I can remember sitting in Cobo arena with my parents.
Thousands of people were there to hear one man speak. I was probably only in 7th or 8th grade but I can vividly remember looking at that crowd and thinking how amazingly beautiful it would be if I were in that man’s shoes, reaching and encouraging thousands for the Lord. I prayed that someday, somehow I could glorify Jesus that way.
I finished high school with a longing in my heart to be a teacher. I enrolled in college with a major in elementary education. I loved teaching and I loved children. I just knew God placed that desire within me and I prayed that someday that desire would be fulfilled.
I got married and we started a family. Since grade school I had dreamt of becoming an author and publishing a book. I started with a course on children’s writing. I had so many thoughts in my head that I wanted my pen to tell. I prayed that someday, when my children were grown and my life was less busy God would allow me that dream.
In each instance I asked God~
Would You allow this for me? Could You? But as the years went by~
I thought His answer to each of these was no.
I have never gotten to reach or encourage thousands of people in an arena.
I never was an elementary school teacher. I never wrote or published a book.
I married a pastor and eventually we moved to a small town in the thumb of MI. No huge crowds. No large arenas. A pastor’s wife at a tiny church of less than 100.
The years went by. I raised my children and watched and prayed as each left our little home and then one day...
as I sat and listened to the broken heart of a woman seeking counsel, God whispered to my own heart to begin something new.
That was this.
The beginning of Holding Hope.
And so, yesterday as I thanked Him for this beautiful privilege He has allowed me~
He showed me.
and He did.
40 years after the quiet prayer of a shy girl in the midst of thousands, He answered.
He didn’t answer in the way I expected.
No, I don’t get up in an arena and talk to thousands. From my very small town in the Midwest, God chose to use social media as His platform instead. Holding Hope.
No, I never taught in a school. God brought me to a church where, for a long time I was the only teacher for the children there. For 25 years He has allowed me to fulfill that dream and today I teach along side my own children in that very same church. And no, I have never published or even written a book, but every week God allows this pen to write the stories He puts in my heart.
Don’t give up. Wherever you might be right now, whatever your prayer, whatever your dream~ God has your answer. It might not come tomorrow or next week or next year. It might take 40 years, but He will answer.
Hold on to that hope.
You might be a student, sitting in a classroom wondering if God could ever use you to reach and encourage others.
You might be a mama, sitting in the middle of babies and bottles and diapers with a “someday” dream tucked away in your heart.
You might be a grandmother who hasn’t even realized that God has already answered your prayers.
He has always been faithful, even in my unfaithfulness.
My no was His yes.
Search your heart for His yes and when you find it, you will find so many more answers to the prayers you have whispered through the years.
Prayers you may have forgotten~
but He never did,
and He never will.
*Repost from 1/23/20
Quite often when we read articles on the topic of trust we think about the big, sometimes overwhelming things in our lives. Our finances or future, our country and politics, our children and families, our health or the health of our loved ones. The quotes~ “Trust God, He has a plan”, or “God is in control” come up time and time again. I have used those very words myself. Big issues like these can definitely steal our happiness, and when disaster strikes in one of these areas~ it’s often hard to trust God or try to understand why.
What I don’t think we realize is that our entire lives should be enveloped in the trust of God and His power.
All those petty little things I talked about last week (the ones we can’t let go of) are also the petty little things we should trust God with.
I seriously think I could write a book about all the different phases a woman goes through in her life, and all the different areas that come to mind when I think about all the little things that so quickly rob us of our joy.
Sometimes we allow those things to completely destroy our happiness. We focus on the problem at hand instead of the big picture. In the grand scheme of things, that little bump in the road is just that~ a bump in the road, but we turn it into a ten car pile up.
So let me ask you this ~
Do you truly believe in the power of God? Do you truly believe God can do anything?
I have heard the argument that~ yes God is all powerful, but man has a free will and his sinful nature can often mess things up. It is true that man has a free will, but what we don’t take into consideration is that God is more powerful than any human’s will. If God so chooses, He can change any situation~ no matter how badly we have messed it up.
We are human. He is God.
Our God of the impossible.
How quickly we forget that in our day to day encounters.
So here is where the rubber hits that bump in the road: FAITH.
Do you have faith in God’s power in your life?
You know that old saying~”Don’t make a mountain out of a mole hill?” Let’s talk about those mole hills~a few of those small petty things. Small things that can erase every ounce of faith in God’s power within seconds. The things we don’t even think about handing over to God and entrusting Him with~
Interruptions in our schedules, our weariness, our relationships, our sadness, our hormones, broken appliances, unexpected guests, long lines at the grocery store, traffic jams, blizzards and thunderstorms, that caramel mocha frappe that slipped right out of your hands, a burnt meal, a crying baby, a stubbed toe, a power outage, a toilet that over flows, overwhelming ‘to-do’s’ and lack of sleep. The flu=sick days, sick babies, sick spouses. Sore joints, acne flare ups, period cramps, menopause and bad hair days, weight gain, insecurity issues, fighting children and inconsiderate spouses…..
This is just the tip of the iceberg, but you get my meaning. If we allow it, all of these things can irritate us. All of these things can steal our laughter, and make us impatient with life.
What if we changed our focus? What if we looked at each thing as a divine interruption. What if we stopped and asked God what He was trying to teach us through each situation. What if we learned to let things go? (See lasts week’s post) What if we truly believed that God knows exactly what is going on every minute of every day of our lives and He has complete control over it? What if we chose faith over complaining and what if we asked God to make His power real in our lives through every crazy thing that happens to us?
Because if we ask, He will.
We just don’t ask.
We don’t think about God in the small petty things. We think we can control the situations ourselves. Why do we do that to ourselves when He is literally right there next to us saying~ “I can take care of that for you, you don’t have to do it alone.” But when we choose the irritation and complaining, we’re pretty much telling God~ “I’ve got this. I don’t need you.”
Today I would like to encourage you to make two lists. One list will be all the areas you consider BIG in your life and one will be areas of interruption or annoyance. Small petty problems you’ve never really thought about giving God control over. Keep adding to that list and then make it a habit to pray over it and hand it over to God. I mean really hand it over. No take backs.
It’s never silly to go to God over things we might feel are insignificant in the grand scheme of life. God wants us to know His power on a personal level in every single area of our lives. I’ve said it before and I will continue to preach it to myself~when we truly hand everything over to Him, even the small silly stuff~ when the seriously hard stuff hits we will have that automatic peace that passes understanding because we will be so familiar with trusting God in every detail and knowing He always pulls us through.
God will take care of it. You and I will always have the hard days. Today I can look back at so many of them and smile in the realization that they weren’t as hard as I thought at the time, and I can praise God for the countless times He pulled me through.
The times We find ourselves in the middle of our own pity party let our cry be this~
“Lord I believe. Help my unbelief”.
Then grab a hold of His hand, stand up, dust yourself off, ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with faith and walk away. Smile in the complete surrender and knowledge that God will take care of it all.
Things to remind yourself today:
*I believe, help my unbelief.
*God will never leave you.
*Faith the size of a tiny mustard seed can move mountains.
*Without faith it’s impossible to please God
*But, all things are possible with God. Keep asking Him to strengthen your faith
(Mark 9:23, 10:27, Matthew 17:20, 19:26, Luke 1:37, 18:27, Jeremiah 32:17&27, Philippians 4:13)
*Don’t worry about tomorrow or tonight or the next five minutes.
*God is all powerful.
*Only God can give us the peace that passes understanding.
*Today is a new day. A gift from God. Rejoice in it. When you’re tempted to focus on the bad, praise God for ALL the good. Over and over and over.
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
“And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”
“Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.” I Peter 5:7
“And Jesus said unto them…If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”
“I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” Psalms 34:4
“Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”
“Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest.” Joshua 1:9
“They reel to and fro…and are at their wits' end. Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, And he bringeth them out of their distresses. He maketh the storm a calm, So that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; So he bringeth them unto their desired haven. Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, And for his wonderful works to the children of men!”
“I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.”
“…be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear What man shall do unto me.”
“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
2 Corinthians 12:9
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
“…that we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,”
Ephesians 1:12, 18-20
“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, Neither have entered into the heart of man, The things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”
1 Corinthians 2:9
Remember those mole hills we thought were mountains? Have faith my friend. Trust God. He can move mountains and make all those little mole hills rejoice. 😊
“…And the little hills rejoice on every side.” Psalm 65:12
What Hinders Prayer
Fair warning~this will be a long post, but it is one that I feel is so important and needs to be addressed.
Please bare with me…
*My mind has been ruminating on the words I wrote last week. The little things that God kept nudging me about.
Why did my prayer life feel so hindered again today?
My mind seemed to be everywhere, except on the words I longed to speak to my Savior. Everything kept it wandering, from what I needed to do that day to my grumbling stomach~ and even my grocery list.
And I pondered.
Why was I so easily distracted?
Along with that, my ladies Bible study was on the topic of pride for two weeks in a row. Then the preacher (aka my husband) touched on it in his message. The verse of the day warned against it and I knew God was obviously trying to show me something.
I searched deep within my heart. I truly did not feel I had a pride issue, (even though I now realize how prideful that sounds) and yet God continued to bring it up. I almost argued with Him. I know everything I have comes from Him. I am nothing. The words I pen are not my own, they are His. In my humanness I was searching for pride issues in the wrong areas. But still He nudged, so I continued to ask Him to please show me.
