Friday, March 6, 2015

Progression of Perspective . . .

Tuesday, started like most days for me full of challenges with a cute little 3 year old.  She wakes up smiling and giving nose kisses and wanting to 'hug me momma' which always makes me (the not so morning person) actually like mornings! ((some of y'all reading this will know it had to be an act of God for that to happen!!! LOL))

At three we have learned how to negotiate, manipulate and propagate our own wills! We demand to be different! We demand to not fall to authority! We demand that our voice be heard over and above all else! We demand that our needs be met right away!

We demand, We demand, We demand ... at 3 we demand!

The wonderful exploratory life of three, when we want to explore our world in our own time and our own pace lingering where we want and by passing what we want.  See when you are three years old, the world around you is wonderful, exciting and another adventure is waiting around every corner!  It's when you are becoming more and more aware of the world and people around you.  Your personality is constantly changing and forming into the adult you will one day be ... but in the mean time you have choices to make and toys to play with and paper to cut and glue to lick and markers to test on fabric.   You need to have everything 5 seconds before you could even form the words to tell your mom what your need actually was/is.  You have to be heard there is absolutely no such thing as patience ... that is after all a personality trait of someone with self-control and for sure that is reserved for someone old, like maybe 10 or something. ;-) No 3 year old should ever be expected to do pick up anything unless it was their idea to begin with! right?! right!!! The wonderful world of three.

Sweets and I had a few difference of opinions from how many bites of a high sugary cereal and banana did equate to an actual breakfast ... to explaining how you will loose every tooth in your head if you don't brush your teeth, like Poppy.  ((Sorry Poppy, but I needed an illustration and since you provide her with one every time she sees you ... well, I get to 'explain' it! lol ))

After a long weekend of Poppy or nana or any family that loves spoiling and loving on her it takes Sweets a few days to iron back out to her normal three year old self, which is still challenging but less whiny. 

I am by no means complaining I am simply trying to give you a visual ... perspective if you will. 

As president and CEO of our corporation there are a lot of things on my mind early in the morning:

~Transportation Authority (aka driving Sweets to preschool, myself to appts & errands)
~Waste Management (Tuesday is trash pick-up)
~Purchasing Agent (did I remember to get the milk yesterday?)
~Fashion Coordinator (Sweets needs a light jacket for the spring)
~Personal Chef (what's for supper?)
~Personal Trainer (I really need my walk/exercise today!!!)
~Canine Trainer (the dog needs a walk)
~Personal Banker (did I finish this month's budget)
~Medical Provider & Health Insurance Consultant (does that rash really need to be treated by a dr or   Benadryl cream)
~Counselor/Psychiatrist (friend having a life crisis needs to talk on phone ASAP)
~Grounds Keeper (doesn't really need a description)

I am sure I left a few of the many duties/jobs that I actually have, again I am really trying to help you as a reader get a visual perspective of this day.  So that you will truly understand why I did not have time for a flat flat flat flat did I say flat tire 1/4 mile from preschool this morning?!

I have to admit by the time I realized that the tire was flat and my vehicle wasn't drivable I had tried so desperately to ignore the light and sound of the flapping tire ...   because again, it was not on my schedule for today, notice that Auto Engineering was not a job title on my resume'!

I was already anxious because we were as usual running a few minutes behind (my) schedule.  I called the Hubs, then roadside assistance, then gramps.  Gramps came to the rescue and took Sweets to school safely and by the time he got back to me the tire was already being changed by a very nice gentleman in a wrecker service! There was a 3 inch piece of steel in the tire which Sears happily replaced on our warranty and I was home just over 2 hours later than planned.  All in all not too bad with the timing that is ... but then again it's all about perspective!

However, I was so frazzled in my mind not outwardly but in my mind I couldn't shake the chaos.  I was flustered, frazzled and could not focus on my task list for more than what felt like five seconds. I couldn't remember all the things I wanted to do that morning while Sweets was at preschool.  I couldn't even find my list much less check things off it. UGH!   Then it hit me ... I hadn't lost my temper, I didn't yell, I didn't cuss at anyone I just rolled with it.  What? Who was this person? I wondered if my body had been invaded by aliens at this point !?!?

This is not normal for me. 

My normal would have been to yell at someone, hold someone accountable for my day being disrupted.  My normal would have been to still be angry and to have called no less than 5 people to complain about my morning ... but I didn't.  I was out of sorts when I got home because I had forgotten what I was going to do ... but I did not show that outwardly at all. 

