There is nothing-no circumstance, no trouble, no-testing that can ever touch me until, first of all it has gone past God and past Christ right through to me. If it has come that far, it has come with a GREAT PURPOSE, which I may not understand at the moment. As I refuse to become panicky, as I lift my eyes up to Him and accept it as coming from the throne of God for some great purpose of blessing to my own heart, no sorrow will ever disturb me, no trial will ever disarm me, no circumstance will ever cause me to fret-for I shall rest in the joy of what my Lord is- that is the rest of VICTORY!!!!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Swallowed up........

As I walk around the house I can't help but get overwhelmed at the piles and piles of clutter and stuff. With a 7 year old its easy to accumulate so many odds and ends. Barbie shoes, stickers, Legos, games, play-doh its like a grab bag of fun exploded in my dining room. The one area though that seems to always stare at me whenever I'm near is the bookshelves. I love books. I never thought I would be saying this but I love to read and find great comfort with my fuzzy blanket and nose tucked in a book. My husband and I have this running joke that the bookshelves are full so to him I need to clean out the books we have but for me I say we need more bookshelves :) My bookshelves are pretty tidy and neat but my daughters on the other hand is downright SCARY! From "The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Curious George and Skippy Jon Jones" there are tons and tons of various books that we have collected since Macie was born 7 years ago. Its always a neat moment though when I am thankful we haven't taken my husbands advice and cleaned out the books when we stumble upon a book we have read numerous times to our daughter and can still remember the sight of her little hands holding it and turning the pages with such wonder and excitement.

Yesterdays message was in the book of Jonah which made me think of one of my daughters favorites books when she was little about "Jonah and the Whale." It was one of those books that throughout the story there would be little symbols and on the side of the book you would push buttons to the matching symbols and it would play music or sound effects to go along with the story. I could hardly wait to get home from Church last night to try and  hunt down that book in hopes that we still had it on that shelf of chaos in Macies toy-room. To my delight there it was and the memories flooded my heart as I looked at the worn pages and dirty fingerprints as evidence of the many quiet moments and giggles spent reading that little book. I never knew then that this moment in time would come and I would be going back to that book and the significance it would have in my life but as I hold it in my hands God impresses upon me the power behind Jonah and that big fish.

Jonah was a man that tried to run from God. Instead of surrendering to Gods will and allowing Him to guide Jonahs steps Jonah did everything he could to run the opposite way from God and avoid submitting to Gods plans. See Jonah was convinced that he had it all under control and he knew exactly what he was doing and he didn't need God to tell him what to do with his life or where to go. As we read on in the story we find out that Jonah's disobedience causes him to be swallowed by a giant whale. For 3 days Jonah sits isolated, scared, empty and covered in filth in the belly of that whale. As Jonah is separated from the outside world he begins to cry out to God for another chance, for God to deliver him from the mess of his disobedience and his heart is broken and desperate for change and transformation. God hears Jonahs cries for help and impresses upon the whale to spit Jonah out and let him have another chance.

From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God.  He said:

“In my distress I called to the Lord,
    and he answered me.
From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help,
    and you listened to my cry.
You hurled me into the depths,
    into the very heart of the seas,
    and the currents swirled about me;
all your waves and breakers
  swept over me.  
I said, ‘I have been banished
    from your sight;
yet I will look again
    toward your holy temple.’
The engulfing waters threatened me,
    the deep surrounded me;
    seaweed was wrapped around my head.
To the roots of the mountains I sank down;
    the earth beneath barred me in forever.
But you, Lord my God,
    brought my life up from the pit.
 “When my life was ebbing away,
    I remembered you, Lord,
and my prayer rose to you,
    to your holy temple.
 “Those who cling to worthless idols
    turn away from God’s love for them
  But I, with shouts of grateful praise,
    will sacrifice to you.
What I have vowed I will make good.
    I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’”
 And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.

I have read this story a number of times and each time I read it I still stand in and disbelief that Jonah was really swallowed by a big whale. In my humanness its hard for me to look at the rationality behind "Jonah and the Whale" and imagine a man sitting in the belly of a fish but because of the power and awesomeness of Jesus who died on a cross for my messiness I believe that there once was a man named Jonah who tried running from God and because of his disobedience he was swallowed by a whale. But the same God that sent the whale to swallow Jonah up also heard his desperate, sincere, broken cries and orchestrated the events that caused him to be spit out on the shore and a second chance placed at his feet.