Today He did. My eyes were opened to something I never even realized.
Despite my arguments, I knew I had pride issues. And I repented.
I cannot tell you the amount of times in my 56 years that I have “felt” as if God was silent. Times where prayer seemed like a struggle or like my words were just bouncing off the ceiling. The closeness with Jesus was not there. Yet, every single time God was there. He was not far away, despite my feelings. He always made this known to me~sometimes He showed me the reasons in big ways, and sometimes He showed me in the tiniest ways.
Today I give you some of those reasons to ponder. Things God has revealed to my own heart in times like these.
The first and most important reason we may feel as if God is far away~
We aren’t truly His child. This isn’t a “religion” thing. This isn’t a “come to my church” thing or become my “denomination” thing. This is God and His words. We are NOT all God’s children. (John 1:12) The world might like to repeat that feel good phrase, but it is not true. God in His word tells us that the ONLY way we become God’s children is through His Son Jesus Christ who died for our sins on the cross. (John 14:6) No religion and no amount of confessionals can get you to heaven. No good works can help you gain favor in God’s eyes and no amount of repetitive prayers can magically turn you into His child. (Ephesians 2:8,9) Only Jesus. Jesus and His forgiveness of our sins through grace. The end. This is the absolute most important thing you can ever do. If you cannot recall a time in your life when your heart truly believed this and you asked Jesus to forgive you of all your sins and to save your soul (Romans 10:10-13), please friend~ get that settled today. Become God’s child.
The second thing that hinders prayer is unconfessed sin. (Psalm 66:18) When we become God’s child we don’t automatically stop sinning. We are human. Whether it is intentional or something we don’t even realize, we will fall short because we aren’t perfect. (Romans 3:23) Only God is perfect. Because of this, it is important to always check our hearts and make sure we aren’t holding on to something that needs our repentance. Just like my pride. Ask God to show you. Believe me, He will. And once He does, tell Him you’re sorry. (1 John 1:5-10)
I cannot emphasize this next one enough. DON’T. GIVE. UP. Too often when it comes to our prayer life, we give up too quickly. If we don’t feel close to God or our prayers aren’t answered in a timely fashion, we just stop praying. (James 4:8) Don’t allow this to be the case. Keep on praying and don’t stop. Even if you feel like you are talking to a wall. You aren’t my friend. God is right there. There are a myriad of reasons you might feel this way, so don’t give up until you get a hold of God and He breaks through the walls that are hindering your prayer life.
And speaking of reasons why we “feel” this way is exactly that. Our feelings. Too often we base our prayers on the way we feel. Sometimes we need to look at it like marriage. I mean, let’s be honest~ I don’t always “feel” like being married. I don’t always “feel” like talking to Mike and let me share a little secret with you~ I don’t always “feel” like listening to him talk to me. Does that mean we are no longer married or that I no longer love him? No. It’s the same with our prayer life. We can’t base it on our feelings because we are sinful, wretched humans with crazy, sometimes erratic feelings. But, praise God we are loved and forgiven humans. Humans that God has unlimited grace, understanding and mercy on. (Hebrews 4:15) From the time we become His child, we forever remain His child (John 10:28, Jeremiah 31:3, 1 John 3:1) and He forever remains our daddy who never, ever leaves us no matter how we might “feel”.
So what do we do when our feelings do get in the way? When we don’t feel that closeness despite our persistence in prayer? We dig deep into God’s word. The Bible is literally God’s love letter to us. (Psalm 1:2, 104:34, 119: 48, 97, 99, Joshua 1:8) I can guarantee you that if you take the time to sit and read His words of promise, comfort, peace and love~your heart will change. (Matthew 6:21)Your prayers will have the solid rock to be built upon.(Matthew 7:24-27, 16:18, Psalm 18:2, 61:2, 2 Samuel 22:2-3) A strong foundation instead of weak feelings. Don’t trust your feelings. They lie. Trust God’s word. (Proverbs 3:5-6) God will always show you something new in His word to help you, if you stay consistent in the asking and don’t give up. I can’t even count the number of times His word spoke directly to my heart. It felt like my eyes were opened. Almost as if I was seeing something for the first time and a heavy weight was lifted. Giving everything to God is so freeing. The more you read, the more you get to know Him and the closer to Him you become. And you love Him. You suddenly realize He isn’t a far away God up in heaven somewhere but is as near to you as your very heart. Always with you. Lean in to Him. He never left. Our feelings just got in our way.
And last, why does my mind wander so much? I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s one of two things. I’m either anxious and worried, so my thoughts continually stray to the things I’m worried about. If that’s the case then I’m probably not trusting Christ with the situation and having faith that He will come through for me. Instead, I’m trying to figure out how I can fix it somehow on my own. And the second reason is simply because I’m a spoiled, unthankful child living in a generation full of other spoiled, unthankful children. I don’t have to beg God for my safety from another country bombing my town. I don’t have to beg for food or shelter. I don’t have to hide in order to read my Bible. Instead of being heavenly minded, I sit in my warm bed with a hot cup of coffee in my hand, an iPhone on my night stand and a bible on my lap. And my mind wanders to earthly things. (Matthew 6:21, James 4:2-3) Funny how our prayer life can change drastically when heart ache hits close to home. Our minds don’t tend to wander when we’re on our knees before God begging for His help. If we would just remain faithful in every season and learn to be thankful in remembering the thousands upon thousands of ways God has blessed us, our minds would be on Christ and not everything else. Too often we simply take Christ for granted.
If you search your heart and none of these areas seem to be an issue for you then I encourage you to hearken back to my words from last week’s post. Perhaps through it all your Savior just wants you to stop and to be still in His presence, until His presence is fully known and you realize all you ever needed was Him.
I realize this post may have stepped on a few toes. Truthfully, my toes needed stepping on. Prayer should never be ritualistic. It shouldn’t be about what we get or don’t get. It should be about spending time with our closest friend. Laughing with Him, crying with Him and being still with Him.
Just like every other area of our life~
It should be all about Him because He is everything to us.
After I gave birth to my second child, I began hemorrhaging. Those moments in time are so vivid to me and yet, they almost feel like a dream~The team of nurses rushing me down to surgery, a cold surgical room composed of nothing but steel, the anesthesiologist telling me to count backwards, and then waking up next to my husband.
Of all the things I remember, there is one memory that stands out the most to me. The absence of fear and the incredible, overwhelming peace that washed over me as my last thoughts were~ I am going to die and I am going to wake up with Jesus.
Words cannot express the comfort I felt.
It will last with me my lifetime.
In that moment there wasn’t a single thing I could do to control that situation. My life was in the hands of God and in my weakness, He was my strength.
It’s easy to talk about fear and having faith when you’re on the other side of it looking back. As the saying goes “Easier said than done”. We might think our faith is strong, but in a split second life can change. In times like those, we don’t have the chance to say- “hold on Crisis, let me get out my bible and notes and uplifting music so I can be in the right frame of mind”. Our dependence is totally and completely in the power of God. This is why meditating on His word every single day is so important. He promises that His promises will stay with us in those split second times of crisis.
But what about the moments in our lives where time is not our friend? Where split seconds turn into weeks or even months? The moments that time allows us to get inside our head and become overwrought with worry and fear? The times we know we should be meditating on His words but we find ourselves constantly meditating on the problem instead?
This is where I have been the last few days.
The same child whose birth caused my faith to go into high gear in a matter of seconds is going through a trying time with her own unborn child.
As a mother, it’s times like these that I have no idea how people can lean on their own strength instead of the power and strength of God.
Because I would crumble.
I readily admit that I am weak.
Not only is it in a mother’s heart to worry and sometimes fear for our children, it’s in the heart of everyone who loves deeply. When we love deeply we will do anything to help the one we love. To take their pain away. To make everything okay again. To give them comfort and peace and joy.
Even though time has been tempting me to worry and to fear, even though the nights have been long and my heart hurts for my child~ I know that there is not a single thing I can physically do to change the situation, just like the day that she was born. The only thing I can do is to cling to my faith in God’s promises and place all those worries and fears (over her worries and fears) into His hands.
Because when we are weak, He is strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9-11
Because He loves us infinitely more than we could ever imagine. In fact, He loves my children infinitely more than I ever could.
Isaiah 49:15, 66:13
So I will praise Him through all of this. I will praise Him because no matter what happens, I know of His steadfast love for me. I know of His steadfast love for my daughter and for my grandchild who has yet to be born. I know that His Mercy is new every morning and that He is forever faithful. Lamentations 3:22-23
And I know that He is in complete control.
I am not~
But praise God because He is the I AM!
Exodus 3:14, John 14:6, 15:5
Today I want to encourage you. What is your heart and mind meditating on? The problem or the promises? Are you worrying or worshipping?
We need to come to grips with the fact that we are not in control and stop allowing fear and worry to control us by giving it our hearts and minds. Give it all to God. Believe me, I know it’s hard, but every time my mind starts meditating on anything besides His promises to me I know that I need to give it back to Him~
even if I have to repeat the process over and over again.
Because I know in my heart that He is the only One Who controls the outcome and that outcome will be what’s best because it’s given from the One Who gave everything for me.
“I’m such a type A personality.”