I pondered, what if my perspective has been changed? Then I was like ... no way! not me! ((this is a real conversation in my head ... just me and me talking to each other! lol ))

There is absolutely no reason under the sun why I should not have lost my composure today other than the Lord. 

Tuesday, was the morning I needed to affirm that yes, though I sin and fall short every day I am saved by an astounding grace and unbelievable mercy.  That a living God has loved me so much that he continually runs interference in my life to save me from myself over and over and over again. 

That His word is true in Jeremiah 29:13, I do indeed find Him when I seek him wholeheartedly. I am perfectly imperfect and He loves me anyway.  I do not spend as much time in His word as I could or should but he is still doing a work in my heart shaping and molding it to look more and more like Jesus everyday.  I still have those times in life where I will be stagnant and those times where I will grow spiritually by leaps and bounds.  He is not finished with me yet.

He is simply changing my perspective on life and about life.  The things that use to upset me just don't anymore.  Now, I am concerned about things that I use to not care about. 

 Sin is always at my door sometimes I reject it and sometimes I invite it in for a while.  I forget and loose my perspective with the busyness of life and raising a preschooler.  My perspective becomes more Hope focused not God focused.

 I forget that I am perfectly and wonderfully made in the image of my very own creator.  Who with his own hands formed man yet spoke everything else in to existence. 

I forget that I am in desperate need of a savior and that I cannot save myself or others.

That flat flat flat tire this morning with a whiny three year old and a task list that would keep me busy for at least three months without sleep could have been a recipe for a tsunami of an emotional disaster for me.  It truly could have left my daughter, father in law and anyone else in my path emotionally scared by my words ... BUT GOD. 

I am in awe of His never stopping, never changing always and forever love for me. He has shown me that I am not who I use to be but I am on the road to being who he created me to be. He has changed my perspective of my life and the world around me.  I can say with all honesty that this is not always the case ... but for a moment it was.  A flat tire was exactly what I needed!

Always a work in progress ...

The AWE of God . . .

 I lost my 'awe' of God. 

I grew up in a church environment all of my life, but I never ever remembering having and 'awe' of God.  I knew who He was or at least the way he was explained to us in Sunday school.  I knew that we were supposed to live a life that was pleasing to Him.  I was not struck with amazement at Him, His word, this world, I did not appreciate nor even know that I was supposed to count every single breath as a blessing a gift from Him.  His holiness and the reverence that it demands was not really taught to us.  There was a great focus on the Holy Spirit (aka Holy Ghost) in the particular church I grew up in ... but even in that teaching it wasn't about being in 'awe' of God.

About 9 years ago I had a major life crisis.  To say that the Lord put me flat on my face and on my knees to Him would be an understatement.  It was one of those times in your life that you cry out to Him for mercy because the storm of life is so overwhelming you can hardly breathe ... you feel the very air being sucked out of your lungs.  You pray to a God you think you know to either stop the tormenting emotions or take your life, you are that desperate for a change.

You cannot see Him or hear Him because the noise and chaos of the turmoil in your life whether by your own doing or as the consequences of another persons actions is so loud that it absolutely drowns out everything the entire world around you, to the point that you can only hear your own heartache. 

You can feel your soul being tormented ... it was one of those storms in life.

We have all had one and if you haven't you will.  The hard ones, the ones that you can't even form words really to talk about because no one would understand.  The times in life that you can easily be judged by other believers who would ((in a loving way of course)) know the exact scripture to quote you and how you need to apply to your life, then all would be well again.

That might have worked for someone else, but not for me.  You see I thought I knew God and for all intents and purposes I did know the basics.  I knew there was a God that created all of creation and sent His son to die for me but I did not have an awe of him ... I was not struck with the beauty of the world around me.  I was not smitten by the mercy of a Holy God who, out of His love for me sent his son to be tortured and to hang on a tree all for me.

I can almost remember the exact date that I dropped to my knees and all I could do was sob uncontrollably no words came out of my mouth.  I begged God to show up in my circumstances and take it from me, I was done.

He showed up.

The Lord has restored and is continuing to mend a broken mind and heart. 

I began to have an 'awe' of Him because He had absolutely no reason to reach down and save me. NONE. 

He had absolutely no cause to redeem me.

