Tag Archives: healing

Hope: Defiant Reliance on God Keeping His Word

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We have known the deep abyss of fear, yet hope has not for one minutes been far away. Why? Because we believe in the power of prayer. The faith of a mustard seed at times but God has always moved mountains. He is sure. Steadfast. Immovable. The mindset of hope on our knees shifts we “hope” so to “belief” in the assurance of God almighty as THE power greater than ourselves.

On our knees our view is heavenward where God the Father sees and knows the best for us- His view broader, wider and deeper than our minds can comprehend. And “by faith” we entrust, rest in every promise, settle in to the rhythm of His faithfulness over our lifetime and put one foot in front of the other believing in His love for His children.

Hope- a longing, a wanting, trust in what is unseen, yet we “feel” the very presence of love

Hope- an aspiration, desire, wish, expectation, ambition, aim, goal, plan, design, a dream

We make our plans. God directs our path.

Within the design of hope, we plant our feet in what is unseen and trust that the step in solid, steady and trustworthy

Hope-

-to cherish a desire with

anticipation

-to want something to happen or be

true

-to dream

-to believe without wavering

Hope-Full

Hope has permeated every prayer, conversation, conjecture of a future and in our dreams and plans there would never be a moment where we backed down.

For over three weeks now we have held tight to hope because the God we place our hope in holds us stronger and never loses grip- no matter how faithless we are in our hopes and dreams for a beautiful future for my sister.

To lose hope places a pause in the active work of God and we must not waver but pray always in faith BELIEVING!!

Today my sister has made a most amazing turn for the good. Not one culture that was taken was positive became the cause for the diagnosis.

Encephalopathy- an inflammation of the fluid around the brain that became infected. This beast, a self-limiting virus, likely became stronger than her weakened immune system could handle after a 9 day hospital stay for a GI Bleed.

She is a fighter. Resilient. Brave. And I have never been more proud of my little sister.

Words do not often fail me- But this has truly tested he fact that at times my inability to fully describe the angst and stirring in my heart….. The pursuit of hope often wavered but finding hope for Claudia superseded ANYTHING that I needed and will remain a worthy pursuit to keep hope alive in her!!

So often the very day the words fail to be found, the poetic painter of pictures with words, enables this heart to settle into its rhythm.

Beautiful words about hope in this time of Advent~ as we await and renew our alive again at the reminder of the coming of the promised Messiah- Jesus Christ.

Wonderful. Counselor. Mighty God. Prince of Peace.

🕊Peace 🕊Peace 🕊Peace

Words of hope at this day’s end~

Thank you Ann VosKamp for painting my world today with hope.

I rise today with the “thrill of unwavering knowing” Yes!!

“What gives us Hope if not God and who is the source of Hope if not our Savior?

Making up hope isn’t our job.

Hope is God’s job and our job is to trust that God’s making Hope.

That God’s making a way, because He is The Way.

Let the weary world rise with the thrill of the unwavering knowing:

When we’re tempted to fill with despair, Hope whispers that God will fulfill His promises.

When it feels like life is a setup to let you down, we will whisper it to ourselves like a resuscitation:

Hope is not the belief that things will turn out well, but the belief God is working through all things, no matter how things turn out.

And when we get karate kicked in the esophagus by life and it hurts to breathe, we will be the

Remembering People who retrace it slow again, how Hope works:

Hope fiercely promises to meet us in hard things now — because we fiercely trust God’s promise to make all things new.

You see: Hope is a defiant reliance on God keeping His Word.

The winds and the days may rage and the blaze of things may leave you feeling charred, but now is the time for faith to rise like a phoenix from ashes and we will:

Hold on to His Word for all you’re worth — because His Word is what proves God is trustworthy.

And when you know God is trustworthy — you know today is worthy of Hope.

When your bones know God ultimately makes good on His promises — that’s good enough reason for hope to burn in your bones.

As long as you still are, all is not lost. Being is hope, and hope is presence, and this present moment is a gift pulsing with hope.

Feel it even now:

Hope doesn’t promise success to the strong, but resurrection to the wrecked. Because success isn’t the virtue that will remain. Love, Joy and Hope are. So we will make those three that will remain, always our main thing.

Feel it especially now:

Like muscles, Hope is made by rising, again and again, lifting the weight of dark that’s conspiring to flatten us with the strength of His promises that’s certain to carry us.

Advent is learning how hope works and you can feel the warming light of the main thing that matters:

Hope is not some elusive lottery ticket for the lucky, but hope is the fiery torch the faithful raise in a life-grip to burn back the ugly face of the dark so they can see their promised land —

and the welcoming face of God.” ~Ann VosKamp

May hope surround you this night and for all of your tomorrows.

