My home town has been shaken over the last couple of days. A 16 year old boy & his 15 year old girlfriend committed suicide 2 days ago (you can read the story Continue reading
Today, I am thankful for children that LOVE to be outside! Given the choice, they’ll choose outside every time over almost everything. On a gorgeous day, I can’t drag these kids in. I love that about them. I love that they marvel at nature & God’s fantastic creation. I love that they are healthy & so physically active 🙂
Yesterday I woke up to a dog & a sweet lil 7 yr old girl curled up next to me. I was overwhelmed with thankfulness as I laid there in the complete quiet for a moment.
Subsequently, the first picture I saw was a beautiful young lady in the last stages of her cancer & her life, laying on a pillow case identical to the one Keely had during those hard days/nights of diagnosis/treatment. God was preparing my heart early in the morning to see that picture & to have thanksgiving always in, & flowing from my heart.
Are His ways & His history in my life written on my heart? I’m always reflecting on where He’s brought me & all of the times He clearly revealed Himself to me. That’s why I journal & blog. To never forget. I feel challenged to use this month to focus on these things & be reminded daily of my blessings & reasons for thanksgiving. So, throughout this month, I will blog as I meditate & take my quiet time to see where/what God is directing me to be thankful for.
So, to start November in the mind frame of thanksgiving, praise, & all things good from God…
I am forever thankful that God gave me this precious daughter to love, have a special bond with, & watch grow up 🙂 I’m thankful He heals, delivers, & while it’s not always conducive with our natural logic & thoughts (Isaiah 55:8), is ALWAYS victorious.
He bore 39 stripes on His back. One for each category of sickness. Amazing love.
Genesis 50:20 – “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” (NLV)
Reflecting on how God’s Word has proved true & faithful, consistently over my life, continues to build my faith to new levels! I’m so thankful that God sees us in our future, & loves us & gives us grace along the way to get us to where He sees us. It’s a process, but as long as I’m growing to the next level, He is pleased with me.
I’ve been reflecting on how the enemy laid a life-threatening disease on our child, & how God used it to birth something amazing & turn it into one of our greatest blessings. That’s right… I said that cancer has proved to be a blessing.
I would have never lived life the way I do now without it. I wouldn’t consistently & constantly find reasons to praise God! I wouldn’t find the beauty in everyday. I wouldn’t look at my children daily & cherish them the way I do now. I would have taken them & my husband for granted. I wouldn’t understand what really matters in life. I wouldn’t have the vision I do now. I would have continued to live selfishly. Now, my life is devoted to serving God, my family, & the people placed in my life. I have laid down every selfish desire I have ever had for myself, to commit myself to discipling my children daily… building them up & giving them everything they need to be generation changers. Ushering them into a walk with a God that few really know.
Cancer changed our family. We understand how precious & the immeasurable strength of this unit. We are teaching our children how special this family unit is… to never take one another for granted… to love & cherish one another. We are a team. There is no division! This is a place of harmony. This is our heart for our children throughout all of their life. We aren’t caught up in separate activities here & there… we are doing life together & truly investing who we are into one another. We are teaching them who the true, living God is, & sharing our walk with Him, with them daily. I certainly don’t think we have it all figured out as parents, but being dealt this hand, I believe, brought us to a point of real perspective in life. That developed a vision. The vision is teaching & guiding us how to mold their hearts, love like Christ, prepare them for “the good fight of faith”, serve others, be self-sufficient, make sound choices, identify the dream that God has placed in their hearts, & believe that they are meant for something extraordinary (& set apart) & to walk in that. We are creating a legacy that will catapult them into leading their families & being a healthy, united front that thrives & impacts those around them.