Have you ever heard a comment like this? What about the new wave of personality tests or Enneagram numbers? It seems like they’re popping up everywhere. What really amazes me is how completely different we all are.
Not just a little different, but majorly different.
I so often see it in my grandchildren. Each of my grandsons have different personalities, and my granddaughters seem to be completely opposite. One is wild, crazy and outgoing and the other is shy, quiet and sweet.
My wild and crazy girl likes to put up a strong front. She’s been that way since she was a baby. She doesn’t like to show her vulnerability at all. She will just start to let her guard down and the minute I grab her to hug her, she will push away and act silly. So, you can imagine how I eat it up when on rare occasions she wants to snuggle and cuddles up next to me. I just sit quietly stroking her hair and drinking it all in. Sometimes she will slip her tiny hand into mine and sit with me that way without saying a word.
It got me thinking about a comment my friend said to me about my blog. She mentioned how very different our personalities were, but that she enjoyed reading my blog and seeing things from a different perspective.
I’m not like my granddaughter.
“grab hold of that hand and don’t let go, passionate snuggler, cuddler, crier, emotional, deep loving and deep thinking, shy introvert, ‘please let me help you, encourage you and lift you up’, I need to fix everything and make everyone happy” personality.
Not sure what letter of the alphabet that type is or what Enneagram number I am, but that’s me.
Because of the deep desire I have to want to help EVERYONE, writing for my blog can sometimes be tough. I have this need to somehow make myself relatable to other women, no matter how our personalities might differ.
As I thought about this, it reminded me of an incident that happened the other night. A problem arose between two of my children and I honestly did not have a clue how to help or what to say. My immediate thought was to ask my logical husband for help, except this time I couldn’t. He had just boarded a plane and would be in the air for at least two hours. A bit of panic mode set in. I wanted to fix the situation. I wanted my husband to come to my rescue. To help me. To make everything better and I wanted to go to bed that night knowing it was all wrapped up in a perfect little “everything’s alright.” package. I wanted a hero.
I think that no matter what type personality or Enneagram number you are, each of us as women have that need deep down. (Whether we want to admit it or not). The need to be taken care of. The need for a rescuer. A hero. The desire for everything to be ok. And I truly believe God put that need in each of us for a reason.
I think about the moments my tough little Clara becomes vulnerable and the little bit of peace that comes over her when her hand slips into mine, and I think about the emotional basket case I can be at times and the small measure of comfort I get when my hand rests in my husband’s strong one. But it’s not a lasting peace. It’s not a comfort that reaches down deep to your very core.
Something is always missing.
And then I think about Jesus.
Jesus needed time with His Father and I realized that’s exactly why God places that need in each of us.
(Matthew 14:23, Luke 5:16, Mark 1:35)
He wants all of us to be like Jesus.
(Isaiah 30:15, Philippians 2:5)
It’s not a need that any human can meet. It’s a need deep down that only God can fulfill. It’s a comfort and a peace that can never be attained from another human being.
(John 14:27, 16:33, Philippians 4:6-7)
It’s a peace that you alone cannot attain, no matter how strong your personality is.
He alone is our rescuer. He alone can make everything ok. All we need do is trust. Trust Him, go to Him, slip our tiny hand inside the very hands that created our entire world and rest there.
(Isaiah 26:3, 48:13)
Allow Him to take care of us. (I Peter 5:7)
To be our hero.
So what happened in my situation? I prayed. I sought God. I asked for wisdom. And even though my husband wasn’t sitting next to me on the couch, I wasn’t alone. A peace and comfort washed over me in a situation I thought had no possible, promising outcome.
And I realized my hand was being held by my hero.
Deuteronomy 20:4, Isaiah 41:10, 13-14
I had a heart to heart with Jesus last night.
Around midnight my husband’s pager went off. I always feel uneasy when his pager goes off, especially in the middle of the night.
Not only is my husband a firefighter, two of my son in laws are as well.
It was only minutes after he rushed out that I heard a loud explosive sound in my backyard. I quickly jumped out of bed and grabbed my phone to call him. And then it happened again, even louder than the first time. My whole backyard looked like it was on fire. We lost electricity and the sky grew dark again. My heart felt like it was beating outside of my chest. Within seconds the fire truck showed up. I sat at the top of my stairwell in the dark, looking out at my backyard, watching and listening as the firefighters got out, and with flashlights began to assess the area. They had complete faith in their training and fire gear and I was in awe. I watched those brave men outside and wondered if they might step on something electrical or worse, have the whole incident happen again.
To be honest, I was scared. As I sat there watching, I started thinking about all the stupid things I’ve allowed myself to be scared of my entire adult married life.
Compared to this moment, they seemed so insignificant.
So many things flooded my mind, but one stood out above the others~
I’ve been holding out on God because of pride.
All these years I’ve been blaming so many things on the fact that I’m “shy” and I’m an “introvert”. For the longest time, I wouldn’t willingly walk up and converse with people at church or around town and I always blamed it on my shyness.
God brought something to the forefront of my mind as I sat in that stairwell last night. Lately Facebook has been prompting me to do a video for my Holding Hope page so that followers could “get to know me”. I felt this nudge from God every time I got that notification. I know that this generation is drawn more to visual than written word. It’s easier to watch or even listen than to read. I also know that it is a marketing ploy on Facebook’s behalf and due to my shyness, my response has always been “no way”. I have an extremely hard time doing video chats with my own children let alone recording myself for a bunch of strangers.
I tend to be overly critical and find every flaw, not to mention the fact that when you’re recording, you’re pretty much talking to yourself on camera. I don’t know how this generation can do it so easily. I chalked it up to their self love and prided myself on my humbleness.
And that’s exactly what Jesus pointed out to me last night~
I was proud of my humbleness, when in reality I wasn’t being humble at all.
I was just proud.
It’s a lot easier to speak up for God behind a pen and paper or a social media post, but the minute you put your face out there you become vulnerable. I was scared of that vulnerability. My fear was this~
I was afraid of what people would think of me. Bottom line. Pride. Not because I’m shy. Not because I’m an introvert. Because I’m scared of the opinions of others and what they will think of how I look, talk and act. Sadly it wasn’t a fear of how I would represent the Lord, it was a fear of how people perceived Charisse.
I forgot the very important fact that God is within me and by my side and by hiding behind my pride and the false identity of shyness, I was hiding His glory and all the joy He brings to my life.
The next morning as I read His word, three verses popped out.
(1 John 1:4, 2 John 1:12, 3 John 1:4)
I thought about how much joy writing for this blog brings me. I thought about how much joy each one of you brings to my life. As I go through notifications, I pray for names of women I will most likely never meet, but it gives me joy to do so. It gives me so much incredible joy to share the hope of God. It brings joy to tell you how He can change your life forever. I don’t want to quench that joy. I don’t want to suppress it. I want it to multiply to all of you. If that means following the nudge of God, stepping out of my comfort zone and trying something new, then I know I can do it because God will be with me.
I don’t ever want people to see Charisse in my posts or conversations.
I always want them to see Christ.
So what is the point in my rambling and confessions? I guess to just encourage all of you to examine your own hearts. What are you allowing to hold you back? God’s word promises us that He will always be with us. It’s His training through His word that will sustain and carry us through. If He asks it of us, He will provide every measure of strength we need. Look for God’s leading in your life. Don’t be scared. If He is leading, He’s right there with you and He will continue to be with you every step of the way.
Yes, I am an introvert. I am shy. I’m not a people person and it’s very hard to put myself out there~but I can’t lean on that crutch for every situation in my life that feels uncomfortable.
I have to step out on faith.
Just like my brave firefighter husband, son in laws and friends did last night.
And in the process, you might just see some videos in the near future 😉 Philippians 1:6
When my children were little, each night I would go upstairs to check on them before going to sleep myself. Seeing them nestled peacefully~all snug in their beds, made my heart feel so incredibly full.
Every Christmas I wanted to make all their Christmas wishes come true. Perhaps it was my heart’s way of trying to show them a picture of the incredible love their Heavenly Father had for them.
After checking on them, I’d quietly tiptoe back downstairs and I would always stop at the window in our stairwell to check for snow. Snow was always on their wish list for Christmas, something I knew would truly bring them joy, but something I could never provide. Every single night I would stop at that window and look out at my quiet town below.
Wishing for snow.
Tonight I stopped at that same window and all those memories came flooding back. My heart wished for snow for my children. My grown up adult children who still get excited when beautiful white snowflakes appear in the sky. My adult kids who still text me to tell me it’s snowing outside.
I know many of you think I’m crazy. Many of you hate the snow,
but you have to admit~
there’s something breathtakingly beautiful about a world covered in white at Christmas time.
Especially this year.
Maybe this year my heart longs for that blanket of white because our world has been so dark. Maybe for a moment I want my kids to be free from the cares of this world and once again feel like little children. As easy as it seemed to provide happiness for them when they were little, it is almost near impossible when they are adults,
and that’s hard.
Life is hard.
2020 was hard.
But tonight as I sat in our stairwell, looking down at our little town, wishing for snow and pondering all these things, God whispered to my heart~
“Just like you couldn’t provide snow when they were little, you can’t provide snow for your children now Charisse.
You can’t take the cares of this world away. You can’t lift the heavy burdens off their hearts. You can’t provide true joy”~
“But I can.”