Lead Me Beside Still Waters

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There are days of doubt and fear when we pray…… unending, unrelenting, breathing prayer without ever saying a word out loud.

Praying in faith believing over the several weeks previous to this day’s end, have been made up of bold, believing shouts out loud to God prayers. With every opportunity, I have prayed with authority from the many years of deeply rooted truths from God’s Word written in my heart.

Tonight, there are prayers from a hospital room and an unexpected twist along this journey. How incredibly amazing that the hospital television has an entire “Healing Content”, get-well network, filled with beautiful photos and the ambient sounds of relaxing and restful places.

After Monty left tonight and I was settling in alongside of my sister, I chose for us the quiet of a trickling forest creek in hopes for her to rest peacefully through the night.

As the display of beauty and sound began to play, I adjusted the volume on the TV remote, placed it by her head and listened closely to her every breath as I watched her chest rise and fall.

We have had a most eventful and hard day. While there is still so much that we do not know, watching her sleep peacefully and breathe so perfectly soothes a bit of the anxious that rises up in me every now and then.

All that I CAN do for her is wait WITH her, focus my requests toward heaven and gather every ounce of strength that I have to speak truth over the darkness of the unknown…..

In these quiet moments, there is a strong sense of abiding union with the Lord. Whole as one. So much more than being held but a blanket of cover known only in the presence of the Holy Spirit’s bridled power spread deep and wide with enduring, unwavering love and care. So sweetly tender. Moment by moment awakening in the unseen work of God’s hand and I can feel it deep in my soul.

Known.

Not Alone.

Loved.

Every now and then the tears well up in my lower eyelids- right up to the edge and so very close to spilling out. Even this small heart dares to blink as a sign of conceding to defeat in the midst of this battle. #warrior #child #sister #caregiver

The waiting. That movement of God in my heart that reminds me— to hold on to and know full-well that God is greater.

He is able.

He is healer.

I watch a tear trickle from just inside the corner of Claudia’s eye. Our prayers have been steadfast and she is worthy of every petition that has been prayed and tenderly sifted through the hands of “The One” who sits at the right hand of God enthroned.

“…. our comfort in suffering is this: YOUR promises (God) renew our lives.” Psalm 119:50

I wipe away her tear and begin to breathe heavenward with each breath every promise that God brings to remembrance.

For every one of you that has prayed, we are so grateful. We are expectant and believing nothing less than this to be an opportunity for His glory to be displayed in her life. How it will bring honor to God— this we WILL tell!!

I continue to sing in my heart God’s Word and His promises over her as we settle in to the late night and into the early morning rhythm of another day if the Lord wills for answers.

Rescue.

Promise.

Restoration.

Lord, you promise that You are my (her) ever-present help in trouble…

You promise that Your grace is more than sufficient for my (her) every need…

You assure that you will never leave or forsake me (her)….

You promise to be the One who will go out and fight for me (her)….

With every promise my heart beats strong for her….

The book of Joshua tells me that you will be with me (her) wherever I (she) goes…..

You promise you are a refuge for the oppressed, and a stronghold in times of trouble…

You say You will counsel me (her) and watch over me (her), and guide me (her)by Your righteous right hand…

You’ll sustain me (her)and be my (her) mighty fortress…

You invite me (her) to cast my (her) cares on You, for You will never let me (her) fall…

Your name is a strong tower, and as the righteous run into it, they are safe…..

Jesus, You tell me I’m (SHE IS) SAFE….

In the sacred moments—

TRUTH spoke the depths of our darkness into light and became the presence of hope that I hold on tight to FOR her….

In the gap….

In the quiet…

In these moments…

While the whole world kept moving right outside of the door and not one thing regarding the circumstances have changed….

Truth. Set. Free.

The pain in my heart was and is still throbbing, but my courage has been renewed by truth for a road neither of us would have chosen. I am assured that no matter how old I get, in His sovereignty, God still allows me new opportunities along my faith journey that may stretch my heart. I am assured that they will always lead me on a path of promise and hope. The reminder that no matter how tough I think I am, it is the power of God that gives us the strength for every enduring moment we may face.

No. Matter. What.

I am smiling so fully inside. Actually I am STILL smiling all over the outside too!!

At some point my sister’s nurse came into the room- which I did not realize. She told me later that she paused but then left because I was typing and the smile on my face was not what she had seen previously and she wanted me to smile out loud for as long as that smile might possibly last.

