankets and gathered her stuffed animals in around her I was struck with it... that deep mother's affection that takes control of everything inside you.  And I heard it, "This is why you keep doing it... this is why you care."

Due to her own wounds and spiritual battles, my little fighter can push me away all too often.  The push pull relationship we have causes me deep grief.  As I looked at her laying there, I realized we are more alike than I have ever realized.  I, due to my own wounds and spiritual battles, have a push pull relationship with the Lord... and with my husband.  And it causes both of them deep grief.  My daughter has the hardest time simply accepting my love.  I have the hardest time accepting the Father's love... and my husband's.

She was broken today.  As her little body heaved and her stomach reached deep to find just the tiniest offering to pull forth... she reached for me, she needed me, and she accepted my love.

My little spiritual body is heaving and reaching down deep... trying to find the tiniest little offering to pull forth.  It is time for me reach for Him, accept and rest in my reliance on Him, and figure out how to really... really... accept His love.  And how to abide in it.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The idea of it...

His words slapped me hard... right across the face.  "I think you like the idea of a good marriage."

In my moment of rebellion, I ignored the sting and replied back, "Oh, we don't have a good marriage... I am well aware of that."

How does this happen so quickly?  Or did it?  No.  It hasn't happened quickly.  It has happened one day at a time... for many days, weeks, months now.  And here we are.  Raw.  Distant.  Totally unconnected.  Both needy.  Both irritated.  Both wounded.  Both coping.

This is not a "he said/she said" post.  I am not here to list all the ways I feel he is in the wrong.  I can, however, list all the ways I am in the wrong.  And I can ask for prayers.  I will share my heart, because that is what I do and God will use it.  If there is one other person out there, who feels they are standing on quick sand in their marriage, then this is for you.  And it is for me.  Writing is one of the ways I process.  God often walks me through what He wants me to see as I write.

Don just showed me a text two days ago from a friend telling us of her divorce.  We see it all around us... over and over and over.  And the enemy dances with delight.  Ripping apart families is just one of the things he delights in... and works at with determined diligence.  And so I write.  I share.  This is us... now.  Again, we are not perfect.  We are real.  We are imperfect.

I have said it once, I will say it again, when I am wounded... I am like a man... I retreat.  I pull away.  I withhold affection.  I withhold my heart.  I go into protection and survival mode... and that means pulling in.  It can start so subtly that I may not notice until I am weeks into it.  Then I justify my position and continue with my withdrawal.

Do I like the idea of a good marriage?  Of course I do.  I do.  I like the idea of being connected to someone's heart even though we know so much about each other... even though we have been in the trenches... even though we have wounded... I like the idea that the love we share holds us together despite that sin... those failures... those moments that can destroy.  I like the idea that we almost lost each other... and yet remain.

But I think I have become too comfortable with the "remain."  I have said to myself, "This is o.k.  It is a season.  We don't have to be passionate all the time.  We are o.k.  Even though I am seriously unhappy... it will be o.k.  Just keep smiling and keep trying."  But now, the smiles can't even come.  I am admitting defeat.  I am failing.

I have focused on the list against him.  I have kept records of wrongs.  I am not patient with him.  I am often not kind to him.  I have retaliated.  And I have stopped serving.  I have retreated and now as I look back, I am far from him.  As I look upon his list of sins and shortcomings I have written and hold onto, the very gazing upon it makes my own list grow in length.

There is no more contentment with "remaining."  I think I held onto that out of fear.  I held onto that thinking it would just get better... one day it would just be better.  But we have spoken it now... to each other... we are not alright.  I pray, like AA, that we have just made a step toward recovery.

I am for certain I am in a season of tearing down.  The theme keeps coming up and I keep falling... spiritually, emotionally, and lately... physically!  What is it?  What remains standing that God keeps hammering away at?  What remains on the foundation that has to be chipped away so He can build what He wants without interference?

As I responded to a comment on my last post, I saw the physical picture of it.  It is a wall of wallpaper... painted over... and oozing with glue.  When we moved into this house, we painted over wallpaper because I could not stand the thought of ripping it down again. We have done that in so many past houses. I wanted it done...without the hassle and mess and work. I was tired.  And now, three years later, glue seeps through the paper and paint and runs down those walls in the bathrooms... reminding me that paper is still there... and that I left it. 

I think I have some walls with paper on them in my life. Walls that I may have painted over in hopes of having it done quickly. Walls that I left paper on because I was tired. Walls that looked good for a while but are now dripping with glue... and needing attention.

I have to identify those walls.  I have to find them and do what should have been done in the first place, strip them, sand them, and cover them properly.  I have to spend time in the heart of myself and examine my walls.  And I have to do it with the Master Builder... the One who sees right through paint and right through paper... right to the sticky mess of glue.  He can take me there.  He can show me.  And He alone holds the tools I need to get the job done right.  Or better yet, maybe He shows me where they are... what they are... and then He offers me rest... and He does it for me... the stripping, sanding, and covering... like He could have in the first place, if only I had left the tools in His hands instead of grabbing them in mine.  Hhmmmm.  

That is it.  I tried to do it the first time.  I failed.  I grabbed the tools and I did it.  He is the only One who can do it right.  He has the strength.  He has the "know how."  I have to lay down the tools and abide while He does the work.  But I have to stay with Him.  Eyes and ears on Him.  I have to allow Him to do what He needs to do... and trust Him.

Have you ever painted over wall papered walls? I can leave now that glue has appeared and drips down the surface with each shower.  Or I can stay and face the dirty work.  I have one option in my book, in His book, and that is to stay and face the work.  I know all too well the reward that comes after the hard work is done.  I covet your prayers.  And I thank you so much for your friendship.  

I like the idea of a good marriage.  And after He is done with me... I will have one again.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Boot straps and big girl panties...

How often do I get right in front of myself and trip myself up?  Too often.  I can be "cruising" along and then in a moment... without much warning... find myself flat on my face... or back.  Having actually just fallen on my back TWICE in the past week, and my body hurting in about 200 places, I just can't shake the image... spiritually.