There was absolutely nothing good in or about me.

I was a pathetic heap of sin.  The crisis itself wasn't one event or one person, it was a lifetime of consequences.  It was like a parasite that started as a microorganism that turned into a full blown mutant cell and devoured itself and everything around it.   

Yet, in the pit of despair He reached His hand down and pulled me out (Psalm 40) without any reason other than He loved me.  No one with breath in them could have saved me ... not my parents, not my husband, not my sister ... no friends.  Only the Lord could reach to the depths of my soul where the pain and sin had held me for so long and pull me up and out back amongst the living; and he did.

It wasn't an immediate change, it was a gradual.  Eventually days weeks later I became aware of a love I had never ever truly known.  I became aware of His prescense in my life.  I became familiar with a God I only thought I knew.  I was in awe of a God who could, would and did save me. 

I absolutely was not worth the air I was breathing.  ((I am not saying that for sympathy, I am simply recognizing my inability to have pulled myself together from where I was)).

I was in awe and completely consumed with this transforming grace and mercy that had been bestowed on me.  I couldn't and still can't believe He has revealed himself to me and given me life.  I remember being baptized in 2009 and the few days following the smile on my face was bigger than the day I got married.  I had never experienced anything like it and prayed reverently not to loose the feeling and awesomeness of the situation.  But I did, I did loose it.  Actually, I didn't loose it I tossed it by the wayside.

I realized that I had lost my 'awe' of the Lord this past Thanksgiving.  I allowed life and circumstances to consume my emotions not Him.

Since then, I have prayed and asked the Lord to restore or give it back or something ... just help me find my 'awe' of Him again ...

I kept thinking that it would be this big aha moment, but it wasn't and it isn't going to be.

Instead He gives me small moments, tiny seconds in life that He whispers to me and says this ... this is me loving you ... this is me saving you ... this is me redeeming you ... this is me restoring to you what was lost/taken ... this is me Hope, the "I am" loving you.

I have had a few awe moments recently.  I have to share these things, these moments ... because I want to be real and genuine with my faith.  

The first was when I was dressing Izzy up as a princess for a birthday party she was invited too.  We took the time for hair, lip gloss, the perfect dress, shoes, gloves, crown and a white cape!  When she was ready she said "momma can I twirl?" No mother would ever nor could ever say no to that ... so I said "Yes, of course you can sweets and go show daddy."  She choose to stay in the room with me for a 'first glance' .... When she grabbed her dress on both sides and twirled,  it was as if we were in a movie in slow motion.  I truly saw her twirl up to a girl in a prom dress and a lady in a white gown about to walk the aisle and back to this precious belle of the ball.  The air was sucked out of the room... there was a lump in my throat tears in my eyes and my heart was beating so loud it sounded like drums. My heart ached and leapt for joy all at the same time ... it was the day she was born all over again.  One foot in heaven rejoicing at the awesome and wonderful gift that she was yet one foot in hell at the grief that had to come in order for her to be mine.  ((that's another story on a much early blog post in 2011 or 2012)) She is so beautiful yet will be gone and on her own in the blink of an eye.

 The Lord gave me a glimpse of Him, there is no reason I should be her mom but I am, because of Him.  He orchestrated my life in a way that she was my daughter ... through pain and turmoil and what felt like an endless grief ... I am her momma.  Me, I am it.  He bestowed the greatest privilege on me when he put her in my arms.  I fell to me knees in awe of Him.  Who else would love me that much?

There have been other times as well too many to document here.  Except for today, I have to write about today.  There are no words really to describe the magic.  It was a snow day, a day that she didn't have to go to preschool we just stayed home and played and ate and went outside in the snow.

However, there were times today that she would say 'momma' I replied with yes, 'I love you momma' and blow me a kiss.  There were other times when I was the recipient of instruction on what her babies and her 'friends' needed, for the record yes I did meet the demands.  There were moments that I caught a side glimpse of her and my breath stopped at her beauty and innocence of the world around her.

How could I not be in awe of a holy God, who continues to grab me out of deep dark emotional turmoil.  How could I not be in awe of a God who showers me with love through a precious daughter and friends and family.  How could I not be in awe of a God who opens the eyes of my heart and reveals His word to me so that I may understand it and teach it to her. 

How can I not stay in awe of the Lord every second of every day for the rest of my life? Because if I were to die this moment He has been better to me than I ever deserved and has shown me more grace and mercy than any human would ever be capable of ...