No job, no school, no want, no friend, no situation, no agenda, no busyness, no fancy car or dream house can distract me from what really matters! I am changed, I am better because of cancer… & because of that, it has changed the entire course of our family. What a blessing!! I don’t even want to think of what our family would be like & how we would’ve lived our lives (focusing on the wrong things that seem important, & living & dying in the “wilderness” of this Christian life instead of the promised land) if we had never been attacked. God certainly turned what was meant to harm us, into something good, so that we could start a new generational legacy of saving lives & bringing people into the glory of such a holy & sovereign God. I’m so thankful that I clung to Gen 50:20 in faith from the beginning of that diagnosis… because now I’m seeing it manifested in so, so many ways!… & we’re only out of treatment a year yet! We have a lifetime to watch it continue to manifest.
I pray that everyone reading this will pursue God with reckless abandon & hold onto His Word with relentless faith. Let Him mold you & prune you. These things produce a life that God can use… through the valleys & the mountain tops… He will show Himself faithful. He will guide your steps & fight for you to see your life fulfill His purpose & advance His Kingdom.
Did you know that women taking an anti-depressant has gone up 400% over the last 2 decades? Now, before people go too ghetto on me, my focus or opinion here really has little to do with the legitimacy of taking something to help you when the need is there (my child ingested over 2 years of chemo for help with her need). This comes from a revelation in my own life & walk with God over the last couple of months.
We live in a time where stress, busyness, competition, etc. are at an all time high…. consuming! These things have never been an issue in the past the way that they are today. I experience it myself! & quite honestly, it alarms me for my children. How do I teach them to “be still” & find refreshment for their mind, body, & spirit, & know who they are in Christ instead of who they are in the world?
Technology is a wonderful thing, but it is certainly a catch 22 (anyone know where the heck that derives from? weird). We have so many things going on… so many avenues at our finger tips to keep us entertained & occupied (tv, phone, internet, etc.). We have created a generation of people that are uncomfortable in the stillness. Of course, as a parent of 3, life has taught me to appreciate the stillness! But how do I raise my children to not only be comfortable in the still times, but to actually make time for them & enjoy them. There are very little opportunities for rest, but without it, all kinds of things happen… we become confused, weary, burnt out, angry, depressed, bitter, etc. I have heard the verse a million times & to be completely honest, felt like Jesus wasn’t directing this one towards me apparently (ridiculous, I know).
Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
He was telling us here that if we can make time to just “be still” with Him, THAT will give us refreshment. We need to ditch all of our duties, quiet our minds, & just be still sometimes. If we make this a habit, God will restore & refresh us to come back to the daily grind & conquer it with clarity, purpose, & calmness.
We need to teach our children this! I look around at so many moms around me & I see that they are consumed with keeping their kids “busy”… soccer, dance, school functions, violin lessons, etc. The weeks & weekends are completely taken up with busyness. I am convinced that this raises up a generation of people that don’t know how to rest… that feel pressured to be busy (because that means we’re more productive & better, right?), that aren’t satisfied with being at home raising children, that don’t know how to just sit in the silence & presence of God comfortably (& I have been guilty of this myself & had to train my mind & body to stop!), & don’t know how to be focused on the most important things. How could they… they are over burdened, foggy, tired, irritable, unsatisfied, & most likely depressed (I forgot to mention that an overwhelming amount children are on antidepressants). Life is just too much, too busy. The stillness is precious & necessary.
I’m writing this blog to myself & to my children. I needed this revelation. God has been walking with me & conversating with me about this a little every day for months now. I was always on the go growing up… going from one friends house to another, to school, to daycare, to the skating rink, or just riding the roads (once I obtained my license). No one ever taught me to be still. & now I still struggle with it. I also struggle with confusion, too many burdens, feeling unsatisfied, & just TOO MUCH when I don’t consciously make time to be still. I am determined to help my daughter to avoid this struggle.
I read a fabulous article (I think it was on Focus on the Family) about how important it is to let kids get bored. Entertaining them 24/7 is not healthy for them! They need to learn to be okay with nothing… that sometimes life is beckoning us to just be still! What good advice for parents.