I tend to lean towards being strong.  I have to be... right?  It runs all through my life... moments... seasons where strength is the only thing that could keep me walking, breathing, functioning.  That need to be strong has actually caused some damage... subtle... but so very present.  It has given birth to self-sufficiency... striving... and separation.  Mistrust.

I have developed a "I don't need you" attitude towards things/people in my life and that bleeds over into my relationship with the very One I need every moment of every day.  I can "pull myself up by the boot straps" and "put my big girl panties on" and just walk around on my own strength looking... well... pretty silly and childish in the eyes of the Lord.  I use that strength as a blanket to hide my true vulnerable heart that is begging not to be hurt, as a wall to protect me from ones with whom vulnerability is necessary for healthy relationships, and as a badge of survival for the one in the mirror. 

But when that strength fails... that strength that comes from self and fear and mistrust... I see God as the one who has failed me... not the girl in the mirror.  And that causes me to draw inward even deeper... digging down for little bits and pieces of strength stored in reserve for such desperate times.  Anyone can become the enemy... I am all I have... that little girl sitting in her closet floor... trying to make it through the night.

I don't want to be weak, vulnerable, broken.  I fight it with everything in me.  I add brick after brick to that wall... in hopes that strength and walls will give me what I need most... protection... safety.
I retreat... my heart and I... we start slowly backing away... step by step... day by day.  And then there we are... alone.  Empty.

"Complete weakness and dependence will always be occasion for the Spirit of God to manifest His power."  Oswald Chambers~

In order for the Holy Spirit, who resides in me, to live through me, I HAVE TO STAY OUT OF HIS WAY!  I can not rely on little pieces and scraps of my own mortal strength.  The power that raised Christ from the dead is available to me through the Spirit! But NOT A DROP of self-sufficiency or self-strength can be present for the holy and righteous power of God to operate.  It is the very opposite of what the world offers and promotes.

Why can I not grasp this... accept it... live it... be delivered in it?  Freedom from walls and isolation and self tripping lie in "getting this."  Yet... I fall away from this truth over and over and over.

"Are you in a place of insufficiency? Don't despair.  It may feel as if God wasn't watching or caring for you when you arrived there.  But not only was He watching; He planned it!  He brought you there because it is the only place where He can step in and work and be acknowledged as the power behind your victories.  If you were not completely unable to meet your own needs, you would receive credit for fulfilling them.  He had to bring you face-to-face with His abilities." Chris Tiegreen, At His Feet.

I needed this reminder today.  If one of you did, I am so thankful to share it with you.

Amazingly enough... on my calendar today... the theme for blogging is FREEDOM.  How I need freedom... from my self... from my boot straps and big girl panties!  Instead of burning the bra... we need a burning party of the big girl panties!  LOL  When in the past I reached for them... I want to only reach for HIM!

I pray I can stay out of my own way so the Spirit can move and guide me.  I pray I can have the real strength to lay my strength down so that His strength can fill me.  I pray I can keep my eyes focused
on the One who sustains me, loves me, and lives in me and off the one I see in the mirror.  And I pray I can remember I am clothed in His righteousness and not just boots and big girl panties!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Knocks at the door...

Just moments after hitting the "publish" button on my last post... God started reaching down and being very personal... intentional... in getting my attention.  He started knocking.  I knew I was in a spiritual battle, but I had not an ounce of strength or even desire to fight.

I am so thankful my God, my Father... is not content to leave me there... in a heap of ridiculous mess at the bottom of the hole... or actually flat on my back on the kitchen floor.

The first "knock" was a phone call less than ten minutes after posting.  It was from a friend who had no idea what was going on and she bathed me with truth in love.  I felt something loosen.

The second was a photo I saw on a new friend's facebook page...

6 dogs that had just been pulled from a shelter before being killed.  Six little faces looking out of the back of an SUV... life... life saved and ready to be restored.  I felt a glimmer of strength stir inside me.

The third "knock" was my mom checking in on me... a follow up to her " I was led to call you" phone call last night.  She loved me and made me laugh.

And then the forth "knock" was loud and clear.  It beckoned me to open the door back up to Him.  I have this horrible problem of pulling away when I am wounded.  I close up.  And it comes with the inability to pray.  I feel I am so angry and raw and flesh like/human that I can not even make myself approach the throne.  Satan knows this and he drags me away hard sometimes... or he simply whispers lies that I believe and I walk off on my own will... rebellion.

As the fourth knock invited me to open the door... the words sounded a little familiar.  This fourth knock was an email I received from a friend who also had no idea what I was wrestling with.  She is having a hard time and this is what she sent me...
Struggling hardcore these last few days and pulled these emails back up. It seems that this really is an ongoing struggle of mine. Even in the last two emails asking the question if you've ever fallen too far for him to not pick you back up again. That's where I'm at. Again. 
Thank you for always speaking truth into my life (and that it's saved in email form so I can pull it back up over and over again) and for always calling me out when I need to be called out. 
Love you...
Sent from my iPhone

On Sep 23, 2010, at 2:03 AM, allfromhim <> wrote:
Good Morning Sweet one....
  You are ALWAYS IN A POSITION for God to come rescue you... you are His child.  You are always in a position for God to love you and show Himself to you.... He loves you, adores you, longs to be with you.
You are always on the heart of God, He is always calling to you, gently speaking to you, waiting for you... you have to go, you have to want to be with Him, you have to listen... and He is there... waiting with open arms!
  The enemy wants you to think you are not in a position.  Then you won't approach Him.  Sweet one... this is all about the enemy trying to steal, kill, and destroy your joy.  Where does "joy" come from?  Joy comes from the Lord. 
  AND THERE IS NEVER A POINT WHERE GOD SAYS ENOUGH!  Denounce that lie!  You have not "fallen away"... you are in a MAJOR battle for your heart and your faith.  In scripture, someone asks the Lord how many times he has to forgive his brother and the Lord says, 7 x 777 or something like that. (I'll look it up!)  But the point is... over and over and over and over and over and over... that is what the blood of Christ is for.
  My heart hurts that you are in this battle baby.  I so want to love on you and hug you and pray with you.  Please come "home" this weekend if you can.  You can hole up here and get loved on.  Consider it. 
  Take the things you told me to the Lord today.
  You are at a crucial place right now but the great news is the Lord of Lord and King of Kings is on your side!  HE IS YOUR WARRIOR!
  I have to go shower and get ready for Mom to Mom.  I'll write you more later.  I love you so so so so so so much.  You make my heart smile.  Your pain breaks my heart to the deepest points.  I am in prayer for you today.  You are in the Father's arms... claim that.  HE WILL NEVER LET YOU GO!!!!!!!!!