I realized that my awe of Him is a choice.  I can burden my mind with the things of this world or I can focus my mind on Him, His word and stand in awe of a holy God who deserves nothing less than my wholehearted worship with every task on hand and every breath I take.
I don't think we will ever truly stand in AWE of Him until our bodies fail us this side of heaven and we bow down at His feet unworthy to be called His and unworthy to worship Him in heaven for all eternity. 
For now though, I will revel in the moments He gives me and be in AWE of just how much He loves me. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Wife's Prayer

I recently came across a poem/prayer that I think is worth sharing with the world.  I have no idea of the author, nor which women's conference, marriage conference or Bible study it came from other than something I attended at Denton Bible Church.  I hope that someone out there will enjoy this and use it as a guide to love their husbands ...


Let me be his sunshine when the skies are dark and gray.                                                                                                              
 Let me be his comfort when he’s had a long hard day.
Let me be his shelter when winds are harsh and cold.
Let me be submissive when the rest on earth are bold.
Let me be his pillow when he’s tired and needs a rest.
Let me be assuring when he’s facing some hard test.
Let me listen softly when the world is pressing in.
Let me understand when no one else can comprehend.
Let me walk beside him when he needs to have a friend.
Let me sing sweet music when his heart’s without a song.
Let me be his living joy, every moment all day long.


Thursday, December 4, 2014


Should we only accept good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?’ Job 1:10
I have a confession to make, I am ungrateful! <I am sure that is no surprise to some who know me well>

Recently, during the Thanksgiving holiday I was reading several posts on Facebook.  Some people were posting something they were thankful for every day.  Some waited until the day of Thanksgiving and posted their ‘thankful list’.  Some even posted their ‘thankful list’ the day after.  Honestly, I wanted to post and several times I started only to delete which lead me to do some soul searching.  More specifically I wanted to know what my motivation was in posting a ‘thankful list’.

I wondered what was I truly thankful for? What was I most grateful to God for?  Then my mind started a war against me and … won’t people see me as ‘un-American’ or even ‘un-Christian’ because I don’t have some tremendous list of how GOOD everything and everyone in my life is or has been over the past year? Shouldn’t I of all people (Christian who has been trained and who has been discipled) be grateful for something and share it with the entire world?  Yet, even knowing and experiencing that kind of amazing grace and mercy I could not bring myself to share a thankful list on facebook or even a blog post.

It’s because deep down inside I have realized over the past week that I am an ungrateful, self righteous brat of a child of God.

‘Should we only accept good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?’ Job 1:10

Here is the thing ‘thankful list’ I didn’t see on facebook:

Lord, I am thankful that I lost my job.  My spouse walked out on me.  My family is so broken there will never be reconciliation.  Lord, I am thankful that I have a rebellious child.  I am thankful my child has disabilities.  I am thankful that I don’t have enough money to survive.  Lord, I am thankful that I have an uncontrollable addiction.  Lord, I am grateful that I don’t have any family to speak of.  Lord, I am grateful that my heart is breaking.  Lord, I am grateful that my 3 year old will not sleep through the night.  Lord, I am grateful for a baby with colic.  Lord, I am grateful for the flu.  Lord, thank you for this temptation in my life . . .

I often want to Praise God and Thank Him for all things and people that make me comfortable.  I have never once thanked Him for having to park at the very end of a parking lot in the pouring rain. I did not thank Him for infertility.  I did not thank Him for the major life transition of relocation. I have not thanked Him for the loss of a dear friend.  I have not thanked Him for the inconveniences and sufferings and pains of my life.  Instead I have shaken my fist and raised my voice to a Holy God asking Him why? Or what more do you want from me? I have responded to those whom He loves dearly and has placed in my life such as my husband, daughter, family and other friends with impatience sighs and hateful tones. 

I am ungrateful.

‘Should we only accept good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?’ Job 1:10

I have pondered these things and I can honestly say that if it were not for the prompting of the Holy Spirit I would not even put this in a blog.  When I read these words myself and know them to be true about me I am ashamed.

The first sign of trouble or pain in my life my first response is always God please take this … not God please help me.  You see I am convinced that I should be treated like royalty.  I should not suffer.  I should not experience pain.  I should not be inconvenienced in anyway.  All of my desires and all of my wants should be so. And just to keep up with the Pharisees, all of this should be solely because I am a Christian aren’t we as Jesus followers entitled to a pain free life?  