Why?

Because the blessing of hope was no longer shadowed by my pursed lips and furrow on my brow but a smile secured by real faith- You know the kind of faith that wrangles through things with the Lord and is ultimately what real courage is made up of.

Courage that finds its position bowed low and giving thanks in ALL things!

Grrrrrr…… She so busted me!

An exhausting journey for so many reasons but it has not been because it is TOO hard.

Life is always moving and we all get weary for ALL of the right reasons. You know it is true.

With every Bible verse inwardly spoken over Claudia tonight came an infusion of life-giving blood into our spiritual veins.

In the quiet and stillness, the sweetness of God has revealed Himself as an ever present and perfectly available Savior.

“In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help… He heard my voice….” Psalm 18:6

Wow. Just wow!

Ann VosKamp says it this way—

“Don’t ask me how it works, or how the Holy Spirit does it, but when we DO the Word – actually DO it — something splits the seams of heaven and pours out a shower of blessings.”

This I know—

Ankle deep in my humanity. Light broke through and overpowered the darkness tonight just as it did in that small stable in Bethlehem so very long ago!

This is where our hope lies. #thecoming #advent

Come Lord Jesus Come

At this day’s end……

God In The Waiting Places

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God In The Waiting Places

Hurry is the death of prayer.

Rick Warren

What does it mean to station yourself before God as in the graphic scripture?

“It means stay put. It means, “I’m not moving.” It means, “I’m going to be still. I’m going to sit here and I am not going to move until I hear from you, God.” Rick Warren

Do you live your life revved up? Yep- me too!

How do you put the brakes on and slow down?

For the last 15, almost 16 years, we have lived life in the fast lane. It most assuredly has lived up to its mantra- guaranteed to blow your mind.

At MRO we joke~ the race waits on no one!

Monty and I have faced a Goliath of late. SCAD- spontaneous coronary artery dissection. In laymen’s terms, a tear in the lining of an artery in the heart.

The race waited on no one. We would miss two recent races dues to search for a more definitive answer and as well to determine the fate of our coming days.

God allows us moments of still and wait….. even though the race goes on. Right?

So how do we slow down when we live fully enthralled with excitement of the hustle and hurry?

Where is the time to calm our minds by relaxing our bodies?

Can you remember the last time that you took a deep breath relaxed your muscles and let the tension drain out?

Yep. Me either. Until the weekends of Pocono and Watkins Glen this month we were trudging alongside of every heart that we serve.

The Bible says David sat before the Lord. Some people think you have to kneel in prayer, and that is one of many appropriate ways to pray; but it’s not the most common way of praying in the Bible.

The most common form of praying in the Bible is standing with your eyes wide open looking up to heaven and talking out loud to God.

And as for Monty and I, we have learned a new posture of prayer over the last few weeks.

Jehoshaphat was a good King. He battled opposition and once he cried out to God for wisdom and help.

“Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.”….

Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of His holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:

“Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.”

“As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the enemies and they were defeated….. the fear of God came on all the surrounding kingdoms when they heard how the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel. And the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for His God had given him rest on every side.” 2 Chronicles 20

Rest. The wait expectant. Prayer.

You see when Jehoshaphat was surrounded on either side, he “bowed down with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the Lord.”

POur new position of prayer would become one of bowed face and heart to the ground in surrender and worship.

When ones literal bridge between life and death is the heart’s beat you get seriously receptive to surrender and gratitude in the face of the eternal.

This would be a time when the woman of many words would bow low, face to the ground in prayer for the complete of her- her beloved.

There were no flowery poetic words necessary. Not one complete sentence was prayed. Just my sincere heart groaning and everyday conversation with Abba Father for 36 more years to love and so life with this man to whom I have been blessed to call my own. The surrender comes when like any conversation, I stop talking and listen and ~wait to hear from God.

Praises stirred in this heart as God brought to remembrance the good. The good that has historically outweighed the bad and with head bowed low, I rested in God’s perfect plan for our lives.

I am reminded today that David teaches us three things to do as you wait:

*  Wait quietly — “Let all that I am wait quietly before God, because my hope is in him” Psalm 62:5

*  Wait patiently — “Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act” Psalm 37:7a
* Wait expectantly “I wait expectantly, trusting God to help, for he has promised” Psalm 130:5

And this is so important:

To pray believing is to expect to hear from God!

Waiting is truly the faith factor. We wait expectantly, and waiting on God is never a waste of time. In fact, it’s some of the best time you will ever invest in your lives!!
Jehoshaphat led the people of Israel and he taught them to pray and praise to win the victory.