My heart knew that all those Christmases we didn’t have a single snowflake, it didn’t matter. My children never doubted my love for them. They knew they were loved. They knew they would be taken care of. And that’s exactly what I want them to know when they’re adults.
As Christmas Day approaches and a new year is on the horizon, I want them to believe like little children again. I want them to trust that they are loved and that God will take care of them.
That has been God’s message all along. The message of Christmas. He sent His Son to a little town in Bethlehem to show us His love. To show us He will always take care of us. To wash our hearts whiter than snow.
My heart is filled with peace as I look out that window at my own little town and remember. I know my God will take care of my children no matter what the year ahead holds. Joy floods my soul as I think about how much He loves each of them.
I don’t have to worry about a thing.
He will provide.
And as I smile in the darkness~
beautiful, white snowflakes begin to fall.
When my children were tiny, I was a very naive young mom when it came to politics. We didn’t have cell phones or internet or the constant swell of social media that bombards our lives today.
In fact, Mike and I didn’t even have
With the facts that we were given, I assumed that the majority of the people would vote the way I did.
I was wrong.
We were driving home from church when we found out who won the presidency. My three little ones were oblivious to the change that was happening in our world. They were giggling in the back seat without a care in the world. We had the radio on in our car when the announcement was made.
I was in complete shock.
This had to be wrong.
There was no way our country could’ve voted this way.
But it was true.
I hugged my stomach a little tighter. My fourth child would be born soon. What kind of world would it be when she was an adult? What would become of this country I loved so dearly? I turned and looked at my children playing happily in the back seat and I was afraid.
Fear touched my heart in a deep way that day. Fear for our future. Fear for my children and what kind of world they would grow up in.
But that fear was not from God.
God tells me fear not.
Lamentations 3:57, Luke 12:7
God tells me to trust Him. Proverbs 3:5,6
God tells me to have faith, faith like a little child. Luke 18:17. Faith like my children had that day in the car. Faith that their daddy was in the driver’s seat and would get them safely home.
But we grow up. We become skeptical. We are inundated with information, constantly at our fingertips.
We worry, we lose faith, we fear.
Just like I did so many years ago.
Yes, God is “in control”.
Sadly, that phrase has become so cliche that it bears no meaning to us at times. God knows exactly when you will draw your next breath. He knows the rhythm of your heart. He knows your very thoughts. He makes the sun rise and set. He throws beautiful stars into a sea of darkness. He creates individual snowflakes that cover our world like a breathtaking tapestry. He hears the laughter of your children and with indescribable love, it brings Him joy.
God is the very One Who created that president you didn’t vote for.
In His image.
I can look back at that day in the car with different eyes now. The eyes of a mother of adult children. The eyes of a grandma. The eyes of someone who has consistently seen God’s hand upon my life. The eyes of someone that God has always, always , always taken care of.
The eyes of a child who knows her Daddy is in the driver’s seat and He will take her safely home.
My kids did not go through the future horrors my heart feared.
God has always remained faithful.
Even when I felt like my world was out of control, He has always been in complete control,
and let me just share a secret with you~
HE STILL IS.
Whoever you voted for, whatever concerns and fears are gripping your heart today over your future or the future of your children, let me assure you that God will remain faithful.
He already knows who won this election. He already knows what your children’s future holds~
and with a love far greater than we could ever fathom, He holds that future and your children and grandchildren in the palm of His hands.
The very hands that bled for you.
Fear is not from God. Lay it down at His feet and have faith. Faith like a little child.
This country belongs to God.
He wants you to trust Him.
He is worthy of that honor.
He is worthy of all glory.
He will always bring you safely home.
“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.”
“Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.”
“Unless the Lord had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence. When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O Lord, held me up. In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul.”
“I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.”
“Thou hast put gladness in my heart. I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety.”
I worry about tomorrow.
I know~that’s exactly what Jesus tells me NOT to do (Matthew 6:34), and yet I do it all the time.
I am a planner, but I also have control issues. That is a terrible combination. When I look at a future I cannot control, it scares me. I get anxious, I get stressed and I worry.
Funny thing is, I don’t really have control over anything. I have no control over next year or next month or even next minute. My mind tricks me into a false sense of security when I plan and have everything written down in a neat, orderly fashion. But, just because I have a perfect little list of what I want my life to look like doesn’t mean I have any control over any of it.
I know this, but somehow I always forget it.
God is the only One in control.
I remember the first summer after my last child graduated from college. It happened to be a very stressful time for me. On top of a multitude of other burdens I was carrying, Mike and I decided to renovate the upstairs kids bedrooms into our master bedroom and bath. I specifically remember calling my daughter several times and saying, “are you sure you’re okay with this?You will no longer have a bedroom here.” She promised she was fine with it. Florida was her home now. So, we began the work.
And then~ the day I was kneeling on the floor, scraping 100 years of carpet glue up, she called.
She was crying.
She was homesick and wanted me to try to come down to visit.
I talked to her a while and when I hung up~
I sat and cried.
I had so much on my plate, so many things on my little list that I wanted to accomplish and I desperately wanted to finish this project before the school year started. I was exhausted and overwhelmed, but my heart hurt for my daughter.
What was I going to do?
I did what I do way too often. I cried helpless tears and I stressed myself out. I didn’t give it to God, I didn’t ask Him for help. I had a pity party and worried for a week over that decision.
When I look back on it now I think it should’ve been a very easy decision to make.
Go see my daughter.
The bedroom could wait.
The responsibilities that were so heavy on my shoulders could wait, but sometimes when you’re in the middle of the storm everything seems like “too much” and you can’t think logically. You can’t see past the storm clouds to the rainbow of God’s promises beyond.
(Proverbs 3:5,6, Hebrews 13:5)
I wish that I had just stopped and said~ God show me and then give me the peace to leave it in Your hands knowing You will take care of it. (Philippians 4:7)
But I didn’t.
One week later, despite me and my worries, miracles happened.(Revelation 3:8) My daughter called to say she had prayed all week and felt God leading her to move back home, she just needed God to provide a job (and a bedroom 😂). That very afternoon a job was provided, before she even had a chance to look. A great job in our tiny town, where jobs like that aren’t available often.
Before I knew it, she was home.
Our bedroom was done.
(Her bedroom was moved downstairs)
The responsibilities were taken care of. The burdens were lifted one by one.
And God knew it all along.
He knew it when she called.
He knew it as I sat there crying.
He knew it as I worried day after day.
He knew it as I lay in bed unable to sleep.
Jesus tells me to focus on today because God has already taken care of all my tomorrows, and yet I find myself focusing on the tomorrows way too often.
If I had just trusted Him and given Him all that worry, all those burdens, all those tears~ all of it could’ve been avoided because in return He would have given me peace.
I can’t tell you the number of times God has done this in my life. Time after time after time He has shown me that He had the situation under control before it ever became a situation.
You would think I would have learned one simple truth by now~
God loves me and He will always take care of every situation in my life.
He knows all our weaknesses and wants us to be strong through Him, but somehow we think our strength is enough. It isn’t. It never can be.
(II Corinthians 12:9)
So my friend, this is a reminder to myself, because this past week I allowed this to happen yet again in my life.
And this is a reminder to you~
Whatever you are facing today that has you worried and stressed and anxious, please give it to God. He’s right there waiting and whispering~ “Find peace and joy in this very minute right now. Trust Me. I’ve got all your tomorrows already taken care of.” (I Peter 5:7,
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.”
Psalms 46:1-3, 5
MY BIKE GOT STOLEN
It’s sort of a silly thing to write about.
I live in a very small, safe town.
I’ve had the same bike for 20 years. Weather permitting I ride it every day, usually back and forth from my dad’s condo or my kid’s houses.
And weather permitting I often leave it outside at night, because I know I’ll be on it again the next day.
And because my town is safe.
We have an excellent police force that patrols our neighborhoods often.
It’s like family here. It’s home. We look out for each other.
I loved that bike. My dad gave me this silly little basket to put on the front of it. It says “I ❤️ my bike.” Just the other day as I was riding that bike home, I smiled at that basket~as cheesy as it was~it was a gift from my dad and it was special. It often held his dinner as I drove it down to him.
So yes, it’s silly but I’ll miss that bike.
I was angry and then sad that someone felt compelled to come and take it.
My heart kept thinking about what was taken from me.
But then God nudged my heart.
He always does.
I argued with Him a little~
“But God, I used that bike to take care of my dad. I rode that bike with my own children when they were little. I used that bike to go babysit my grandchildren, I used that bike to stay healthy...”
And He said~
“Charisse instead of focusing on what was taken from you, focus on what you’ve been given and how that gift can still be used for my glory, even when it’s no longer yours.”
I couldn’t help but think about that basket my dad gave me and how it reminded me of the baskets of bread and fish the disciples gathered up after Jesus fed the 5,000.
All from 5 loaves and 2 fishes.
The lunch of a little boy who was willing to give it all to Jesus.
Am I willing to give it all to Jesus? Even the things that are precious to me? My family? My husband and children? My possessions? Even my bike?
Am I willing to let go of what I thought was mine, realizing everything I have is God’s and that even when the people and things I cherish are no longer in “my possession” God can continually use them for His glory?
Are you willing, or are you like me~arguing with God and telling Him all the reasons why His plan can’t work?