‘Should we only accept good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?’ Job 1:10

King Solomon wrote in the book of Ecclesiastes that there was a time and season for everything.  So grieve when we have to grieve and laugh when we can, but in the midst of or soon after shouldn’t we Thank God for whatever it was?  Shouldn’t we hold on to His promises of good? His provisions are constant, His grace and mercy never ending?

  My pastor said it best this past Sunday while preaching from Deuteronomy 8, “being in the wilderness ((aka suffering, pain, great loss)) leaves you utterly dependent upon Him! His faithfulness for your provision is proved over and over and over again”.

A grateful child of the Lord would or could have a ‘thankful list’ that reads something like this . . .

Lord, I am thankful for every bad choice you allowed me to make because those lead me here on my knees in a relationship with you.  Thank you for your amazing grace and mercy. 

Lord, I am thankful for the infertility that you allowed in our life.  Because of that I am now the parent of a beautiful brown eye, curly hair, bubbly chatting totally over dramatic 3year old who loves baby Jesus and her favorite color is red.

Lord, I am thankful that my parents divorced and reconciled after many years because of that I got to see how love is redemptive.  How when Joseph told his brothers in the book of Genesis what they meant for evil you Lord turned to good. 

Lord, I am grateful that my husband has to travel for weeks at the time to lands that are dangerous so that he can have a few moments with someone who might not have ever heard about Jesus and the grace and mercy that salvation offers.

Lord, I am thankful for a nephew who struggles physically and emotionally.  Because of those odds that were stacked against him he will be 20 his next birthday.  He has out lived the earthly doctors by 17 years by your hand you have provided this.

Lord, I am thankful for the mom’s who are tired and irritated and emotionally exhausted from parenting toddlers all day.  I am grateful that they have children who won’t sleep through the night.  They are my hero’s when they are willing to be transparent and share their strategies.

Lord, I am thankful for a husband who may not be everything portrayed in a ‘chick flick’ or romance novel.  I am thankful that he forgets the ‘little things’ that may be important to me because it keeps him from becoming an idol of worship in my life and reminds me that you ultimately are my husband, the bridegroom.

Lord, I am thankful that you took my dear friend/brother home with you this year.  He was tired; he was beaten down emotionally and physically. Those two precious children who have felt abandoned and orphaned are now forced to realize that you Lord are their one and only Father. 

Lord, you know I struggle with this one more than most, I am learning to be grateful that you moved me from Texas and some of my dearest and most precious friends.  I had become dependent on them to lead me and not you.

God, himself pointed Job out to Satan.  God allowed Satan to take away everything and almost everyone in his life.  The most wealthiest and righteous man of his day Job was literally stripped of everything earthly.  He was left with his faith in the Lord.  After the significant loss of their children and wealth Job’s wife does what most any other mother/wife would say or do … I can imagine a woman standing before a broken man and saying ‘Are you still trying to maintain your integrity? Why don’t you curse God and die’ Job1:9

Job replies:  ‘You talk foolish woman.  Should we only accept good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?’ Job 1:10

“Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words?” Job 38:1

God’s wisdom for my good far surpasses anything good I could imagine. 

This year I am most thankful for deep pain, the kind that you can feel your heart shatter into a thousand pieces;   the kind of pain that brings inconsolable cries and anguishes in your gut.  Yes, I am thankful for that because it means that I can and will experience the exact opposite.  I am capable and have experienced on occasion a perfect love.  A love so deep and so peaceful that all I could do was cry inconsolable with a smile on my face.

This next year I will prayerfully learn to be grateful.

‘Should we only accept good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?’ Job 1:10

Monday, November 10, 2014

3 years and counting . . .

I am so late on sharing 'sweets' 3rd birthday party.  I can honestly say that, I now know how 'life just happens and takes over the best laid plans. 

Our 'sweets' turned 3 this past August.  She remains the joy and delight of our heart and truly a beacon of hope in this dark world.  Through her eyes we have found new in the old.  We have been awestruck in the mundane things of life.  We have learned how to truly 'face time' with each other.  We have a home filled with all things pink and blingy not to mention toys that go 'bump' in the night.  Currently we are running through the hallway running from 'scary monsters' (aka Lucy, the lazy lab). 