As I read those words, it hit me, they were mine.  And all of the sudden I heard God say, "THIS IS WHO YOU ARE.  THIS IS WHO YOU ARE IN ME.  THIS IS WHAT YOU KNOW TO BE TRUE.  THIS.  THIS.  LISTEN TO THIS.  THIS IS YOUR HEART! I AM CALLING TO YOU!"  I was smacked.  He reached down and gave me that.  I was floored... humbled... amazed... and oh so thankful.

I wrote those words in Sept. of 2010 and God sent them back to me over two years later and they were exactly what I needed to hear.  As I stood there in the grocery store... reading words over my phone... all the anger melted away.  The pain is still there.  The sorrow of missing her is still very heavy.  But there is hope.  She is back.  And strength... His strength... brought down for me.

I am deeply humbled by how intimate God is... how He can come and knock on my door and reach down in ways meant to stir and rescue my heart.  I am humbled at how His love can come in so quickly and despair has no option but to leave.  I am humbled He loves me that much... this much.

I am so very glad I posted my last post.  I will say it again, because I really mean it... I am just like any other girl.  I am far from perfect.  I have moments... ugly moments... days even... when I want to quit... when I listen to the lies of the enemy and start walking off the path of life.  I fall.  And I often fall hard... face deep in the mud... and I maybe even inhale a little... muddy water clogging up the very breath of my life... leaving me spewing and gasping for air.  I might even throw some of that mud... leaving me in position to ask for forgiveness and a good washing.  And my Father is there... in the midst of my mud party... and He waits.  He offers living water, cleansing, and robes white as snow with His righteousness.  He offers me grace and forgiveness and life... One Beautiful Life with Him.  I just have to hear and accept His offer. 

I spoke the words, "I hate my life," several times over the past 48 hours.  I repent of those words and the heart behind them.  I hate moments in my life, yes.  But my life... no.  I was agreeing with the one who wants to kill, steal, and destroy me.  I am so heartbroken I gave him such territory in my life... in my heart.  

Direction.  The only direction worth going is forward in faith... eyes on Him at all times.  That is what I choose.  That is what I speak over my life today.


Oddly enough, direction is written on my calendar for blogging right now.  Who knew that last month, when I wrote the themes on the calendar, direction would be who I would be sitting with today.

If you know me or follow me on facebook... you already know I am grieving the loss of my little Chloe... our first foster dog.  I know.  It's a dog.  I feel like people are like "yeah.... get over it already."  I want to... I wish I could... but her absence twirls around me like her precious little spirit did daily.  And tears can not be held.  I am sick with wanting her back.

The whole loss of her seems to be bringing to surface some seriously raw emotion.  Last week alone, we were denied insurance coverage for therapy Abby needs (my daughter), I stepped on the head of a little green lizard in our garage and Don had to finish it off to end it's suffering (I was traumatized... I let bugs go free and actually save things from spider webs), we rescued a third foster dog who is smacked with kennel cough and pneumonia, and I let my little precious Chloe get in the car with another family and leave.

As I grieve her absence, I don't want to be me anymore.  I don't want this heart.  I don't want this pain.  I don't want to care anymore.  All I can think about is changing direction.  I want to be numb.  I want to quit.

It is exhausting.  When I see a dead deer on the side of the road, a dead cat or dog or raccoon... I am flooded with emotion that is exhausting.  When I pass the local animal shelter, I am flooded with panic and pain and hopelessness.  It comes up from my toes and runs through my veins like acid.  I am tired of it.  I am done.  Really.  Enough already.

I was talking/crying with my mother last night on the phone.  She was talking about my compassionate heart and how beautiful it is and all I could think was "stupid"... these emotions that coil around me are stupid.  I mean seriously, there are bigger issues in the world than losing a spark of joy that danced around you each day and filled you with pure innocent delight and love.

I am so angry with myself and I am angry with my husband.  He made me choose.  Yet he "let" me foster in the first place.  And that brings about an entire separate bag of worms... having to "ask" permission to do things I want to do in my life because of godly order in the home.  As I spewed my anger towards him to my mother last night, she reminded me that who I am actually mad at is God since He set up godly order in the home.

So great.  Add that to the list. I am mad at myself... livid actually... that I made the wrong decision.  I, as always, tried to make the right decision.  My husband gave me the choice... keep Chloe and we don't foster/save anymore dogs... let Chloe go and you can help/save other dogs.  "Be selfless for the greater good," I decided.  Yep.  That's me.  But if ever there was a time to be selfish in my life it was THEN.  And I am severely peeved with myself for letting her go.  There.  I am peeved with myself and I can't go back... I can't get her back.  That hurts... hurts deep.  I want to slap myself every time I look in the mirror.

And I am peeved with my husband.  He thinks it is unfair.  But he made me choose.  For that, I am angry.  For the fact he seems to not even GET that I am grieving her... I am angry.

And I guess I am also mad at God.  He set up godly order in the home and as I want to please Him... I give in.  I hate it.  I rebel against it.  It makes me feel controlled.  It makes me feel like a child.  It makes me think I'd be better off without a husband so I could make my own decisions and that is just simply spoiled and then the fact that I even feel that way makes me feel like a spoiled brat and again mad at myself.

And then there is this... I thought God would help me let her go.  I really thought He would honor my heart and give me some supernatural ability to smile and let her go and find comfort in the fact she is with a wonderful loving family.  And He didn't.  Nope.  No He didn't.   I hit... bottom... hard.  There is no comfort.  Only ridiculous deep sorrow.  And memories... memories of her waiting until I stirred in bed each day and licking my face and laying down by my shoulder.  Memories of her twirling at my feet as I got out of bed.  Memories of her following me to the closet and getting excited as I got dressed.  Memories of her twirling in front of me as we walked down the hallway and her pulling on my pants as I walked down the stairs.  Memories of her wanting to come with me every time I went somewhere.  Memories of her crying with delight and bouncing all over me and licking me with kisses when I returned from a conference.  Memories of her everywhere... all... day... long.