Time would tell that no matter the outcome, God was still faithful and our faith should never be dependent on the outcome.

Life altering. Life changing circumstances does not ever change our position going into battle no matter the faith battle we face.

Prayer.

Praise.

Worship.

Victory.

“The fear of God came on all the surrounding kingdoms when they heard how the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel. And the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for His God had given him rest on every side.”

Rest. On. Every. Side.

Peace above the circumstances.

Praise Him unto victory.

Rest that God is with us. He is for us and not against us.

Jehoshaphat lived out his days and did right in the eyes of the Lord.

A worthy pursuit. God has a beautiful way about Himself in that He knows the number of our days.

Sometimes we gain the view in light of eternity. We learn to trust and praise Him in the storm and are compelled to tell of the things we learn that change the coarse of our days.

Sometimes we get a second chance for life not because we cheat death but because God uses our lives to tell HIS story through our story.

History Defined:

1. the branch of knowledge dealing with past events

2. a continuous, systematic narrative of past events as relating to a particular people, country, period, person, etc., usually written as a chronological account; chronicle

So we bow our heads to the ground and we worship God. We thank Him for more time to share our narrative of life and living.

Quietly we wait.
Patiently we trust.

Faithfully He finds us.

He lifts our face to His and we know what it is to be found by love.

With expectant hearts, we wait assured that we are not in this battle alone but surrounded held by a power and presence that is good, merciful, gracious and faithful.

Until the next waiting place……we praise.

There will always be that tomorrow that we cannot know or control. So the Lord uses these moments to teach us to number our days.

Thank You God for being true to who you are.

“Find me grateful

Find me thankful

Find me on my knees

Find me dreaming

Find me singing

Find me lost in Your grace

Fill the depths of my soul

Till all I know is I’ve been

Found by love

Find me grateful

Find me thankful

Find me on my knees

Find me dreaming

Find me singing

Find me lost in Your grace”

Jonathan and Melissa Helser

Make-and-Take Class Idea: Therapeutic Hot/Cold Pack Sock

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Looking for support for those achy places? What I love most about living the simply essential life is that you can do simple things and experience great outcomes with little to no time and always inexpensive.

How have you incorporated Young Living Essential Oils into your life?

My advise: Learn one new thing every day and before long, you will be the ones giving advise to friends and family.

P. S. I found sock just like these at The Dollar Tree!! Yep. One buck. Grab the rice while there too, add the essential oil of choice and voila! Instant Happy!! Of course, you can always use an old sock that you already have or can only find one of the pair!

Finding sabbath moments today!

Check out my website to learn more about Young Living Essential Oils!

http://www.yldist.com/melanieself/

Source: Make-and-Take Class Idea: Therapeutic Hot/Cold Pack Sock

The Hiding Place Forgiveness and Faith by Corrie Ten Boom

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https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Corinthians%205:21&version=NLT

“It was at a church service in Munich that I saw him, a former S.S. man who had stood guard at the shower room door in the processing center at Ravensbruck. He was the first of our actual jailers that I had seen since that time. And suddenly it was all there – the roomful of mocking men, the heaps of clothing, Betsie’s pain-blanched face.

He came up to me as the church was emptying, beaming and bowing. “How grateful I am for your message, Fraulein.” He said. “To think that, as you say, He has washed my sins away!” His hand was thrust out to shake mine. And I, who had preached so often to the people in Bloemendaal the need to forgive, kept my hand at my side.

Even as the angry, vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. Jesus Christ had died for this man; was I going to ask for more? Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him. I tried to smile, I struggles to raise my hand. I could not. I felt nothing, not the slightest spark of warmth or charity. And so again I breathed a silent prayer. Jesus, I prayed, I cannot forgive him. Give me Your forgiveness.

As I took his hand the most incredible thing happened. From my shoulder along my arm and through my hand a current seemed to pass from me to him, while into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me. And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself.”

~Corrie ten Boom, the Hiding Place

The Holy Spirit’s Love and Compassion in Enduring

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Day Three of radiation…… My mom zips in and out like a champ. The room is packed today. Sadly, there were no rosy colored glasses at the Cancer Center. 

So many Bible verses stir in my head as I once again watch from afar. The voices around me whisper but the echo of the overwhelmed reminds of their need for encouragement and affirmation. Every life there speaks into the life of another so sweetly. No need for pretense here. Cancer has a way of leveling the playing field. Every life is battling this dreaded disease and the hush often stills the room for understandable moments. In that we steel our resolve to be more attuned to the doors that God opens and obey.