She adores her friends at Sunday School and preschool.  Her cousins Sari and Unlce Steeb (Sara & Stephen) make her feel like a true celebrity at school.  She has mastered dance moves from Sophia and Gay Gay.  Red is her favorite color (thanks D!) Every night when we say prayers she always starts with her Gaga, Grammie, Papa D, Grimps, Nana, Pa and all my families.  If daddy forgets someone or Papa D's 'animeals- then he asks for forgiveness and prays for them too.

Curious George is obviously the cartoon of choice and has been for almost 6 months now.  Rightfully so since our 'sweets' is just as curious.  Mac and Cheese is a staple food at our house but not the only one . . . she loves her some bacon! :-)

One of mine and the hubs favorite past times is standing outside of her door and listening to her sing and read stories to all of her friends (stuffed animals and baby dolls).  We hear the people that influence her life the most through her imitation of them (thank you Mrs. Page and Mrs. Julie).  She has hymns and books memorized, yes I said memorized at 3 years old! In these moments, our hearts are truly full of adoration and love.  We are humbled in an instant at the goodness and faithfulness of our Lord for gifting us with such a spectacular daughter!

We are amazed daily at her discovery of life and the way objects work and people behave.  We have become more and more intent as parents to de-clutter our schedule and home of 'things' (or time suckers as I like to refer to them) in order to give her our time and attention.  We both have about 1,000 + pictures and videos on our smart phones (a year, so you do the math on that one!) trying our absolute best to capture every single moment we can of her. 

In three years we have seen the never stopping, never giving up, always and forever LOVE of Jesus in and through her life.  Yet, in our sinful human nature we still question and doubt Him at times.  There have been struggles and losses in these three short years that we will probably never have answers too this side of Heaven.  When we think she is perfect, the Lord quickly reminds us that she is a GIFT from Him, not an idol to be worshipped.  She is in desperate need of grace, mercy, forgiveness and patience just like us on a moment to moment basis.

Because of our story, I do have to share there are moments when I see facial expressions of the 'hubs' or she perfectly imitates a family member.  Then there are moments when I see a flash of her birthmother's face and I have to be honest, those moments use to be hard for me.  Those moments would take me back to a dark place in my memory of the grief of infertility. I would either grieve all over again, I could feel the physical pain of heartbreak from the day she was born.  We didn't know whether to celebrate our new parenthood or grieve the loss of the birth mom. But God . . . in His mercy for me has helped me come to a place of rejoicing when I see those birth family traits.  Because without them . . . I wouldn't be a mom.  The Lord does replace the years that the locust have eaten. (Joel 2:25), He does turn ashes to beauty (Isaiah 61:3) He is faithful to return evil to good (Genesis 50:19-21).

Therefore, since we have a daily reminder that we were ADOPTED into the kingdom of GOD.  HE choose us.  HE loved us first.  We are ALL made in HIS image.  We do not focus on the loss.  We pray for ourselves and birth families and adopted families everywhere for the Lord to be glorified through the joy and trials of this path in life.

Everyday is a 'birthday' for our household.  We still take time and people for granted, but if we and when we take the time to listen intently to our Lord, HE reminds us He is here with us always and forever.

We have been blessed beyond measure.  We want to tell of His glories riches! This is part of the reason we share our story. God is ALWAYS faithful, even and especially when we are not.

1 Samuel 1:27 'this is the child we prayed for . . . and the Lord heard our plea'

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

About a boy . . .

I often tell him the same story time and time again, hoping one day he will actually 'get it' . . . today I will share the story with you.

Let's back up about nine months from today twenty years ago.  My sister Ginny and her husband Keith announced they were going to have a baby, meaning that I was going to be an aunt! YAY for me!!!! I had been so blessed by the many aunts in my life this was the roll I had been waiting for ... or destined for! In other words to say that I was over the moon happy was quiet an understatement.  A few months into Ginny's pregnancy she and Keith invited me to a doctor's appointment for an ultrasound.