And actually, funny enough... since this past week has just been as funny as possible... I was up in the middle of the night Monday night with the new dog, Ferris, who is coughing his brains out.  I had him in my arms around 5:30 a.m. to take him to the bathroom to "steam" him in hopes he could breath better.  As I walked around the corner half asleep, I forgot about the baby gate that was up as part of our effort to keep him separate from our other dog.  I ran right into it, almost flipped over it but then it flew forward and as I compensated from almost flipping forward, I flew into the air and landed flat on my back in the kitchen, on the hardwood.  My literal hitting bottom hard becoming all too real.  I let go of the dog, whom I managed to hang onto, and laid there and cried.  My back, my neck, my wrist, my hip... burning with pain.  And today, as a sweet reminder, I feel like I have been HIT BY A TRUCK.  I can not even move without pain.  In yet another effort to help, I was thrown flat on my back.

So direction... I don't think I can do this anymore.  I don't want to.  I don't want to care this much and hurt this much and be this emotional.  I am done.  I want to change direction.  I want to turn this off.  I want to join another club... the club of  "I don't care anymore."

This is not my typical post.  I hate it when people think I have it together or they say I am so strong.  I am not.  I am not strong.  I am a mess.  And here it is... my mess.  My fit.  My pain.  My anger and my grief... right here... in it's flesh.

And I thought I'd share it... so there is never moment when you think I am anything but what I am... a mess.  A ridiculous mess.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Real Life First... Blog Second

Life can just explode like an egg in the microwave sometimes! 

We were able to save this little one from being killed Thursday.  So humbled. I picked him up last night and he is the most precious little thing.  He is scared and sad and sick.  I took him to the vet this morning and he has kennel cough.  So we are going to love and medicate him right back to health!

Thursday night, we picked up two more chillies (kids).  We have friends who left Friday for their first adoption trip to the Ukraine. They are adopting a sibling group of THREE.  We took two of their existing FIVE and will be spending the next week or so with them.  They are precious too. Such sweet girls.  It is a gift to be able to love on them while their parents are gone.  Sweet, sweet family.  It is so beautiful to watch God move among His people!

So all of that, plus the holiday festivities and crafts at school, basketball practices, cleaning, laundry, sleep overs, and tonight's date night has simply derailed me from blogging.  I am so sorry. 

Tomorrow will be a very emotional day.  Our first foster dog baby, my beloved Chloe, will be going to her forever family.  She will take part of my heart with her.  That precious baby has blossomed while she has been here and I love her deeply.  The thought of her leaving is killing me.  Your prayers are always appreciated.

By letting her go, we can save more.  By letting her go, we saved Ferris.  There are millions of Chloes and Ferrises out there who die every day because people just don't keep them.  They are so full of life and love.  I can't save them all... but I have saved three already and I have just begun.  If only everyone saved one... problem solved.  :0(

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Infertility Restored...

I have never had a baby bump.  I have never had a baby belly.  I have never had a baby.

I have had just days of holding the miracle inside. I have had miscarriages.  I have had moments of sitting in the midst of baby world (OBGYN offices) where I thought I might either pitch a fit on the floor or grab a baby and RUN!  And I have had restoration from some of the deepest pain and rejection I have walked through.

From the time I was a small girl, I knew I wanted to be a mother.  I walked around "feeding" my babies on my tiny ant bites of boobs.  I fed them three times a day.  Thankfully... they were plastic and survived the absence of nutrition.  But they were loved... and my desire to be a mommy was fed and grew... the desire to nurture, to give life to, and to love.

You know that moment... that moment where you and your husband decide to have a baby?  Yeah.  We arrived there shortly after 9-11 and the TRYING began.  At first it was fun.  I mean really... lots of "that" was fun.  And the hope that we were creating life added a sweetness that was seriously cool.  But month after month, period after period, the coolness began to fade.  I started reading books, making "cute" little charts and bought THE thermometer.  Dots started being added to my chart and sex started becoming a monitored, timely, and desperate act to MAKE something happen.  Sadness.  Not so cool.

On one occasion, I was two weeks late.  I had been making myself wait until the two weeks late mark to take a test... as I was often late.  We should have purchased stock in E.P.T. sticks!  We'd be set for life.  But we didn't.  I decided I was late enough... said a prayer... peed on the stick and I left the bathroom. I walked the well worn path up and down my hallway.  I pleaded with the Lord.  I begged.  My heart beat quickly as I thought, "This is it... I know this is it."  I had been feeling not so great in the mornings and my boobs were, well, SORE.  I waited a whole ten minutes even though the box asked for just two.  I wanted to be REAL sure that extra little pink line had time to come bursting forth.

I walked into the bathroom... and I reached for it.  There it was.  One line.  Again. One Line. One line of rejection... simply present as if it had no idea what kind of blow it had just made to my heart... my spirit... my entire being.

I THREW it in the trash can and started sobbing. Wailing.  I was so mad at myself for allowing hope and I was so mad at God... for keeping the gift.  And then I started stomping.  I remember stomping my foot into the floor so hard... it felt like it was on fire.  Stomping was followed with yelling... crying out... WHY... WHY...WHY NOT?  WHY NOT ME?  WHY NO?  WHY NO AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN?  WHAT AM I DOING WRONG?  WHY AM I NOT WORTHY?  WHY DID YOU GIVE ME A HEART TO BE A MOTHER?  WHY WON'T MY BODY DO WHAT YOU MADE IT TO DO?  WHY???????????? WHY DON'T YOU LOVE ME????????????

So then I didn't want to have sex anymore. (TMI alert)  I just saw it as further rejection.  Not from my husband by any means... but from God.  Feeling rejected from God is some seriously deep rejection.  And it is a lie.  It is a lie orchestrated to wound us so deep... so very deep.  With every moment of intimacy  came the question and slight whisper of hope... and then each monthly period brought the sting... again... "you are a failure."