The heartbeat all around today was heavy but made light as the nutritionist offers up some yummy treats with fresh herbs. Just a normal day in the lives of those who care for cancer patients and speak hope into the grasping hand outstretched in need. Physically. Spiritually. Emotionally.

The “eyes” of compassion lift spirits as a young man with a pirate-like patch over his left eye that he had lost to cancer. He casually begins to share April Fools Day jokes all around. And of course, I would fall for the, “Hey your shoe is untied” and I was wearing slip on flats! I smile deep and out loud somehow at the same time. The breath of compassion from all in view was palpable. This young heart, in surrender to his current, humble position breaks the ice of uncomfortable and diffuses any awkward interactions. This gathering of hearts know that this is where hope rises and God’s mercy waves over us with swells of joy.

Today we were gifted with a better view of compassion’s work. The spiritual clothing that we wear encompasses a focused intent to be tender-hearted, mercy-filled, purposefully kind, surrendered and humble with a full spirit of gentleness and patience. This represents our Savior well and with the love of God that grants us the gift….the compassion knows that full well in that we are most blessed.

Genuine compassion embodies a sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a soul deep desire to alleviate it

Today we walked with compassion and asked the Lord to give us eyes more attuned to the Holy Spirit’s leading as we set out in pursuit of a deeper understanding of compassion.

  

The Life Community of Hearts in Cancer Treatment

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“Whom have I in heaven but you? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever…….as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all Your works.” Psalm 73:26

Such calm and peace on this Good Friday as I reflect at the end of this weeks journey alongside of new and unexpected friends. Yesterday, day 4 of my mom’s radiation, there were no huddled families discussing details, overwhelmed with information or shuddering hard as they face cancer’s abrupt detour along winding roads. 

I took a deep breath as I chose my place to settle. I take my mom’s coat and purse before she signs in and off she goes. Today, I am a little sad that the beautiful window into hearts of late may not be as telling of God’s presence that has been so real. Truly my strength has come in the honest surrender and in the telling stories of the providence of God’s plan for every soul. He continues to show Himself trustworthy. His glory in meeting the hearts of His beloved in hard places of fear and unrest is woven in almost every conversation. Today I miss the sweet moments of care among this community that know this so very well.

I quietly give thanks to the Lord for the sweet communion He has given as a gift. Cancer, this precious and uniquely crafted pearl, began as an irritant but is proving to create, if only in my heart alone, a thing of beauty. These are the daily miracles that tell our life’s story. Cancer. Life altering disease. An accident. Financial ruin. A rebellious child. Hard things that we learn in the midst of finding  what is good and  to that we cling….. There are beautiful stories of perseverance, bravery, strength, faith, deliverance……. On this day, my heart longs to tell of them all as Cancer teaches me how to live an even deeper entrenched life carved out by God in this battlefield

I close my eyes and smile after what seems like hours of God’s presence permeating my spirit. And when my eyes open, she sits down one seat away and in that grand space she is now adjacent to me. And of course, the Lord well knows that I will not ignore that I have seen her. Her hair is  gone, her small frame so frail and weak. I speak hello in the awkward silence. I make sure that our eyes meet. Her bald head is of no importance to me but I have seen the anxious stares of those who do not know what to say. She bends her head down and puts her hand on top of her head as if to hide the obvious. I want to run and wish that I had not spoken and drawn even more awkward attention to the obvious. All too well I know that He longs to love her fully and even more real in the next few moments that we share.

This beautiful young life has been stilled and this horrible pause in her has stunned her. So I wait for a moment, I pray hard for her heart to be held and for her to know how very much God loves her. The silence is deafening. I speak quietly, out of respect. “You. Are. Beautiful. Courageous. Strong. Fearless. Loved.” She raises her head. We were alone in this large waiting space. In a whispered response that I can barely hear, she responds “I keep praying for strength.” I reach deep and am reminded that everyday faith-based, God-Inspired responses does little to comfort a despairing heart.  While I know that God is good, His ways and plans are perfect every day of our lives are not always supernaturally “happy”. No platitudes. Only whispers of hope unspoken and in the silence I beg God to speak peace to her whole being. Our eyes stay fixed and I feel her soul beg for rescue.

  

Few words are exchanged between us in this timeless window. She IS a person of faith but for her, cancer has tested everything that she thought she knew. She laughs and speaks boldly of her new-found life experience; “Easy to trust God, praise Him and celebrate when you have your hair and health.” We smile. I may not know THIS very well….but these things I do know from every messy place that God has gifted on my life’s journey to wander. I restrain myself from running to her. This was NOT that moment. I encourage her to run hard and fast to the truths that her heart knows. It is fair for our hearts to feel abandoned and to wonder why. Why me? Why now? And I swallow hard, but really- Why not? 