Maybe whoever decided to take my bike is laughing right now, thinking that it was all just a joke to them. Maybe the person who took it really needed a bike, a bike with a cheesy basket attached to it.
Whatever the case may be, I’m going to choose to believe that the reason behind it no longer belonging to me is ultimately for God’s glory and He wants me to trust Him.
If I can’t trust His reasoning behind the small things in life~ like my bike getting stolen~how will I ever trust Him with the big things~whether that means the scary things like pandemics, quarantines, floods, hornets, shootings and riots~
or the precious things like my family.
And so, to the new owner of that 20 year old burgundy bike with the cheesy basket, I am smiling and hope that you enjoy it as much as I did and that you smile every time you read “I ❤️my bike”.
It might sound silly to trust God’s reasoning behind a bike getting stolen but even something small like 5 loaves and two fishes or a bike with a cheesy basket, can somehow bring glory to God long after it’s no longer in our possession.
We just have to trust.
“As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.” 2 Cor. 6:10
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.” Isaiah 55:8
“That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.”
NOTHING ABOUT THIS IS NORMAL
2 minute read
Last year’s home was gone.
The tall evergreen had been cut down.
The tree she had made her home in every single year. It had been a hard winter. The wind off the water had been brutal, continually knocking down the only trees left, the fake ones my dad put on his porch that overlooked the lake. The trees that now gave life to the porch area, despite not being real. They lay half toppled over, waiting to be picked up and placed aright again. Waiting for the sunshine to replace the snow~even though it was May.
It was Mother’s Day and yet, even though they lay in a crumpled bunch, even though nothing about this Mother’s Day was normal~
They held life. They held promise.
They held hope.
Deep in their fallen branches lay a beautiful nest. As we approached my dad’s door that evening, a protective mama flew from that nest. The home she had made for her babies despite the circumstances. As we peered inside we saw that promise of hope.
Four beautiful blue eggs.
And we were joyful.
Our homes may not have been the same this year. This Mother’s Day. They may have looked different than last year. The snow and cold may have discouraged us. Missing our loved ones because of this virus may have had us feeling defeated and alone. Maybe some were hoping and praying that this year they would celebrate their first Mother’s Day, but that dream had not been fulfilled. Maybe some had lost their mother or a child this year, and the loneliness of that loss left an aching deep in their soul.
And yet, God our Father has not forsaken. He meets us, comforts us and protects us right where we are. Wherever that may be. He gives us hope for our futures. He builds a home in our hearts. In our crumpled, fallen down mess, as we wait for Him to pick us back up~He tells us that He is here. He has always been here. He will never leave.
He holds us under the shadow of His wings
We watched as that mama returned. She would not leave her babes. Despite the home, despite the circumstances, despite the mess. Despite us, she remained. As the snow blew in the cold wind, she protected them there. They knew no different. They were safe. They were loved.
Allow Gods presence to overshadow you today. Rest under His wings as He protects. Give Him every circumstance that surrounds you. You are safe. You are loved. Let His peace comfort your heart until you know no different.
God showed me hope that day. He showed me the promise of life despite what our world might look like right now.
New life. New beginnings.
Soon those babies will hatch. They will fly from the crumpled mess their home once was. We will pick up those trees and they will stand aright again. And they will always be a reminder of Gods love, of His promises, of His care and protection. Of His presence.
They will remind us how beautiful our lives can be, no matter what our circumstances are.
Despite ourselves, He will always be there hiding us under the shadow of His wings.
Psalm 17:8, 32:7, 36:7, 57:1, 63:7
STOP FREAKING OUT
2 minute read
I was having a particularly stressful week. I got bombarded daily with unexpected inconveniences that continually messed up my plans.
I tried to remain calm.
One more week and we would be on vacation. I would be laying in the sand, soaking up the sun and listening to the ocean waves. I was pretty sure I had the following week free to get my “to do” list accomplished before we left. I looked at the calendar and, I kid you not~
I almost had a panic attack.
Every single day before vacation was booked with activities and appointments.
And I had a freak out moment.
I am a big planner. I’m one of those people who has a daily “to do” list written out for the next month. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with planning but~
There is something wrong when those “plans” cause you to freak out because they aren’t going “as planned”.
And that happens to me more than I care to admit. God is constantly having to remind me to~
“Be where your feet are Charisse. Today is all you need think about. What do I have for you today? Right now? Right this very minute?” “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself...” Matthew 6:34
So what happened? A virus hit so hard that everything shut down.
All those activities and appointments, all the worry I had about finishing everything before vacation~ it all came to naught.
Vacation didn’t happen.
The sun, sand and ocean waves didn’t happen.
The only thing that did happen was me freaking out about something that God already knew wouldn’t matter.
I wasn’t trusting God.
As I look at social media, it is very evident to me that our entire country is freaking out. We’re complaining about our plans getting canceled. We’re either complaining that the government isn’t doing enough to protect us and heal this virus, or we’re complaining that the government is doing too much by not allowing us to work.
Instead of God’s plans, instead of God’s purposes, instead of God’s peace~ it has become either personal pouting or political. We are constantly fighting or griping instead of just being where our feet are. Right now. Today. “How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” Romans 10:15
Perhaps Gods plan all along has been this day, this moment. Maybe His plan all along was just to stop. To enjoy today. The extra time He has allowed us to spend with Him and our families.
But we aren’t doing that.
We are wasting our today’s by fighting over our tomorrows.
Every single time I have freaked out about my plans and my future, every time I have cried and complained and worried over how I would do it all~
God always, without fail pulled me through and showed me that His plans were not mine. That I couldn’t do it all, but He could and would.
His plans were always SO MUCH better.
And yet, for some reason~I continue to place my trust in myself instead of remembering the thousands of times He has shown Himself faithful.
He knew all along I had no reason to freak out about my week ahead.
Today, stop and look at where your feet are. Look at today. Look at your parents or your husband, look at your children, look at Gods word. Look at everything God has blessed you with. Enjoy this day God has given you and trust Him with your future. Ask Him to show you what His plans are for you TODAY~ what He wants to teach you TODAY. How you can choose joy TODAY.
How you can be like Jesus TODAY.
Our country has a 3 phase plan in place, but can I encourage you~Gods plans for your tomorrows are so much better. God’s got this. He’s going to take care of this virus. He’s going to take care of our finances. He’s going to take care of our families.
He’s going to take care of you.
Not the government.
Not the doctors.
So let’s all leave it with Him~
And stop freaking out.
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
I’ll never forget the Easter my cousin Erick decided to dress up as the Easter bunny.
We were in middle school, and both our brothers were much younger. He thought it would be fun to surprise them.
It had the opposite effect.
When his younger brother Peter saw him, he was petrified. He started crying and wouldn’t stop. We tried to comfort him but nothing helped. My cousin repeatedly told him- “It’s me, your brother. You don’t have to be afraid. I’m right here.” But the crying persisted.
My poor little cousin was looking into the face of fear, despite the words of comfort he was hearing. It wasn’t until Erick took off that bunny mask that Peter finally calmed down and realized,
it was his brother all along.
This Easter many of us are looking at all the quarantine masks and our hearts are petrified. We are looking into the face of fear, instead of the face of our Savior. His words of comfort are constantly reminding us that He is with us always, but fear has such a grip on our hearts that we cannot be comforted by His very words... “fear not”, “be not afraid”,
“I am with you always”.
Can I encourage you today to trust the One Who loves us so much that He sent His very Son to die for us? To trust the One Who promises us a home in heaven if we accept the beautiful gift of His Son. To trust the One Who tells us He will be with us always.
Why is it that we can have the faith to trust that God will take us to heaven when we die, but our faith falls short when we have to trust Him to take care of us physically or monetarily? I think it’s because we know that what Jesus did on the cross for us is what assures us a home in heaven~not anything that we ourselves have done, or could ever do. Our sins are completely forgiven because of Jesus alone. The situation changes when it comes to our physical bodies, and the well being of those we love. Somehow we think we are the ones in control of things here on earth. Our health. Our finances. Our futures. When things become out of control, fear invades our hearts instead of faith. Romans 8:31,32.
Stop looking into the face of fear and dwelling there. Stop watching the news all day. Stop the googling and social media. Sit at your Savior’s feet and soak in His comfort and peace.
When you stop looking into the face of fear, you will realize your Heavenly Father has been with you all along. Romans 8:35,37-39. Fix your eyes on Jesus. He is in you. He gives you the power to overcome. The power that we could never achieve on our own. Power, even when things of this world are out of control. John 1:12. The Coronavirus is no surprise to Him. I John 3:20.
My cousin asked his brother if he wanted to hold the bunny mask. Reluctantly, Peter took it. He looked at it, and with tears still streaming down his little cheeks~he gave it right back. We all laughed and soon he was laughing too.
We don’t have to wait until we remove the quarantine masks for our fears to subside. We don’t have to wait until we remove the masks to realize God has been right here with us all along. Exodus 33:14. Give all that fear right back to your Heavenly Father. Find your laughter again. And hear him reassuring you over and over-
“It’s me. Your Father. You don’t have to be afraid. I am right here.”
DON’T BE SCARED, I AM HERE.
2 min read
As we sat in the hospital waiting room, we finally heard the lullaby playing over the speakers.
Every time a baby was born the lullaby played. We were so excited. We were sure our little Ellie had made her grand entrance.
But the wait continued, with no proud father emerging.