I felt rejected by my own body.  I felt betrayed by the very meaning of "woman."  I felt worthless.

I had never even thought about fertility problems.  It had never crossed my mind.  I was the oldest of five... and I was going to have six.  That was the plan... my plan.

But God knew.  He saw it.  He thought about it.  And He did something so very sweet.  He gave me the heart for adoption in the tenth grade.  He stamped it right on my heart and planted the seed deep.  So His water came to bring it forth and I remembered... I saw it like it had happened that very day.

I was 16 years old.  My economic class required us to write summaries on current events on Fridays.  "TIME" and "Newsweek" magazines were passed from person to person throughout the day as we scanned articles during study hall.  I was handed a magazine at my locker and sped off to class... as if it was any other Friday.

As I looked through the magazine, the pages opened and my heart skipped 20 beats as horror rolled through me like waves of an angry ocean.  It was a two page photograph.  The bottom half of the photo was a street.  In the middle... a sidewalk with a bicycle rolling past, the bottom half of a woman sweeping out the doorway of her store front, and legs of people walking by.  There were no faces.  Yet in the bottom right corner... there was a little body... a tiny naked body of a newborn baby girl... laying dead in the gutter... right there... right... there.  And life was going on all around her.  No one stopped for her.

Tears started flowing and the story entwined me with rage and fury.  Baby girls were being killed in China in mass number because residents were allowed one child and everyone wanted a boy.  The horror stole my breath as I read about midwives drowning baby girls in buckets seconds after being born, smothering them with pillows, and even worse.  I went to the teacher's desk gripping this magazine in anger.  "Does our President know this is going on!?" I asked in complete innocence of the darkness that grips so much of this world.  He glanced at the article and then back to me and answered simply, "Yes."  I walked back to my desk in total disbelief.  How in the world can people in authority know this is going on and do nothing about it?

I stared at that picture... forever etching it on my mind... and I decided right there... right then... I would save one.  I knew I could not save them all.  But I knew I could save one.  And adoption became part of my tapestry.  God knew.  God had a plan.  A mighty plan.

As I remembered this moment, I began to think that God wanted to us adopt first.  I had always imagined we would have a couple children and then adopt.  But I started thinking God wanted to reverse my plan... adopt first.

I started researching adoption online and we were led to the agency that led us to Abby.  As she walked around the corner of the hallway in the orphanage... my answer came.  "WHY... WHY...WHY?" echoed in my memory and the sting in my heart erupted into joy and the answer spoke so loudly... "THIS IS WHY."  As she bravely walked towards me, turned around and sat in my lap.. the weight of her little body caught me so off guard.. the weight of her presence... the realness of the child God had placed on my heart when I was 16 years old.  This child was alive the very day I stomped my foot... and cried aloud in disappointment.  She was here.  She had been given to me.  She had just sat down in my lap... clutching cookies in each hand.  Abigail... "Her Father's joy."  Abigail Grace... "by His grace He led her to us."

Restoration was in process... but not complete.  After Abby, there was another miscarriage.  After Abby, there was more pain and feelings of failure.  I still held on ever so slightly to the "you'll get pregnant after you adopt," comments.  But it never came... the baby bump... the baby belly... the baby.

I sat in the OBGYN's office... in the midst of that baby sea.  There were women with babies in arm, stroller, and belly.  There were kids with baby in belly and grandmothers on arm.  There were couples sitting in that glow of beaming love with baby in belly.  And I sat there... empty... barren... crusty and dried up... as I like to call it.  This particular time I was just overcome with it... the "screaming emptiness" of it... the "rejection to the club" of it... the failure of it.  I thought I might explode.

My name was called, praise the LORD, and I ran to the back room.  Broken.  I was broken.  My body was broken.  My heart was broken.  My hope was broken.  My dream was broken.  My doctor came in... and she held me.  The Father's arms held me.  And I let it go.  I let go of the hope.  I let go of the pain.  I let go of the fake happiness I wore as friends announced their second, third, fourth, and even fifth pregnancies.  I let go of the hope of a baby belly.  I let it go.  I let it go.  All of it...

And the emptiness was replaced with His love and affirmation: "I have chosen you to be a mother to the motherless... your womb has never been and will never be empty... it overflows with life you give to children for Me. I have called you to this... to adoption... to child advocacy... they will know My love through you... I love them that much... and I trust you that much.  I have given you my heart for them and you give them My love... you give them Me!"

I was restored.

My heart, my womb, my body, my "woman-ness", my purpose... restored.

I have never felt pain or faked happiness at the announcement of another pregnancy since.  I have never seen a baby belly and been struck with sadness since.  I have never felt like I was drowning in the OBGYN's office since.

I overflow with joy as child after child find their forever family through the calling God has given me.  I rejoice as my husband shares that calling.  I am deeply touched as I look at our family and see God's hand on every single moment of every single child.  I am humbled to my face as I watch hope given to others through the life of this barren yet restored woman... this mother.

And I am encouraged to know that when I can not see clearly, my Father can and does.  And He is in control.  And He is good, faithful, loving, patient, and sovereign!

As I look at my life and see several areas where I still need restoration, I praise Him and am encouraged in remembering the gift of this one.  It did not happen over night.  It was hard.  The journey was hard and often ugly.  But that allows restoration to be all the more beautiful!

Be encouraged sweet friends.  Our Father is the Master Restorer and is always working on us!  And we are in GOOD HANDS!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Monday Blues... But You Are ALL Winners

Who knew that in the midst of "restoration" I was going to be in such need of it!?  I guess God did.

Abby has had seizures two days in a row.  That is a bummer.  I took the first one fine but the second hit me below the waist.  I hate it when that happens.  And to top it all off, our precious dog we have been fostering will be leaving for her forever family soon.  My heart is thrilled we were a part of saving her but I am going to miss her more than I can even say.

I seriously have the Monday blues today.  I am making potato soup for dinner on this dreary gray day and hoping to have some time to restore tonight.

