Thursday, July 9, 2015
It’s a new day; another day of choices to make.
Although “happy” is my favorite word in the English dictionary there are still days when I am either so sad that that word doesn’t even exist or I wish it away on purpose while drowning in my self-pity. Happy is just a word but how I use it becomes my world; my day.
During Briley Faith’s 61 days with us, pushing through the choice of darkness to light was a difficult journey. Many times… oh so many times, I wanted to curl up and cry for my granddaughter, my angel eyes; for my children and grandson; for me. By starting my day choosing to be clothed in “self” I learned is a risk that leads to unhappiness. I have walked out my front door dressed “to the tee” of “self” thinking and ready to take on the day only to find that “self” came home weak, depressed and not loving life; happy-less.
Here I am again… today. Reflecting on the past isn’t bad when it is used for our good today. My today is dimmed by circumstances. So, sitting on the front porch step I know I have to push through my thinking and take every thought captive for Christ. Do you hear God? Push. Do you see Him? Press on. Focus on Him and not me. Be still, seek Him... listen... wait patiently and He will arrive in a breathtaking way. Push harder. He is near. Then suddenly, my focus on my circumstances becomes faith in His character and once again, my answer, my calm, MY MORNING WITNESS arrives; I’m surrounded by God’s light, God’s promises. His winds partner with the leaves of the trees; a dance of grace. All the birds of hope are as a bow to a violin; gentle notes created from the freedom of the flight. My smile, not painted, but real--upon my heart is revealed outwardly. Then, laughter expels as I'm now inside standing, looking out my door when one of God's beauties, a Hummingbird, suddenly approaches me as if fluttering a "Hello". God is speaking, “DANCE, SING, LAUGH! Put your HAPPY on!” I’m so thankful for those reminders that GOD'S GOT THIS day, too!
Are you resting on the clouds of doubt and living in rain of self-pity? Have you, like I have before, allowed the world or other people’s choices to affect your happiness? The word is happy. The “Happy-Maker” is Christ. The choice is yours.
Put you happy on!
Proverbs 16:20 “He who heeds the word wisely will find good, and whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he.”
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
October 11, 2012; the day God gave us our granddaughter, Briley Faith. The delivery waiting room was filled with excitement and anticipation! There was no indication or any preparation for what the “room of waiting” would become; a place of daily wait for 61 days. We now wait for the day to see her again when God calls us all to our heavenly home where we wait no more.
Briley Faith, this precious angel on earth was born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy/Type 0, the most severe. When we found out she would never come home, well home here, it was a devastating, heart hurting, hope grasping day. Loud excitement turned to silence in prayer. In that silence we gave it all to God; He heard us in that very dark hour. In an instant our heads were lifted, hearts healed and hope restored. Josh, my son and Briley’s daddy would remind us all, “God’s got this!” Faith strengthened through the pain, the dark hospital room became a tabernacle of praise, Briley Faith didn’t need her muscles to send His message, and lives were changed!
But, there were times I had wondered what if I had known I was carrying that SMA gene I might had passed on to Josh. What if I had been tested years ago, Josh tested… what if we had known. Then through many tears I had for Briley Faith, her mommy, daddy and big brother, I realized “what if” wasn’t in God’s plan.
God continues to remind me of His power plan of greatness, as He did today, as He did while we walked the Briley Faith journey and five years ago during one of my darkest hours…
Every now and then as part of my daily reading, along with God’s word, I have enjoyed reading the book, “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young. A week ago today, a little note fell out from between the pages of this book I have read over the years and reminded me of God’s vast love for me… for you.
February 17, 2010. I remember that day and never want to revisit where I was, where my mind was ever again. I was not planning on going there, but I did. Others I knew had been there. But me? How did I get to that place when I love to smile, make others smile and my favorite word is “happy”?
Sitting in my car parked under some trees and away from the busyness of the building I worked in, like most days, I was having my lunch alone. I really enjoyed my time in the quiet talking to Jesus, reading His word. This particular day was a different “alone”. Although I knew God was always with me, by choice I allowed my mind to shut His light out. Life in my mind had become haunting and dark, a place of battle; I traveled it, my mind, alone on my own strengths, my way. For a little while, I basked in self-pity. To tell you the truth, it felt good to cry “Oh me.” Even though no one else heard, it didn’t matter. The self-pity was a temporary feel good. No one knew where my mind lived for a while because I didn’t tell them. My smile told a different story. Some found out later; long after my despair, darkness, and a dead-end road of understanding why someone would contemplate death. Yep, that was me. Perky, positive, pleasant me turned negative; negative within my own self, negative meeting up with more negative and dark becoming darker. Looking back, life really wasn’t that bad. I had a good marriage, good church, good friends, good job. But, I allowed life’s hurdles to take me to the edge. This 3x5 card tucked away in this book fell out five years later as a reminder for me or for you today.
The writing on the card dated 2-17-10 reads, “What if I didn’t do anything for anyone. I guess it would be as if I weren’t here to do anything for anyone.”