When my son in law finally came through the door, we all knew something was wrong.
They had taken Ellie away immediately. She had a collapsed lung and in the process of taking care of her, the doctor found out she had a serious strep b infection.
I can remember standing next to my daughter and looking across the hall as they all worked on little Ellie. When they came in and told us they had to transfer her to a larger hospital 30 minutes away, Jessica was devastated. They would not allow her to go. She hadn’t even gotten to hold her child, or even see her.
My husband stayed next to Ellie in the NICU that whole night trying to bring some sort of comfort to Jessica, but the next morning despite many obstacles, Jessica walked through that door to her child.
She whispered the barely audible words “I’m here Ellie. Mama’s here”
In that moment I saw my daughter in a different light. She was my hero.
She endured tremendous pain to be there for her child. Her love for her daughter was overwhelmingly beautiful and brought tears to my eyes. I remembered the pain of child birth and the amount of time I was allowed to recuperate in my hospital bed, yet here she stood next to her child just hours after giving birth. The love she had drew every ounce of strength from her weak body so that she could be there for her baby.
The love of a mother is fierce, it transcends all obstacles for its child.
That love, that incredible fierce love we have for our kids is only a shallow puddle compared to the ocean of love our Heavenly Father has for us.
His love transcends all obstacles. His love endured tremendous pain on the cross for us, because of our sins. He took all our brokenness and sin and nailed it to that cross where His only Son died in our place. John 3:16.
Ellie didn’t do a thing to deserve Jessica’s love. She was born into it and it was all hers.
Jessica loved her because she was her child. There’s nothing we can do to deserve Gods love either. God loves you and wants you to be born again. Born into His family. John 1:12, 3:3. No amount of good works could take Christ place on that cross. Ephesians 2:8-9. No amount of church attendance could wipe away the pain that He endured. Acts 4:12. He gave the very gift of Himself to us. John 5:24
The gift of life.
Once you believe that such a love is possible~your heart will be changed and you will desire to give all of it to the One Who could love you that much.
Our ultimate Hero.
And when you truly understand that God’s love is fully yours, your heart will know without a doubt that He will do everything, EVERYTHING, to take care of you, His child.
No matter the circumstance, we are not alone.
Almighty God, the Creator of this universe, the Giver of life and peace and strength~
He is in us.
He is with us.
He is in control and He will take care of us.
Think about what Jessica and mothers everywhere have endured, and overcome for their children. The bible tells us that if our earthly parents will go to such extents~ how much more will our Heavenly Father do for us. Luke 11:13
He is whispering to our souls even now~
Don’t be scared~
I AM HERE, I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS. Matthew 28:20
This is His promise.
Believe His words.
He will not fail us.
Because not only is He our Hero~
He’s our Daddy and we are His child.
IN THE WAITING
2 minute read
When she was a baby, my daughter Jessica was almost bald. The first year of her life she remained that way. When she finally had enough hair to put into little pig tails, I think I was more excited than she was. I told her to wait by the door for daddy to get home so she could show him.
This soon became a habit of hers, waiting for daddy at the door. She seemed to know exactly what time to go and wait. Often peeking through the windows, or just sitting happily in front of the screen watching for him.
She never got tired of waiting. She knew without a doubt that he would come. There would be times that he was running late due to traffic or errands, but that little girl never grew impatient. And when he finally showed up, you would’ve thought it was the best day of her life, every single day. The joy and excitement that sweet girl had always brought me to tears.
He was daddy.
He would pick her up and hold her and tell her how beautiful she was. If she was hurt or sad, scared or sick he would tell her it was going to be ok. He would kiss her boo boo and just like that, everything was made right.
What happens that steals that childlike faith from our hearts? That trust in the waiting that turns to impatience?
We want everything fixed right now and when it isn’t, we lose all faith that things can change. Our prayers become words that hold little hope. We stop believing He will come home to our hearts and make all our hurt and sadness, fear and discouragement go away.
The wait becomes harder and harder and pretty soon we close the door of our hearts and give up on God.
But my friend, He is coming.
He is not limited by errands or traffic.
He is never so busy that He can’t get to us. He is constant.
Always hearing our prayers.
Always working on our behalf.
His timing is perfect and we must trust Him that He has a purpose for the wait.
The end of your wait might be right around the corner, and when that day comes~
and it will come~there is nothing like it. The joy your heart feels and the excitement it holds will wipe every tear away. He will come in and kiss the hurt that your heart holds. He will lift you up and make your heart beautiful. Everything will be made right.
Don’t give up in the waiting.
Don’t close the door,
worship in the doorway.
He is your daddy~
and He is coming home.
“Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.”
“I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.”
“He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.”
“It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.”
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
“Therefore I will look unto the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me.”
“My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.”
“Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him...”
A MOTHER WORRIED ABOUT HER CHILD, A CHILD WORRIED ABOUT HER MOTHER.
Many tears have been shed this week.
How easy it is to pen the words~
Trust in the Lord at all times~
until those times fall heavy upon your own shoulders.
My daughter’s son has been extremely sick this week. The hardest part is watching the pain precious Gabe has been in. It is heartbreaking. The sad thing is, we can’t figure out why. It’s scary when your child asks if you will please give him a shot so he will feel better. What toddler voluntarily asks for a shot? Worry has crept into every single minute of every single day. One sleepless night after another and despite an ER visit, every day
the pain continues. A mother, worried about her child.
My sweet friend has been in the hospital. She has been like a grandma to me, and like me~she was also a pastor’s wife. I can’t tell you how often she has blessed my life with words of encouragement and wisdom, with stories that had me laughing and crying. She’s a treasure to me. Her daughter has been by her side continually. What seemed like a cautious ER visit turned into the very real possibility that sweet Dorothy would be seeing Jesus very soon. So many tears have been shed. Watching your mother in so much pain, struggling to breathe and not knowing if each breath will be her last. One sleepless night after another. A child, worried about her mother.
Heartache, trials and pain are no respecter of people or age.
Today I do not know the outcome or have answers for either, but this I know~
My almighty Father does.
I’m not going to pretend it’s simple or easy to trust Him through this, it’s been hard. But I know how very much He loves my daughter, He loves Dorothy’s daughter and most important~
how very much He loves my grandson and my friend. Jeremiah 31:3
So every day, every minute I ask Him to hold them. To allow them to feel the peace of His comforting arms around them. Isaiah 26:3, 2 Corinthians 1:3
I don’t try to hide my tears. They have been flowing and that’s okay, because I know that my Savior wept. John 11:35
He understands sadness. He understands my tears. I will cling to Him in His goodness and hold tight to His promises. 2 Peter 1:4
Whatever you are going through right now, no matter how deep or how dark or how painful it is~ you are not alone. Micah 7:8
He is with you!
He is with you!!
He is with you!!!
He will never ever leave. Hebrews 13:5
You don’t have to be afraid of evil tidings. Fix your eyes on Jesus and trust in Him. Psalms 112:7, Proverbs 3:5-6
And when you feel the trust won’t come, when the worry overwhelms you and the fear grips your heart~ cry out to Him~
“Jesus I believe, help my unbelief.”
Let faith whisper to your soul the very words of your Father~
“I am with you.
Nothing can separate you from my love.
everything is possible.”
A mother, worried about her child.
A child, worried about her mother.
A Father tenderly holding them both.
Psalm 103:4, Revelation 21:3-4
“And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.”
*** I wrote this on Wednesday. On Friday my sweet friend Dorothy took her last breath and was immediately in the presence of Jesus. I’m so thankful God gave me the precious gift of her friendship. She will be so missed.
Thankfully,my grandson has turned the corner and we are finally starting to see our precious Gabe almost back to normal.
THIS~ HELPLESS, OUT OF CONTROL, MOM OF ADULTS~ PHASE.
Lately It seems as if I see more and more articles about the mom life and how hard it is.
How fast it goes.
I’ve read encouragement about everything from babies to teenagers and even advice as they leave for college or their happily ever after with the love of their lives.
There are so many tough transitions through all these phases, but I rarely read about this new phase.
This helpless, out of control, mom of adults phase.
I thought crying babies who wouldn’t sleep was hard. I thought their first day of school and kindergarten graduation was hard. I thought their first crush, their first heartbreak, their college prep, senior trip and last summer at home was hard.
When they went to college I cried my eyes out. When they got married I wasn’t quite ready.
But once they leave~
really leave and are on their own~
no one tells you how incredibly hard that is.
It’s hard because you feel like you no longer have any control whatsoever.
They don’t live under your roof.
You can’t protect them.
And just as it was so very hard when they were little and sick and crying, this is even harder. I’m sure all of you moms have faced one of these situations.
Suddenly they’re no longer tucked in upstairs, they’re hundreds of miles from home.
They don’t have a cough or a tummy ache, they have cancer.
They aren’t having a bad dream, they’re living a bad dream.
They didn’t have an adolescent boy break their heart. They had a husband break their marriage.
They didn’t lose their favorite baby doll. They lost a child.
There are no band aids and kisses that can heal that pain. Mama rocking them to sleep doesn’t make all the bad go away.
And this~ this is agonizing.
It’s in our mom DNA to make that pain go away. To make everything better. To whisper words of comfort. To hold them and sing lullabies. To fix every boo boo and dry every tear.
That’s what we’re supposed to do~
but we can’t.