  ITS A BOY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 I think I suffered significant hearing loss from Keith's scream of joy and excitement! ;-) My thoughts were 'let the spoiling begin'.  November 4, 1994 I worked third shift in the ER, I got a call from my momma that Ginny was in labor and to come to Florence ASAP.  So sleepless me showered and went and waited and waited and waited.  The entire family was there grandma's, great grandma's, papa's, aunts, uncles, cousins an overflow of friends all anticipating his arrival.  We should have known from the start he wasn't going to like big crowds ... because he kept us waiting refusing to cooperate with his momma and the doctors.  The labor became complicated, he and Ginny were in distress and within a matter of seconds Keith looked like a blue mummy, my mother was inconsolable and Ginny was humming 'three blind mice' while being wisked away to a cold sterile operating room. The minutes felt like hours . . . prayers were being said quietly and loudly.  Some were on their knees   crying out to the Lord for the life of mom and baby.  I remember feeling sick to my stomach, my hands were cold and my face was hot. 

Then ... BAM! Keith kicked the doors opened and was holding the most precious and perfect BIG BLUE eyed little bundle of boy.  He was the most handsome thing I had ever seen in all my life.  At that moment seeing Keith hold him and his eyes as wide as quarters I was hooked.  That was the moment my heart was opened to a love I had never known ... as far as I was concerned.  He was the most perfect being this side of heaven and all mine for the spoiling. 

Dalton Michael Smith Robinson, born November 5, 1994, to Keith and Ginny Robinson. 

All of our lives were changed that day, for the better.  He was the reason I maxed our credit cards and rearranged work schedules.  I learned about fire trucks, hot wheels, talking dogs, bikes that could jump a mud puddle higher than anything I had ever seen.  There really were 'bad guys' in the woods and he and his trusty dawg 'pup' had everything under control, the family would be kept safe!  Summers spent with me away from family were filled with adventures to all sorts of places, we even saw 'starsky and hutch' in Idaho Falls!  I have been accused of messing up his 'love life' by asking too many questions of too many little girls (all under the age of 10!).  I found new and inventive ways to use duct tape!  I heard a voice change from a soft spoken fun loving little boy to a deep growl of a tough guy.   He has been faced with decisions and challenges that most middle aged men couldn't handle. He has grown from a small bundle of blue eyes to a tall handsome young man. 

This is my story about a boy who is loved beyond measure.  A boy who was 'perfectly and wonderfully made in his mother's womb' Psalm 139.  A boy made in the image of the Lord for HIS purpose and HIS plan.  A boy that the Lord delights in and laughs over him (Zephaniah 3:17)

One day maybe,  he will look back on this and he will 'get it'. One day maybe, he will call me and tell me about his boy.  Until that day, I will settle for him calling me Hopey and I will call him D and that is who we will always be.

I will always be his 'Hopey'.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

My Chains are gone . . .

I have sat down many many times over the past year or so and started several blog posts, yet found myself not actually posting.

Now, tonight I am compelled to sit in the quiet and remember and write.

I pray that what the Lord has impressed upon my heart to share here in 'blogosphere' will somehow reach a hurting heart and give them hope; maybe even peace to a broken spirit; or if the Lord so sees fit, may he cause a lost soul to surrender to the cross of Jesus. 

“There is no pit so deep, that God's love is not deeper still.” Corrie Ten Boom

September 7, 2014

My (ex) brother in law Keith Robinson passed away.  Leaving behind my beloved nephew Dalton, my beautiful niece Gracey.  His mom and sibling's and nieces. Lastly, he left behind my sister whom he loved here on this earth until his death.  Since his death I have pondered what happens in heaven and I believe that Keith loves them still.

I was able to speak at his memorial service and the following is what I said all encompassing.  I say that because I left parts out not intentionally but I was just unable to form the words.

"My chains are gone I have been set free my God my Savior has ransomed me and like a flood His mercy reigns unending love AMAZING GRACE..." ~ Chris Tomlin (Amazing Grace - My chains are gone)

John 10:28
'I give them eternal life and they will never perish and no one will snatch them out of my hand.'

Only God knows the heart of a man ...

If  Keith were here today he would tell ya'll that he knew I would have something to say and I do.  Let me start by saying that he was more than a brother in law to me he was my friend.  I lovingly referred to him as 'noodle'  mostly because of his curly hair. 

I remember a time in Keith's life where he was committed to the Lord, I saw a different Keith.  Now, looking back I know that what I was actually seeing was a true repentant heart.  Keith had made a decision to turn from  his choices of self destruction and was making a concerted effort to live his life according to God's word.

He and Ginny were married and soon after came Dalton, the joy and delight of his life.  However, life was not without challenges and struggles.  A few years down the road Gracey was born, a daddy's girl right from the start.  Choices were being made and the consequences were devastating for the children, their marriage had ended.