I remember my thoughts while writing those few words in that climatic moment, “If I stopped helping, encouraging and praying with and for others would I even be noticed? I was hurting and why couldn’t they hear me? I always heard them. Why?” Although I am geographically challenged, at that time in my state of self-mindedness I understood the way to loneliness, the way to emptiness, the way to darkness, the way to nothing. Crippling thoughts; these thoughts became my illness; unable to breathe, out of tears, and out of words to pray. My days consisted of a variety of “hits”; physical and financial blows, disappointment in others, loss of loved ones. It was as if I was in the boxing ring with Satan. Too tired to stand, down for the count…
I camped out at the edge engulfed by “what ifs” for 30 days holding on to these words from that little devotional page dated February 17. “Don’t try to force-fit today into yesterday’s mold. Instead, ask Me to open your eyes, so you can find all I have prepared for you in this precious day of your life.” For 30 days I held on to this verse… “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17; 30 days of hope.
Also written at the bottom right corner of this tattered and worn 3x5 card were the simple words, “But I’m gonna!” with the date 3-17-10. My “what ifs” were in control until I finally let go and let God show me “what’s His”; as His child, that’s me! Because I am His I could start new again! So, I changed my focus away from me and back to others as God intended. I was standing again! Standing on His promises and following His plan; a plan that does not include “what ifs” and healing began.
Many of you reading this have been to that dark place like me and determined to never return by taking every thought captive for Christ; think His thoughts. For some of you, part of your “what if” includes a “why”. Your unanswered “why” has become a weight of despair. Because you belong to God you can hang on to what you already know; His truth and faithfulness to His promises, your anchor of hope. Choose Christ and allow His Way to take care of your “whys”. Then, there are you who only know darkness because you have never experienced a relationship with Jesus Christ, The Light of the world; your only hope out of darkness. Hell is full of “what ifs”. Don’t be one who is saying, “What if I had said, “Yes, Jesus. I know I’m a sinner and Your blood covers it all. Please forgive me of all my sin and come into my heart. I receive You as my personal Savior and become forever Yours.” It’s time to let go and let God.
Let God have your “what ifs” and “whys”. Choose today to live as what’s His!
Friday, January 9, 2015
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
let me hide myself in thee;
let the water and the blood,
from thy wounded side which flowed,
be of sin the double cure;
save from wrath and make me pure.
God never changes. He is still THE ROCK. The cleft; my hiding place. His precious blood, covers my sin; a daily need. Oh how I need that Rock!
You know, I, Briley’s Granna, never thought how much I would learn of the greatness and vastness of that cleft, that blood, that cure… until then. Until, October 11, 2012 when she was born, never taking a breath on her own. Until December 11, 2012 when she entered her heavenly home.
Not the labors of my hands
can fulfill thy law's commands;
could my zeal no respite know,
could my tears forever flow,
all for sin could not atone;
thou must save, and thou alone.
During that time we reached the point where the labor of the hands of the doctors, the effectiveness of the monitors, machines and medicines did not give hope. No matter how much the family and I tried to learn of this terrible disease, Spinal Muscular Atrophy that Briley was diagnosed with, no matter how hard the trained minds and hands worked that cared for our precious angel, our zeal did not meet up with rest. We pressed on with what man had available. I do have to say though that as a family, we did believe in what God could do from our own experiences of His faithfulness. But, for me, I have to wonder, was the little light of doubt and screaming the “whys” my lack of belief in what He can and would do? Tears and prayers. I was stripped, I was clinging. God alone was our salvation. As soon as Josh and Crystal, Briley’s parents, began their total surrender to God, the greatest act of faith, God used it to flow not only to me, to the family, but also to thousands… rest was found. Peace. Not man. Not ourselves. Only God. His peace was our daily substance.
Nothing in my hand I bring,
simply to the cross I cling;
naked, come to thee for dress;
helpless, look to thee for grace;
foul, I to the fountain fly;
wash me, Savior, or I die.
The cross, my anchor from sinking. Stripped of only what the world provides... Helpless in what I can do… I need You, I need You, oh how I need You. Not just then, when my heart broke for my granddaughter, my son and his family. But, now. I need You now. I need You today. Forever. Therefore, I must cling, I must let go, I must drink from Your fountain of grace, I must submit daily. Briley Faith did. Oh, my Father I want to be that! Help me to do so! Help me to honor You as she did!
While I draw this fleeting breath,
when mine eyes shall close in death,
when I soar to worlds unknown,
see thee on thy judgment throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
let me hide myself in thee.
Soon, my day will come. That day. The one we say we are ready for, but, are we really? My soul is. But… there’s that word. But…some days when trouble comes or I dwell on the hurts of the world surrounding me, I want the Lord to come quickly. Then there are days I know there is so much I need to do here, for others but most importantly for God and in that sense I’m not ready. How can we be on fire to spread God’s faithfulness and grace and then the next day we choose to let the “daily” stop us in our tracks? How can I let feeling helpless close my eyes to goodness still there? You might be like me sometimes just wanting to hide in the cleft of the rock and rest. Take an endless nap. But, you see, the cleft is for peace, protection, to rest and gain strength. God’s plan for me, for you, must continue. To receive the best He has for us here on earth we must follow Him, trust His ways. We must wake up!
“Faith is nothing but the purpose of the will resting on God’s Word, and saying: I must have it. To believe truly is to will firmly.~~ Andrew Murray
I sing this old hymn to my grandson, Reid while rocking him to a peaceful rest or just to soothe his little spirit. Today it soothed my spirit. God soothed my spirit. The Rock of Ages, my hope. My only hope.