No one ever warned me what a mother’s heart goes through.
Sleepless nights that don’t go away, no matter their age. They’re still your baby, and if they’re crying you are crying and your heart is shattered.
So what then? What does a mama do when all seems so hopeless. When all control is lost and we can’t do what a mama is supposed to do?
We realize that it was never really us to begin with.
It was God in us.
God in the touch of a mother’s hand. God in the whispers of her heart. God in the softness of her arms. God in the reassurance of her words.
God has never left them and He never will. He is the one who will be there now. Continuing to do all these things that we no longer can.
He will hold them. He will comfort them. He will whisper to their hearts. He will sing lullabies to their souls. They will never be alone. He will watch over them and wrap His loving arms around them. Trust Him that he will continue to do what He has been doing through you all along mama.
It isn’t easy. It’s very, very hard. We as mothers would take that pain and heart ache for our children a thousand times over if we could. But we can’t.
So now it’s time to give that pain and all the shattered pieces to Jesus.
Place that child in His tender, loving arms and watch Him do miracles that mamas do, but no longer can.
You know in your mama heart how deep your love for your children is. Hold on to that knowledge
His love is infinitely deeper than ours could ever be.
SLEEPLESS NIGHTS OF A MAMA
We lived 700 miles away. Away from all family. I felt very alone. I didn’t have many friends, mostly just acquaintances. And I was tired. So tired. Mom wasn’t there to give me a break and Mike worked 6 days a week.
Our firstborn was almost a year old and I hadn’t slept through a single night in over a year. Not only had my uncomfortable, huge belly kept me awake before her birth, but after her birth she woke up (and stayed up) several times a night.
Every single night.
We tried everything. I cried more than I care to admit. Sheer exhaustion took over and I can remember thinking that I would give anything, anything for one night of uninterrupted sleep.
I couldn’t complain to anyone. The only phones we had were land lines and it was far too expensive to call home. There were no cell phones. There was no texting. There was no one to vent to.
So I turned to the only One I had in my loneliness. I complained to God. I cried out to Him and I finally admitted to the ladies at my church that I needed prayer. I was not super mom. I needed them to reach out to God on my behalf.
Once I gave it to God, once I leaned totally on Him and told Him I couldn’t do it anymore,
He told me~
“I can Charisse, I can do it for you.”
He whispered to my lonely, exhausted heart that I wasn’t alone and that I needed to trust Him through this.
It was then that I realized I had not been trusting. I had been feeling sorry for myself in my loneliness and sleep deprivation. I might have called out to Him in frustration and despair, but not in faith and trust.
So to all of you moms that are wondering~’How can I get through these baby years without losing my mind?’
The sleepless nights, the terrible two’s,
(or terrible teens), the empty nest or even the adult years of our children....
But He can.
Let go of the frustration and despair and give it to God. Once I truly did this I realized I was never really alone. When the world was dark and everyone was asleep, as I held her and cried~ He was right there by my side the whole time. His strength is limitless when we have no strength left at all.
Three more babies came after my first. There were many more sleepless nights. A lot of crying. Too much of Charisse and not enough of Christ. Thank God, His mercies are new every morning. He is faithful and even now when the sleepless nights of crying over my adult children may come, when the world is dark and I’m holding their problems in my heart, I can rest in Him, trusting that I am not alone and neither are they.
He is right there by their side.
Psalm 121:2-3 💗
THE BEST ANSWER
It was the story of Noah’s Ark.
Sweet little kindergarteners.
The answers were simple~
Noah, a rainbow and an olive branch.
But this is how it went~
~Who built the ark?
~What sign did God give us promising He would never flood the earth again?
~What did the bird bring back in its beak?
His sweet little brown eyes twinkled as he answered every question with such enthusiasm.
At first I chuckled.
But almost immediately I heard God whisper to my heart~
He’s correct Charisse, I AM the answer to everything.
Every question, every struggle, every heartache, every piece of bad news and every bit of good news.
I am the answer.
I will always be the answer.
And just as that sweet little boy thought he had the answer to everything~ I realized he was right. He did have the correct answer.
Jesus is with us in every situation.
Jesus never breaks a promise.
Jesus makes all things new.
God our Father always brings us an olive branch of hope for our future~
if we give that future to Him.
Whatever you might be going through today, I encourage you to have the simple faith of a child and put your trust in the only One Who is our answer, no matter what the question might be~
There is a sphere.
It continually turns, as water gently cascades across its surface.
It sits in a waiting room and when my children were younger, the first time they saw it they were in awe.
It was limitless.
It was powerful.
It was beautiful~yet, with the simple touch of their tiny hand they could stop it all.
Without realizing it, we often limit God’s power in every hard situation we face. We compartmentalize what we believe God can and can’t do in our lives. In our messes. In our anxieties, in our fears, in our unknowns and in the world around us.
We might hear the trite words~
“God does everything for a reason”. Or~”you just need to pray about it more”. Although meant to be, these aren’t words of comfort. They are often pet answers from a sincere heart that has no answers.
Perhaps a heart that hasn’t truly been intimate with God’s power.
And we limit God.
God can do anything.
Just like that sphere, when our hands interfere and our hearts disbelieve-God’s beautiful glory no longer cascades across our lives and the lives around us.
And we ask “why God, why?”
And the whole while our sweet Father is telling us-“lift your hand of disbelief away and allow my power and my glory to wash over you. Let Me show you what I can do in your life.”
In the waiting.
That job situation. That school situation. That hurting marriage. That crying infant. That rebellious teenager. That health scare. That loved one’s illness. That unknown future.
I used to watch my children as their tiny fingers touched that sphere and think about how big they looked next to it, as if they had the world in their hands. They held the power to control its beauty.
And then, I couldn’t help but think~
My God is so much bigger.
The reality of our minute stature hits me hard~
He holds our world in His hands and we hold His power in our hearts. With Him, anything is possible.
Lift your hand. Let go. Watch God’s power, glory and beauty cascade over your life and just believe.
“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,”
“God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God.”
“Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.”
“Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come.”
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:”
“But I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defence and refuge in the day of my trouble.”
“And they were all amazed at the mighty power of God.”
“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?”
“I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee.”
“Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.”
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
2 Timothy 1:7
It’s not about me.
It’s all about God.
His power. My faith.
His glory. My trust.
His ways. Not mine.
God used a little girl to give Namaan a message. A message that seemed utterly crazy. But it wasn’t about the act. It was about the faith in an all powerful God.
II Kings 5
God used Gideon and when his flesh cried that he needed more- God said he didn’t. His ways were higher. His power was stronger. His glory was more magnificent. Judges 7
And then God said to Israel-march. And march. And march. Not fight. Not debate. Not use eloquent words. No complaining. No tiring. Just relentlessly continuing on for the kingdom of God until the trumpet blew. To simply trust and obey. Joshua 6
Pour water on a bonfire before it is lit? I Kings 18.
Talk about rain when there’s no such thing? Build a boat on dry land? Genesis 6-9.
Fight a giant with only a slingshot?
I Samuel 17.
Stand before a king until he holds out a septer? Esther.
Speak before a pharaoh on behalf of a nation? Exodus 3.
Kneel before God in the face of death? Daniel 6.
Feed 5,000 with 5 loaves and 2 fishes? Matthew 14.
Give birth to a Savior never knowing a man? Luke 1
Never abandoned. Always delivered. Abundantly blessed.
Whatever you are facing, God has shown you time and time again that His ways are higher than our ways. Even when it doesn’t logistically make sense to our human way of thinking, we simply must trust.
He holds the galaxies in the palm of His hands and we are but specks like the sands on the sea shore~
yet He loves us infinitely.
He tells us to go. To serve. To believe. To glorify. To trust. Because He is all powerful and all loving.
And through Him we can do anything. Philippians 4:13
Isaiah 26:3, I Corinthians 10:31, Isaiah 55:9
One of the hardest things to do as a parent is to not be a parent.
Recently, my 4 year old granddaughter Clara got an awful splinter in her foot. It was deep and painful. She’s a tough little cookie and doesn’t cry easily. I regularly hear her shout out~”I’m ok!”~as she jumps up from tripping, falling, running into walls, getting plowed over by her cousin on the swing-set, etc. But when her daddy had to get that splinter out, this grandma couldn’t even watch. I had to leave the room. I could not handle seeing her in so much pain, even though I knew the consequences of that splinter would cause major infection if left unattended.
It brought me back to all the times I had to deal with similar situations in my own children’s lives. My daughter Kathryn was about the same age when she broke her collar bone and had to have it reset.
I can still remember her screams.
Seeing our children in that type of pain is heart wrenching, but if we know that pain will be for their good~as parents, we have to allow it.
Parenting doesn’t just stop the moment our children move out of the house. It doesn’t stop once they get married. It doesn’t stop after they have their own children.
I don’t think parenting will ever stop, as long as I am alive.
The wisdom we gain as we get older, the consequences we endure for our actions~all of this becomes warning signs that we want to frantically wave in front of our children.
It’s not that we think they aren’t smart~or even that we are smarter.
It’s like fast forwarding to the end of the movie and trying to tell them we know the outcome. We’ve already seen it.
We thought we had all the answers when we were their age. But time told a different story. That little splinter our own parents tried to remove, we told them no. It was fine. It was too small to do any harm.
But it wasn’t small.