I drew the winner this morning, in my high tech way of writing names on slips of paper, and Sue T won the gift package!  But I like to give... really like it.. and since there were so few of you who entered... the rest of you will get a pair of  handmade earrings too!

So email me your addresses to and I will get them in the mail (or slip them in your mailbox if you are local! :0)

Thank you for walking with me.  I hope to BE BACK tomorrow. :0)

Much love... Dawn 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Weekends are for restoring

I am resting today... restoring my mind, my soul, & my body.  Last week was c-r-a-z-y and this week is filling up already.  So today, I am taking it slow.  And that means no "real" post!  HA HA

I pray each of you are having a blessed weekend and basking in the beauty around you.~

Saturday, November 10, 2012

A lifetime of restoration

Adam and Eve WALKED WITH God in the garden of Eden.  They lived in harmony with His creation and with Him.  Life was perfect.  Satan couldn't stand it... such intimacy between man and Holiness.  And he entered into the picture, lied, tempted, and stole.  Sin was birthed and left it's ugliest mark... separation between God and man.  But a lifetime of restoration was set in place.

Restoration: a bringing back to a former position or condition.  What was the former condition?  Perfect relationship with God.  All of time, until Christ returns, is a bringing back to our former position.  Whether we are in need of restoration in our marriages, in our relationships with family members, with our churches, with our friends and loved ones, with our children, with anything... it ultimately gets back to restoration with God.  If we are restored with God, if we are in right relationship with Him, everything... everything else will fall into place.

Restoration is one of the main themes of scripture.  All throughout the Old Testament, we see God in a constant attempts to bring His chosen people back to Him.  They walk with Him, they turn away from Him, they come back to Him, they fall away from Him, they repent and come back to Him again, they rebel against Him again.  Over and over and over this plays out.  I am ALWAYS AMAZED at His patience, His love, His mercy, His faithfulness, and His forgiving nature.  And I am also struck with the intensity of His discipline.  Even in His nature of LOVE, real, true, unconditional love, He can deliver a smack down when they rebel.  One of the biggest of those smacks being His scattering of 10 of the 12 tribes.  You might say, God said, "I've had it... go have at it."

Scripture tells us that God divorced His people.  THAT is pretty powerful.  He refers to His people as a whore.  THAT is pretty powerful.  And yet... His love can not keep Him away from her forever.  Isaiah is a beautiful book that captures this as is Hosea.  God wants His people back.  His love is too strong.  It's who He is... love.  According to scripture... that He set into place... when a "woman" is divorced, she can remarry only after her first husband dies.  God came in the flesh, as Jesus Christ, to restore His people.  And He died... fulfilling the law set against her... and He is gathering His bride, whom He scattered, and will marry her again!  The Bridegroom cometh.

In the New Testament, Christ is sent as the Redeemer.  He is sent as the Restorer.  He offers restoration to God in Himself.  Through Christ we are restored to God.  Yet Paul shows us over and over in his writings that man STILL falls away, still steps off the path, and still needs restoration from time to time... to time.  "Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted."  Galatians 6:1~

Over and over Paul writes to churches who are not walking in the restoration they have accepted.  They are prideful, they are preaching other doctrines, they are participating in sins of the flesh, they are twisting the truth, they are participating in traditions of the pagans... they are in need of restoration. In the first few chapters of Revelations, we see churches in need of restoration.  They have lots of things right but God wants them to get it all right.  Very powerful scriptures with an important message... don't become complacent.

Restoration is something I seek often... actually... almost daily.  My salvation is in the Lord.  My salvation is secure.  But my personal, intimate "walking with" God can get off path.  I like "walking with" God.  I love intimacy with Him.  And I hate it when Satan comes to try and steal it.

We will be walking through praying for restoration for the next few days.  I am so glad you are here.  I can not even tell you how glad.  You encourage me just with your presence here.  Your emails and private messages have encouraged me so so much as you walk in a prayerful November with me.  

Start praying today that the Holy Spirit will bring to your mind areas in your life where you may need some restoring.  One that comes to my mind FAST is my personal time with Him.  I KNOW how vital it is to DRINK from His fountain and to FEAST on His Word... and yet I can go for days without doing so... leaving myself half starved, weak prey to the always stalking enemy, and depleted and not so great for my family.    
Pray He might bring people to mind you need restoration with and write them down... on a slip of paper... a post it note... or in your journal and commit to praying for that person and your relationship for the next five days.

One of the things I take away from "watching" Israel in the Old Testament is how faithful God is to take them back... over and over and over.  I find so much encouragement in that.  He IS THE RESTORER of our soul... we need just ask.

"He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake."  Psalm 23:3

Friday, November 09, 2012

Happy Friday... a gift for you!

I am so thrilled the weekend is here!  This week has been... whew... B-U-S-Y.  I know many, if not ALL of you, relate.

So as we end our five days on praying for healing... I am keeping it light, fun, and simple.  I am a gift giver.  I LOVE to give gifts... even more than I like receiving them.  I sometimes feel it could be selfish since I get so much joy from creating the gift, giving it, and seeing joy in the receiver.

Sometimes, in our process of healing, just a little gift of love can go a long way.  So I have some gifts of love.  I am giving away two pairs of handmade earrings (that I made myself) and two books!  My idea was that one pair could be for you and one pair for you to give a friend who may need some encouragement.  And the same with the books... one for you and one to give!  Yeah!!!!  Happy Friday!  I am excited just typing this!

The first pair of earrings are made with smokey quartz and sterling silver beads. Perfect for Fall.

The second pair is made from rose and raspberry quartz.  The circle accent beads at the bottom are sterling silver as are the beads at the top.  I think these are so fun!

The books are two of the MANY books I received as a gift at the Allume conference.  They were so generous in the "love" they offered us in gifts... I am thrilled to be able to pass some of it along!
Stay Encouraged, by K.P. Yohannan and Dear Sister, letters of Hope and Encouragement, by Gisela Yohannan, are two perfect little reads to add a smile to the heart of a friend.

Sadly, I don't have enough for every one of you.  So here is how you enter to WIN!

1. Leave a comment that you would like a gift!  If you want to share a little note about who you want to share it with... that would be great... but you don't have to.  This enters your name in the drawing!