I wish that I could say that my response along life’s hard places have  always been that of a beauty surrendered with no whys, no doubts and always FULL faith. 

She is so very weak. I see her settling back to find that comfortable place. She is day 30 of radiation after a very long and aggressive series of chemotherapy.

The truth is, moments allowed like these in the full scope of the sovereignty of God have ALWAYS led me to my knees. As His beloved, that is exactly where God fully is. In our surrender, He bows low to where we are because He understands more than we the pain of suffering. Dying on a cross so that we can live, not just glide through life but know it in abundance. 

His love and care shape us. His glory appears when we let go and receive in knowing and understanding that He sees, He knows and carries the pain and suffering In our lives. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. He holds us strong as does the Father and the Holy Spirit. He hears our most intimate tellings and the very things our hearts are never prepared for. Beloved of God, Jesus, the prince of peace, is at the right hand of God the Father interceding on your behalf.

Out time together ends and yesterday as night fell, my heart was still mulling over this 3-5 minute God ordained appointment and I give thanks. Not for the eyes to see but the heart to know, to feel and identify with in some small way the indescribable pain of facing ones own mortality. This heart acknowledges my responsibility to examine my own life. To boldly live out the days that I am given instead of getting derailed by the things beyond my control. To find the balance in it all, so as not to miss the world around us as we run fast forward through life. To march fully into each day that we are given and take hold of life even more purposefully on this side of heaven. The journey through suffering prepares us to be even more committed to the work of the kingdom of God, to its building and to bring glory to the indescribable gift of eternal life. 

Living in this world is not eternal life. Learning to live well even in dying leaves behind the beauty of God’s promise through Christ…..

I have gone to prepare a place for you. Do not be afraid. 

These things I know, at this day’s beginning……

She will wrangle with the Lord during these days that seem to stand still in time as she faces the valley of the shadow of death. Her path will continue to be made straight as her strength to trust God fully returns. She will go to be with the Lord when and only when The Lord has made known in the heavens and His work for her is done. I find great joy in affirming her that her life has impacted and challenged mine in these sacred moments. You ARE His masterpiece, clothed in beauty. Our hearts beat together and His presence resonates with the angelic beauty waiting at the gates of heaven to welcome her…… Someday. When the Lord wills.

i open my tablet and begin to read and sing Psalm 23 over her as a prayer. My unutterable prayer beckons the heavens to open up and  envelope this precious, wounded heart and fill her up with strength, courage and peace. 

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.

You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Your are loved precious one so much more than you know……and of this we can be assured. Be comforted in knowing…… we will always be with the Lord!

Behold The Lamb of God

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Day five, six, seven and eight of radiation for my mom complete and the marathon continues. This new community feels a little more like home today which makes me shudder. Yet, I am so grateful for this physical dwelling place, the people who make its heart beat, who love so fully and have spoken life to the written words of my spirit and given them wings. 

On this Thursday evening, my mind and heart continue to resonate with the lingering words of our worship and truths from God’s Word proclaimed this Easter. I wonder how the minds and hearts of Mary, Mary Magdalene, Jesus’ disciples and Christ followers were embracing the resurrection? What pain, defeat and struggle they must have known with His death and Jesus now miraculously made alive.

THEIR marathon toward Jesus death on a cross between two thieves began with:

• The appointed, tender heart of Mary, who fully received with honor, the request to carry the Son of God with these beautiful words, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” Matthew 1:38

• Jesus asked common lives to join Him by dropping their nets, leaving their vocations and surrendering their whole lives to follow Christ, their promised Messiah.

• The journey into the city on a donkey, Palm Sunday, Judas betrayal, The Last Supper, the Garden of Gethsemane, Peter’s betrayal, the accusations, trial and crucifixion.

My mind cannot imagine what it must have been like to walk alongside of Him, to be touched by the power of His glory, be swept up in God-breathed scenes of the miraculous and their lives bowed low in honor as He speaks life into those seated at His feet. The work of God and love for His creation would be fulfilled through their obedient lives. Could they really have known fully the magnitude of their days leading up to the cross? 

How humbling to participate in the intimacy of ministry in the midst of prophecies fulfilled. I imagine His presence drawing them close to Him as He cared for each needful place in their lives. In the tender moments when they so organically touched love in a way they had never known. My heart weighs heavy as I consider their treasured Messiah and friend suffering, enduring the cross and dying.