Romans 3:23-24
'for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. And are justified by his grace as a gift through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.'

Being Keith's sister in law I had the awesome privilege to be there for some really big moments in his life.  I got to hear the news of their engagement first and see the ring.  I was in the room when the ultrasound was done and they found out their first born was a son! I was the first to see Keith's face beaming with pride as he brought Dalton out of the delivery room.  I remember seeing him after Gracey was born and noticed that there was a suttle but obvious softness about him.  He fell in love with her.  Keith had a big heart and tried really hard to keep up a tough exterior.

Only God knows the heart of a man ... 

I also had the near death experience of riding with him and Brady when they thought that it would be fun to try and drag race Brady's pick up truck in the yard.  That was not fun for me but he and Brady thought it was great!

I came home one afternoon and he and my cousin Mikey had figured out how to make a sleigh out of the hood of an old yellow bus, Keith's old blue pick up and some rope.  Mind you there was no snow . . . but man did we have fun.

I always knew Keith loved me.  He accepted me as he did everyone else, for who we were.  He never asked us to change never demanded anything from anyone.  My relationship with him was bittersweet... I could love him and hate him in the same moment for the choices he made and the consequences that followed. 

Ephesians 2:8
'For by grace you have been saved through faith and this is not your own doing it is the gift of God.'

Every person in this room and that you see around the world is a SOUL to our Lord Jesus.  We were ALL created in the image of God by God.  Genesis 1:27

Psalm 139 tells us that we were each created perfectly and wonderfully and that there is no where on this earth that we can run from God.  He sees when we sit and when we stand.  We cannot know the thoughts of God because they outnumber the grains of sand.

Many of us may be looking back on his life and see the grief and pain of consequences to his choices and how they have affected those closest to him.  We may find ourselves thinking it was a wasted life.

Oh, but NOONE knows the heart of a man but God.

Some of you may be familiar with the story of Job in the Bible.  He was a righteous man and God allowed great suffering and pain to fall upon him through the hands of Satan.  He lost everything, his family and material possessions.  He had some great friends who tried to console him and offer an explanation as to why God allowed all of this devastating tragedy. Then Job himself questioned God.  I love God's response . . .

Job 38:1-2
 'then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: Who is this that darkens my counsel by words without knowledge'

Who am I to question why God allows a torturous spirit to fall upon a man, and allow destruction at every turn of a soul that he loves.  Who am I to think that I shall not be sifted like wheat is one of us here greater than another in the eyes of the Lord?

Only God knows the heart of a man . . .

Anyone who knew Keith knew this ... he loved my sister, he loved his kids and he loved his family.  This was affirmed again as I walked into his room Sunday night.  There was scarcely an inch of wall space in his room that did not have a photograph of Dalton, Gracey, Ginny, his mom, siblings and nieces.  He kept cards from them by his bed.  He had handmade treasures from the kids for Father's Day.  He didn't just stop loving her on Sunday, he stopped loving them. ((*what was not mentioned at the service but those close to us knew is that Keith had made his arrangements two years ago due to an impending surgery.  His only request at his service was that George Jones 'He Stopped Loving Her Today' be played.  It was truly a haunting experience to see those lyrics actually come to life in his room))

A few years ago I saw a truly repentant heart and life in Keith.  We all fall short of the glory of God, we all sin.  No sin is greater than another sin in God's eyes.  We humans are the ones who have made one sin greater than another sin in that substance addiction is greater than food addiction or social media addiction.  We all cope in different ways with all of life's challenges, life is hard BUT God is good.

The good news, wonderful news is that while we were/are still sinners God sent his only son to die on a cross for our sins so that we may have eternal life with him in heaven when our earthly bodies give out.  If Keith was the only person on earth God loved him so much that he still would have sent Jesus to die for him for his sins.  Keith believed that, he trusted that.

John 3:16
'for God so loved the whole world that he gave his only son so that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.'

If you are here, or in this case reading this and you have not put your trust and faith in the Lord, I would like to encourage you to do so.  It's a simpler prayer.  Confess your sins to God and ask him to forgive you to save you and he will.

Because, only God knows the heart of a man.  Keith's chains are gone now, he has been set free, His God and Savior has ransomed him.  'like a flood His mercy reigns unending love, amazing grace' -Chris Tomlin