I personally believe that so many women are turning to antidepressants now because they make no time for rest & stillness… for refreshement. They are overburdened, tired, confused, unsatisfied, bitter, etc. (I’m assuming you can see the pattern here). Our minds, souls, & physical bodies are overwhelmed & exhausted. I am not suggesting that all women have no legitimate reason to take medicine to help with a real problem, but I am suggesting that maybe, just maybe, we are a generation that is heavy laden because we have difficulty being still in such a chaotic world. We are uncomfortable in the stillness & are completely over stimulated, but unsatisfied. I say this because I am that woman! & I am making a diligent effort to work on being still more often & teach my children to do the same before they enter the pressures of the world. God’s Word says that I am the head & not the tail (Duet. 28:13), MORE than a conqueror (Rom 8:37), victorious through Christ (1 Cor 15:57). With Jesus Christ & my time with Him, we will rise from the pit, to the mountain top each time it happens in life (& those pits will come, trust me!… no one is exempt!). He will guide me, refresh me, fight for me, & make His strength evident in me. As I was feeling low, confused, tired, sad, angry, etc. a few days ago, He reminded me during my quiet time with Him, that though the enemy may attack me & use everything against me (& he knows what my triggers are!), God promised that the enemy WOULD NOT DEVOUR ME! He said that He would fight for me… I need only to…….
BE STILL ❤
Psalm 46:10 “BE STILL, & know that I am God”
For journaling purposes, I thought it smart to sort of record some of the accomplishments & manifestations of 2011, & to also record some of the things I began 2012 fasting & believing for…
A strong & blessed year for us indeed.
1. Keely finished treatment in July of this year. 6 months out & I can’t think of anything more beautiful to see than the true manifestation of a healing that we have prayed & believed for for 2 & 1/2 years. Everyday I notice it! Not a day goes by that I don’t look at her & say, “look at her… so full of energy, so healthy & vibrant. God you are true!”
2. I welcomed a new decade into my life in the best shape of my life. Huge accomplishment!
3. After over a year of praying & searching for a church home (& even being at a church for almost a year & knowing in our spirit that it wasn’t where we were supposed to be), God finally ushered us into a place that is home!… a place that fosters the fullness of Christ, that is warm & welcoming, that is Spirit-led, & where we can best serve & impact the body!
4. In 2010, the Lord began to impress some detailed & strong convictions for our family onto our hearts. The vision we began to receive in a broader spectrum in 2009 was starting to take on a real form. In 2011, we gained more ground & more wisdom in this area. I love our vision. I love seeing ourselves foster that vision & staying focused in the midst of daily life. We certainly don’t do everything right, but we are headed somewhere amazing!
The Lord began to stir up in me in the weeks prior to this year approaching, that this is going to be a dynamic year for us!
1. I am strongly convinced that this will be a year of broken chains. Chains that are holding me back from the fullness of what God’s desire is for me. As I was fasting… the Lord put a song in my heart to confirm what He was telling me… “Chains be broken. Lives be healed. Eyes be opened. Christ is revealed”. Haven’t heard that song in a long, long time, & yet, there it sat in my heart ready to be given life by Him & ready to come out of my mouth with praise.
2. We are moving in a couple of weeks. The story behind how we came into this house is just crazy in itself. There is no other explanation for the most random & unusual sequence of events coming together to form into a blessing that we’ve been praying for, than God Himself. Only God can place things like this into order! We received everything on our “list” of wants… even down to the small, “we can totally do without” things like, ranch style (no more 2 stories!). Praying that this year is the beginning of enjoying & thriving in the blessings & joy that was already prepared for us by the One that goes before us… good health & wide open spaces.
3. Praying that we can really form our roots in our church & serve the body.
4. Praying for vision for 2012 specifically. Vision for myself & my family. We are meant for greatness!… how can we work towards that this year?
5. Praying to be slower to anger, more merciful & loving, & more calm & peaceful toward my children.
6. One of the #1 things I would like to work on in terms of my inner, heart issues is to “Always try to see people for who they can become”. I want these words written on my heart so that they become my natural habit. I’m seriously considering getting up every day of 2012 & writing this on my hand so that at the years end, it is something that is so natural to me that I don’t even have to think about it before I just do it.
I would love to hear what other people are praying for for 2012! What are your goals, dreams, hopes, & visions for the new year?