After the resurrection, word spread like wildfire. He is risen. As would be their heart, I imagine hope-filled days as Jesus continued to teach and speak life into their calling and the message of salvation once for all! Jesus, their God and King, would tell them that He would return to heaven but assured them that He would not leave them alone. The promise that the Holy Spirit would come in all power to help, comfort and assure their days through His nearness through the indwelling would likely confuse and overwhelm but in Him they had put their trust. That they could be sure of.

So it is in our lives too. We, so small in the shadow of His greatness bring our hearts and every broken place for emotional, physical and spiritual healing. It is there love meets us. Just. As. We. Are. His crucifixion, burial and resurrection remind us that the gift of eternal life came with so great a sacrifice. Yet, this Easter, the deeper treasure that hope has become to my family is the breath of peace and the nearness of God with us when all that is around us spins quickly out of control- Cancer. 

It may be for you that one phone call, one doctor’s visit, one bill you cannot pay, disease that threatens to overcome a future, etc…. There God reveals His love and care for His beloved. Hope when all else seems shattered. In this, the Holy Spirit’s beautiful way, lovingly holds us as we learn anew to find grace, as we too glimpse eternity with a veiled view of the hope, future and the what is to come.

The waiting room talk at CaroMont Cancer Center is light-hearted today. The symbolic “I Survived Radiation Bell” resounds with three rings that represent the restoration of balance, harmony and life energy. We all look up, connecting us once again to hope and to each other. It is in these moments that community is built around a common connection. 

The ringing of the bell hovers over us in a wave of assurance. We then join the celebration and cheer alongside of each other. Every heart reminded that this phase of the journey will have an end. We entrust the brave heart of the ringer to the Lord as it trusts that their final radiation treatment will once and for all put an end to this cancer diagnosis. Many will beat this evil disease and for so many hearts, there will be celebrations and rejoicing just as I imagine Peter running to the tomb to see for Himself that, just as they had said, Jesus was not there and then excitedly running off to share the good news. 

He. Is. Alive.

Celebrate Life

Ring this bell

Three times well

Its toll to clearly say,

 

My treatment’s done

This course is run

And I am on my way!

 You are a survivor! Celebrate Life!

I long for the bell’s ring and celebration to signify the end of radiation for my mom that will allow her (our family) to breathe again, to walk in this new beginning with hard fought joy! For without hope, we lose heart. The cross reminds us that every good and perfect ending often begins with pain and suffering. Yes life. We know the complete full because Jesus “endured” the cross on our behalf.

The power to “endure” is my favorite Greek word in the Bible: 

Hupomeno- to remain, abide, not recede or flee, to persevere: under misfortunes and trials to hold fast to one’s faith in Christ, to endure, bear bravely and calmly

“…we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.” Hebrews 12:1-3 (NLT)

No matter the waiting, lingering and hard trusting, enduring place, our heart’s battle in this world pale in comparison to that which Christ endured. Our joy awaits us as we are carried along, the Holy Spirit’s presence holds us close. In these moments, we hold tight and surrender. Just as God did in sending a savior. Just as Mary did in receiving the Lord’s gift as His will. Just as Jesus endured. We too walk in the power to live out the path before us for His kingdom come, His will be done. 

We sang this song in Easter Sunday. Every word has echoed and drawn my heart to its own wanderings through God’s Word this week. A restless soul finding peace among the stories of God’s beloved who faced their own “valleys of the shadow” and found God’s pure and perfect love wrapped up tight in goodness. God continues to do so much RIGHT and for that I will always give thanks. And while there will be days that we battle, the darkness,  when the hard things try to stifle snd skew our view of the eternal. God’s light refuses not to shine the light of hope when it comes to the faithful care of His children. 

At this day’s end….. I ask you to find the good path where we can collectively walk in His power, sing, give thanks in ALL things and Celebrate this beautiful life that we have been given. So. Be. It.

Behold the lamb of God who has taken away the sins of the world. Hallelujah!!! There is no greater love.

http://www.simplelifeheartenings.com

Lamb Of God

You came from heavens throne

Acquainted with our sorrow

To trade the debt we owed

Your suffering for our freedom.

The Lamb of God, in my place

Your blood poured out, my sin erased

It was my death you died

I am raised to life

Hallelujah, the lamb of God

My name upon your heart

My shame upon your shoulders 

The power of sin undone

The cross for my salvation

There is no greater love

There is no greater love

The savior lifted up

There is no greater love

https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=uqXzepuJhKs

Trusting God and Finding The Good Path

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At this day’s end……

We all have stories of how life can challenge us, the valley of the shadow of death moments and the need to cling to something sure, true & trustworthy. The reminder that on life’s path, we are not alone!