We don’t want them to endure the heart aches we did. We don’t want them to go through pain.
But this isn’t our story, it’s now theirs. We can’t write their ending. Only they can.
And so we pray. We continually give them to God and when we are tempted to take them back~out of His grasp, when we grab for their heel and beg them to let us get that splinter out, we have to let go. Again and again and again.
And trust Him.
It will be hard. There will be pain. We might even have to walk out of the room~but in the end, if we’ve really truly given our children to God~He will be glorified.
There’s a freedom in letting go and letting God. He is and always has been the One in control but somehow in our finite minds, we think we are.
Once our minds can comprehend that the God of the universe knows exactly what’s going on in our children’s lives and that He has a plan~for their good, we can let go and allow God to pull that splinter out Himself.
Because He loves them with a love that cannot be measured.
He loves them with a love that CANNOT BE MEASURED.
When the threat of infection was removed and the pain was over, Clara wanted to be held by her daddy. She snuggled in close as the last of her whimpers faded away.
Isn’t that the end goal? To know that our children are being held by their Father,
to be closer to Him than ever before.
I’M NOT READY
My daughter gave birth early this morning. Her sweet little Caleb decided he wanted to arrive 9 days early.
Caleb’s mommy happens to be just like his grandma. A planner. A list maker. A “get. every. single. thing. done. before. the. baby. comes” mommy. When the contractions started~and then continued every five minutes on the dot~she still didn’t want to believe it. This wasn’t part of the plan. She frantically tidied, vacuumed and even cried a little (okay~maybe a lot) and she said~
“I’m not ready.”
But God her Father thought differently.
I couldn’t help but think of all the times I uttered those words through the years.
“I’m not ready.”
When the pregnancy test came back positive.
When I went into labor.
When I brought my little one home for the very first time.
When my children spoke their first words and took their first steps.
When they were no longer a baby.
When they left for their first day of school.
When they no longer wanted to snuggle.
When they chose their friends over mom and dad.
When they were no longer a child.
When they graduated and drove off to college.
When they said “good bye”~
to say “I do”.
When they were no longer mine.
Even today I find myself saying those words, but when I think about the absolute miracle of pregnancy and natural childbirth, when I think about the fact that Andrea couldn’t do a single thing to control the situation when she went into labor early, when I think about the precision of labor~the perfectly timed contractions telling mama it was time~I see God’s hand all over it. How could I not?
I saw my Savior holding my daughter last night and telling her it was ok. He was with her. It was time. Time to let go and give Him control. And each stage of my children’s lives where I didn’t feel ready~God was holding me. I can now look back and see that He was always in control. He had a plan and His plan was for this mama to let go of everything she was holding onto so tightly and give it to Him, trusting Him completely. No matter how hard.
When your heart is being squeezed. When the tears begin to fall. When you utter the words
“I’m not ready”~
God your Father thinks differently.
Trust in Him and let go.
Our children are the most precious gift God has given us apart from His Son, but they aren’t ever really, truly ours~they will always be His. Our plans for our children may not be God’s plans.
No matter how old they get, you will always hold your child in your heart. Take comfort in knowing that God will always hold your heart in His hands. Once you realize that His way is perfect and give Him control, once you learn to trust Him completely~that’s when you’ll hear Him whispering the words~
“You are ready mama.”
“Why can’t I be normal?” We were on our way to another Doctor. Another specialist. Something wrong with me AGAIN. Tears filled my eyes. “And it’s always something strange with me, something that the doctor can’t figure out”. I was pouring my heart out to Mike. I felt like a constant disappointment not only to him but also to my children and church family. And every time something was wrong, it resulted in me being flat on my back. No use to anyone. I wanted to hide. I wanted to cry. I wanted to run away. I was sure all the ladies at church thought I was a terrible pastor’s wife and my own children thought I was a huge disappointment as a mother.
Here’s the thing. Of all the posts that I’ve written, of all the stories I’ve shared of deliverance by God, of answered prayer, of trust in the Savior, at that moment I felt lost and completely alone again. In one tiny moment, just like that, it was all forgotten as I sat crying in pain. I am not some picture of Godliness, I have not arrived. I am human. I am weak. Ladies, that’s exactly where Satan wants us. He gets us to the point where we are so weak and so desperate that we begin to entertain thoughts that aren’t even true. We forget about every miraculous story of God’s deliverance and sit in our own pitiful pain and despair. We feel sorry for ourselves, and depending on the circumstance, maybe we have every right to, but we have absolutely no right to dismiss God and all He has done for us. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what we do when we allow ourselves to get to this point. God can do unexplained miracles in our life but all it takes is one Doctor uttering the words “way out of her league” or “abnormal” to scare us into thinking we are alone and forgotten. I guess that’s why the story of Moses and the Israelites has always intrigued me. How easy is it to read about the burning bush, the plagues, the Red Sea and judge the Israelites for their childish murmurings. How easy it is to say “how could they forget God’s miracles so quickly?” I guess one of the reasons we can be so quick to judge is because we can go back a few chapters and reread the miraculous story of God’s deliverance over and over and over. It’s a story that never gets old. My friend, your story will never get old. You just have to go back a few chapters and reread it. We have to push aside our childish murmurings and we have to mentally remind ourselves that He is OUR God of miracles and He has been, and always will be there for us. Take a moment today and write down one thing from your past that God helped you get through. Shut everything else out and focus on that. And then thank Him over and over throughout your day. Tomorrow, add another to your list and then the next day and the next and the next until one year from today you are adding the 365th way God has blessed your life. Your perspective will be completely changed. We can’t allow Satan to squirm his way in, because he will use any means necessary to take us away from our closeness with God. Focusing on ourselves is one of his best weapons.
God made me laugh at myself even today as I typed the words at the beginning of this post~”I was pouring my heart out to Mike”. When I went back to read what I had written I laughed out loud. Auto correct changed “pouring” to “pouting”. “I WAS POUTING.” I’m sure that was all God. Funny how He uses things to get our attention. Switch your focus today and place it on the Savior and all the crazy, unexplainable, miraculous, beautiful ways He has blessed your life. Grab a pen, because today is only the beginning of your story, a story that you will want to read over and over again. A story that will never get old.
Exodus 19:4 Ephesians 3:20 Proverbs 3:5-6
I'm married to a man who already gives me scenarios and instructions for when he's on his death bed. A man who reads the obituaries and sees the negative way more than he sees any positive. A "cup half empty" kind of guy. On the other hand, I'm always trying to see the good and the positive, you know~Mike and I at a nursing home, rocking side by side and hitting the big "1-0-0" together. He laughs at me and says he is a realist. I argue and say "with God anything is possible". 😉 So, our first year of marriage when I was 6 months pregnant and we moved 800 miles away from our homes and families, I tried to see the positive. When we were first dating and Mike told me his plans to move out east, I was in La-La land. All dreamy and in love. But then the reality of it all sank in and I'll just be honest, I cried the entire way. All I could think about was my parents and how they would be so far away and what if something happened to them and I wouldn't even be around to say goodbye. I tried to be positive as our little U-Haul turned down a side street that looked like something from a COPS show. I tried to stay positive with each house we passed.... "That one could be cute...Nope. Well, that ones not bad....Nope.....no, No, NOOO, PLEASE... that can't be it". BUT IT WAS. We were moving into a duplex and living on the first floor. The owners were wannabe farmers who owned a flock of geese penned in their tiny, tiny, city backyard, a yard that looked like a dumping ground for old cars. I hugged my baby belly a little tighter. Everything seemed to be a hazy grey. In the two years we lived there they had multiple dogs and cats. A flock of chicks living in their bath tub and a baby calf living in their hallway above us. We had fleas, we had roaches and we had mice, but despite what seemed like the worst, my heart changed for the better while I lived there. I made friendships with those crazy farmers that I probably never would have and this spoiled little daddy's girl became best friends with my husband. To others (including my parents who were worried sick that we were going to catch some crazy disease) this situation looked awful, but God showed me the beauty of it all. My first home with my best friend.
When we look back on that time together, we smile and we even laugh. God knew it was exactly what we both needed. Not only did we learn to leave father and mother and seriously cleave to each other, we learned to trust in God completely, more than we ever had before and once we did, we were able to see beauty all around us.
Despite my tears at leaving home and family behind, as I took my first steps into the duplex that day, I took my first steps into my new home. My NEW family's home. God knew that this was exactly what my childish heart, that relied so much on mom and dad, would need. And in His perfect timing, when He knew that I was ready, He would bring us all back together again. He showed me that my own children had to leave as they got married, to start their own "homes", their own "families". He showed me that it is God's plan for them to be best friends with their spouses first, and not mom or dad anymore, and that was ok and He made sure that my own dad is now living only a block down my street.
At times it can be hard to look past the tears, past the now. At times it can be hard to trust in God and His plan. Hard to let go and give Him complete control instead of trying to control the situation for Him but if we don't, we will be missing out on so much of the beauty that's right in front of our eyes. If we aren't careful we might even be stealing some of that beauty away from our children. Allow your children to experience God’s beauty on their own. Don’t take that away from them no matter how hard you want to intervene and learn to look ahead at the beauty God has waiting for you. In the midst of what might seem the worst, God knows it’s for our best. Because He truly is our Father of miracles, miraculous beauty awaits you if you’ll learn to trust in Him.