2. "Like" One Beautiful Life on facebook and this enters your name twice!  If you have already liked the page, just let me know in your comment and you get a second entry anyway!  

3. Tweet a link to this giveaway and you are entered a THIRD time!  Oh yeah!  Ha. This is so fun!!! :0)

4. Share a link to this post on facebook and you are entered a FOURTH time!

5. "Follow" One Beautiful Life on the sidebar and you are entered a FIFTH time!  If you already follow, let me know and you still get another entry.

6. Stand on the side of the road holding a sandwich board with a link to this post and you win!  HA HA.  JUST KIDDING.  The thought was too funny not to share. :0)

* When you comment... let me know how many of the things you did above so I know how many times to enter your name. 

*Entries will be taken until 6.p.m. on Sunday night, November 11th.  I will post who wins on Monday and give you my email address so you can privately give me your mailing address.  If you are local, I will get it to you.  If you are not local, I will mail it to you! :0)

You all are great.  I am enjoying this so much.  I have not written on this blog for 10 days straight EVER.  You all are making it so much easier with your friendship, your participation, and your excitement.  
Please remember to go back to our prayer list, in the comments of the post of November 7th, and pray for each other today.  It will move mountains.

Happy Healing Friday!

Thursday, November 08, 2012

We can't be in a series on healing and not address the hippo in the room...

It is very carefully and thoughtfully that I address this subject.  At the Allume conference, which impacted me greatly as a writer/blogger, I realized that my "purpose statement" for this blog was focused on encouraging women as mothers, wives, daughters, friends, and women of God.  So it is with my purpose in mind that I write this today.

I am heartbroken as I watch the Spirit of Rebellion take hold of so many in our country and the idol of Self be worshiped and raised higher and higher.  And even though it breaks my heart, I have a certain peace that flows from knowing God is in control and that what is happening is biblical.  It flat out says, in the Word of God, that in the last days... what is right will be made wrong and what is wrong will be made right.  I know, from reading through the Old Testament and especially after studying the feasts/God's appointed days, that what He says is going to happen... to the day, to the person, to the last detail... no matter what man or Satan does to try and thwart it.  In that, and in that alone, I find peace.  His Word also clearly states HE is the one who places leaders in leadership and HE is the one who takes them down. 

But what troubles me more and makes me cringe on a daily basis (and especially on facebook) is watching Christians... who love the Lord... act in a way that tramples truth and dims the light of Jesus... actually casting more darkness into a world already fighting and falling beneath the ruler of darkness.  We are called to stand in the midst of things just as this and to stand with the full armor of Christ... not the full armor of the world... not with hateful words and mockery of leadership and attacks that are just full of ignorance, doubt, and fear. This is not a "if you can't beat them... join them" kind of situation.  This is a "if you can't beat them... love them and live with scabbed knees and dirty faces from praying for them" kind of situation.

It is o.k to be disappointed.  It is not o.k to spew hatred and speak words over people I won't even rewrite and over our country like "she has died."  How about, "She is in the hands of the living God and God have mercy on us."  How about, "She is in the hands of the potter and being pressed on every side and being refined... even disciplined."  How about, "She is in THE perfect place for God to do something mighty that no man could do and the entire nation/world could come to their knees and salvation as they witness the POWER OF GOD... and not the power of the people!"

GOD IS IN CONTROL. Where is our trust?  Where is our anticipation to watch Him move?  Where is our hope that with HIM ALL things are possible?  Where is our spirit of love, power, and a sound mind... a sound mind?  Where is our belief in the power of prayer?  Where is our faithfulness to draw near to Him?  Where is our love for our enemy?  Where is our turning of the other cheek?

Last night, as I was thinking about this, a very well known story came to mind.  The disciples are in the boat with Jesus.  A storm arises, dark clouds roll in and cover the night sky, the wind is blowing and tossing them from side to side... and Jesus sleeps.   "And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water, and were in jeopardy. And they came to Him, saying, "Master, Master, we are perishing!  Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water.  And they ceased, and there was calm.  But He said to them, Where is your faith?"  Luke 8:23, 25~

Does any of that sound familiar?  I am hearing a lot of, "We are perishing!"  And I am also clearly hearing, "Where is your faith?"  But I am believing and sharing friends... HE WILL ARISE AND HE WILL REBUKE AND THERE WILL BE CALM.  I believe in the sovereign authority, trustworthiness, and timing of my God.  He has shown me over and over in His Word and in my life that His timing is always perfect and ALWAYS BRINGS HIM GLORY!

We are missing the big picture.  We so often fall into seeing with only our physical eyes.  Oh, to remain in the place of seeing with our spiritual eyes.   "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.  For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down of strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought captive into the obedience of Christ and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled."  2 Corinthians 10:3-6~

This whole thing right now, is not only about us.  It is a part of the entire tapestry God is weaving in the world for the arrival of the KING... and it will play out the way He has already created, written and ordained it to play out.

We have two choices.  We can play our part for the side of righteousness and unite, pray, love, trust, and stand... continuing with the task set before us... sharing the gospel and making disciples.  Or we can play our part on the other side in the midst of discord, demands, hatred, mistrust, self-righteousness, entitlements, and idol worship of the god of Self. 

What are our weapons?  We are so blessed that God loves us enough and tells us exactly what we are to fight with... gird your waist with truth, put on the breastplate of righteousness, around your feet... preparation of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith WITH WHICH you will be able to quench ALL the fiery darts of the wicked one, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit WHICH IS THE WORD OF GOD... Ephesians 6:12-18~  The sword defends and protects us... the Word of God is what we defend and fight with... being protected by all the rest.   There it is friends... our armor... our arsenal... our protection... our battle attire. 

I love the summing up at the end of that chapter: "praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for the saints."

Can we pray?