That difficult journey you walked today: divorce, lost job, job searching, financial despair, separation, trust is broken, daily responsibilities, physical needs, cancer, emotional needs, sickness, infertility, brokenness, infidelity, spiritual needs, loneliness, anger, disease, fear…. That answer you received along that hard road that has washed over your life like a tidal wave…… “when sorrow like sea billows roll” Horatio Spafford

Life has messy places……filled with valley’s that challenge us to find the courage and a strength that is greater to hold on to and believe in.

And God is there. Oh, so very there……and I know it is true…….how??? Because I KNOW!

The platitudes about running to God in time of need diminishes the value of being held in complete surrender; to be fully loved and comforted by a gracious God.

God IS good. His love endures forever. God is trustworthy and sure and a place where grace is more than abundant and so very real. For every heart that aches this night with the guilt of overwhelm when your feet, though firmly planted, have caved in response to unexpected news……your are numbed and you will yourself to breathe…….

I stand with you tonight as my family faces a giant fight for life and prays hard and fast for supernatural answers, the miraculous, best case scenarios and a good path that will teach us about enduring love. We will look back and know more surely how to stand strong in HIS power and might.

I stood alongside of my mom this afternoon…..the words stung! Cancer, surgeon, treatment, serendipitous, benign, cancer found early, small, not much more we can say…. Yes? Words formed in my mind that I struggled to get my mouth to understand what to do next much less speak. Sure. We will make an appointment. Next Thursday. Perfect. Thank you? I think?

Monty Self and I are her caregivers…… My sister, Claudia does all she can to support us in caring for our mom. My flesh and heart shout in my spirit, we will just fix this. Let’s “get ‘er done”. Tonight my emotions have gone from there to…..oh sweet Lord, how am I, are we going to do this? I weep. Monty and I hold on tight to each other and we cry out to to the Lord.

“We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing Him directly just as He knows us!

But for right now, until completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:11-12

These things I know……

Trusting steadily in God…..Hoping unswervingly and walking held close by the Lord and the comfort of the Holy Spirit! We will all together find the good path…..and God has already sprinkled moments Of grace…..

~”the smallest cancer I have ever seen.” Radiologist
~”we just happened upon the cancer behind the benign” “Serendipitous” No. A sovereign and providential God!!!
~”treatable according to her positive markers” I have no idea what that means,! #trusting #blindfaith
~”the best bad news that I can share with you”
~”Do you have a surgeon? Yes. Dr._________ ” Amazing, he is one of the three we use at the Women’s Cancer Center. Go God. He has performed all of my mom’s surgical procedures through the years
~ He can meet with you and an entire care team next Thursday. Your surgeon just “happens” to be available. Thank you Lord.
~”An answer to a long and fervent prayer answered. #thevalley The reminder that God sees, He knows, He hears the fervent prayer of His beloved and His perfect love is beyond any sliver of our ability to understand.

I will not belabor any more small and perfectly timed gifts of grace. Thanks for listening. Really.

Tonight, we come, all hearts encircled in prayer and with thanksgiving before the throne of God in prayer. We rest in the shelter of His wing.

#goodpath
Monday night, I literally cleared a path through the chaos of my office for the annual termite inspector to come, check and treat. I do not like disorder and this room is the arch nemesis of the chaos of traveling 24 weeks out of the year, dumping, retrieving, repeat……all in the name of Jesus and serving the NASCAR community.

This room haunts me as I prepare for the next season but I continue to learn about truly resting fully in today and responding to every day as it needs to be prioritized and this crazy space will be ignored and likely conquered before we leave for Daytona. #itwillnotbeatme

We rallied late to create a way for access to the entry to the crawl space under one portion of our house. I dreaded this moment. Yet Monty affirmed in my heart, that even in the chaos around me, the things that drive me crazy, frustrate and distract me were not a problem. He looked beyond this momentary, light affliction to say, “You have made a good path.”

Friend, tonight your messy place is very real. My heart longs to help carry your burden. And I will surely cherish your heart alongside of mine. Today, the Lord challenged me to remember and “as a way of reminder” to encourage you to find in each new day’s offering, the “good path” in the midst of life’s random and often unforeseen, unexpected pain, heartbreak, messy chaos and craziness.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength Lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Making my way, focused on the ‘good path’ today. Will you join me?

The waves and wind still know His name! It is well with my soul.