Holy Lord, remind us you are holy.  Remind us You are sovereign and You are the author of every step that brings the end in which Your holy and worthy Son will return to judge the world, cleanse her, and marry His bride.  Let the Holy Spirit fall on each and every one of us with the refreshing of Your love and peace and allow it to overflow onto those around us.  Give us joy in the midst of the storm.  Give us joy and the ability to praise you as the winds pick up strength and speed... as our boats fill up with water... and keep our eyes focused directly on You.  Let us not turn our face to the left or to the right... or we will sink in doubt and fear.  Lord, bring healing to each one of us, bring healing to our country and bring healing to our leaders.  Forgive us for our sin and hear our prayers, Lord.  Remind us You have already won the battle through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and through the very truth of who You are.  Give us the courage to lay down our burdens, our fears, and our disappointments at your feet and to leave them there.  Give us the eyes to see the attacks of the enemy on our hearts and on the power of our testimony and remind us to rebuke him.  Remind us of the authority we have as your children and fellow heirs.  Give us the discipline to take every thought captive and bring it to the obedience of your word!  And Lord, let us die to ourselves daily so you can live in us.  We can't do this... we can't do this.  Thank you for letting us have the opportunity to die to our flesh and to let you live in and through us... overflow Jesus... overflow and help us... pull us... yank us out of the way.  Let your will be done and let us thank You and praise You in it!  Let us be a light in the darkness, Lord... a light that leads people to you!  Hallelujah.  Have mercy on us.  Be our refuge.  Be our comfort.  Be our strength.  To be You be ALL the praise and glory... Lord... you WILL ARISE AND CALM THE STORM.  I BELIEVE.  In your precious and worthy and holy Son's name, Amen.  

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Healing when you can't say another prayer...

I sat in my bed as she continued to have clusters of seizures in my lap.  With my head pressed hard against the headboard, I really didn’t know how much more I could stand.  She had her 16th seizure for the day and I yelled at my husband because her doctor wasn’t calling back… and we even had his cell phone number. 

It was so surreal.  Was this really happening?  Was this our life?  No, this wasn’t life.  This was hell on earth.  I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.  And I sat there in it and I could not offer up one prayer. I was empty… depleted... spent.  I was just a shell of the person I once was and I was sinking in this tumultuous sea that would not even let me come up for air.

I called my mom, who lived in Virginia.   Oh, how I needed to be the one in her lap.  How I needed to see the love in her eyes for me.  She answered and I collapsed into her arms through the connection of a telephone line and I let it go… the ugliness of it. 

I asked it out loud, with a broken and beaten heart but with conviction... “Where is God… how can He continue to watch all of this and do NOTHING, how can He hear me pray and cry and beg and plead and watch her slip closer to death daily and do NOTHING?”  And then the deeper truth followed from my mouth… “I can’t bring myself to pray one more prayer…  not one.  There are no words left.  He has heard them time and time again… and nothing.”

Needless to say, I was not at a good place.  I remember driving one day and seeing a bumper sticker that read, “God is good,” and I laughed and spoke out loud… “Yeah?  That’s a crock.”  There she was… Bitterness.  Bitterness was entwining herself around my heart and I was sinking deep into a dark hole.

My mom offered words of love as only a mom knows how to do.  It didn’t help.  And then she offered this: “You don’t need to pray right now.  Let us be your Aaron… we’ll hold your arms up right now, we’ll hold you up.  You have no idea how many people are praying for Abby daily... hundreds... maybe thousands.  Her illness has driven hundreds into a faithful and constant prayer life with the Lord.  God is being glorified even now through her suffering… your suffering.  You may never know how many people will come closer to God because of Abby and her journey.”

Getting permission to stop praying was actually helpful.  I felt I could fall back… rest.  After I hung up with her, I chewed on her thoughts.  I pondered them over and over in my mind.  I thought about how many people were praying for her, how many churches had her on their prayer list… all over the country… and how strangers were sending us cards and praying for my child.

Then it hit me.  I didn’t care.  And as she had another seizure in my lap, I spoke out loud, “I don’t care how many people are drawing closer to You through prayer because of Abby.  This is not fair.  She is just a child.  She doesn’t deserve this.   And you are letting it happen.  It’s not worth it.  It’s not worth her pain and her life.  You can reach them some other way.”

Pressing my head harder into the resistance of the headboard, tears overcame me, and I had one of those good gut cries.  Then it happened.  The Lord washed me with His Spirit and I was filled with His reply.  It was the second time this had happened to me during these darkest of days.  No audible voice thundering down from heaven.  Just peace and words as quickly as a snap of a finger.

“My child came to earth to suffer and to die… so that others could come to me.  My child came to earth with the very purpose of suffering and dying so others could know me.  He was my child.  He didn’t deserve it either.  And yet, He did it to glorify me.  Who are you to think you or Abby are above what Jesus Christ did?”

The words sunk deep.  Even with the rebuke, I had peace and my eyes were opened.  I realized there was much more going on here than what was happening in my bedroom.  It was a spiritual battle and it involved a lot more people than Abby and my family.  If God watched His child suffer and die… who was I to think I was above that… that she was above that… that we deserved better than that… more than that?

New tears fell down my face as I repented.  I repented for selfishness, pride, arrogance, mistrust, and bitterness.  I was washed with the knowing that God Almighty knew exactly what I was feeling.   I found comfort there.  My perspective changed that day… and my heart.  And I prayed.

Praying for healing can be so exhausting, discouraging, and exposing.  It tests our faith, our knowledge of the Word, our belief of what it says, and our endurance.  And it always, always, always heals.  Something else I learned that day… and see so clearly now… I had been praying and praying for my daughter’s healing… and the Lord was giving me mine.  Parts of my heart were being healed that I never even knew needed His touch.  Praying for healing can go on for a long time in some cases, but it always offers a sweet invitation for intimacy with the Father.

Have you been praying for healing?  Are you tired?  Do you want someone to join you… to hold up your arms like Aaron did for Moses when he was too tired lift them any longer?  You can share as much or as little information as you want in the comments.  And if you are on this journey, I invite each and every one of you to pray for each thing written.  It can be one word… like marriage, an illness, pain, emotional pain, physical pain, or a person’s name or initials.  But if they are written there… we will join you and pray.

And here are some scriptures to encourage you today.   Thank you for being here.  I am so very glad you are here.

Psalm 5:2,3  Psalm 55:16-18  Psalm 55:22  Revelation 5:8