Now I live in this little town in Ohio and the only water I see nearby is a mud puddle outside my front door so I don't see any whales swimming by anytime soon today to swallow anyone up. As I look around my community and world though I see strongholds that the enemy has placed in the paths of Gods children that engulf their lives. I see destruction with relationships, finances, addictions, depression and at first it seems like you have it all under control and you know how to handle things but then you realize this thing has a hold on you and has swallowed up your life. Its separated you from the very people and things in life that you love most and has isolated you to sit empty, broken, hurt and confused.

I have to admit that I have been there. I have tried running from God and put this tough girl mask on thinking I could do it on my own but after making mistake after mistake I found myself a mess, broken and empty begging God for another chance and crying out for Him to deliver me from the path of destruction I had chosen in an attempt at running from Him. As I sat at the bottom of the pit caused by my own destruction God met me right in the midst of my pain and delivered me from the enemy, He broke the chains the enemy had placed on me through strongholds in my life and spit me out at the feet of Jesus with a second chance waiting. I made bad choices and He had every right to leave me stuck but because we are loved by the most gracious, forgiving God he not only helped pull me out of that pit but God took my story and redeemed it and is still transforming my heart each day. He changed the song in my heart and turned my mourning into dancing, He traded beauty for ashes.

Psalm 30:11

You did it: you changed wild lament
    into whirling dance;
You ripped off my black mourning band
    and decked me with wildflowers.
I’m about to burst with song;
    I can’t keep quiet about you.
God, my God,
    I can’t thank you enough.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


I have tried writing this post multiple times over the past few days. Each time I kept running into a wall because my heart and mind is full of so many thoughts if only I could find the words eloquent enough to write it all down in a way that is clear and simple. In the midst of the chaos within I heard the still small voice of Him saying to me " just write." I felt Him saying that it didn't matter how together it was but the only thing that mattered was for me to share the raw, realness of my heart.  As I have shared before the journey we have been on with health issues has been long and hard. It seems like forever in my head. There are days where the battle seems to be getting easier and we see a little glimpse of normalcy and then there are days that feels like we have taken 5 steps back. Although our life is very different now than it was 4 years ago this has become our "new life." Each day I struggle with trying to be "normal." There are even some days when I think I convince myself that I'm not as sick as I really am. A harsh dose of reality though always comes as I hook myself up to an IV each night or walk into the Clinic each Monday for my "weekly" visit with the Infusion Nurses.

I try to be strong and courageous but part of me feels so weak. The verse that has been on my heart over the past week especially is found in Acts 20:24 "However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord has Jesus has given me-the task of testifying to the good news of God's grace." When I read this verse I instantly think of the word "sacrifice." Sacrifice is the point in life, a point in your circumstances where you realize there is something far more important than your own desires and wants that you are willing to risk it all. The biggest example that comes to mind is Jesus. I wonder how Jesus must have felt leading up to His death knowing that He would be tortured and crucified for someone else, a purpose beyond what He had planned. I imagine there must have been feelings of confusion and sadness and pleading with God to please let Him write a different story for His life. I wonder if He felt like it was unfair not to get married and have children but somewhere in His heart reasoned that because He trusted His Father it would be more than worth it.

At this point in my journey I have started asking God "what are Your plans for my life?" There came a point in this journey where I truly felt the Lord was asking me to push forward trusting Him through our trials not because there were triumphs for us eventually or healing physically but because our suffering was more important to show God's faithfulness to others. I wonder about some of the sacrifices I feel like God has asked of us and like I imagined Jesus feeling I wonder "why me?" I wonder why  my life couldn't be filled with everyday chaos like flat tires, running out of milk, and not Doctors Offices. My heart hurts to think my husband will never know a marriage apart from having a sick wife, I hurt to think my 7 year old has had to worry that when she leaves for school her mommy may be in the hospital by the end of the school day. I hurt because I can't promise I will be at her graduation or when she gets married, or even to see her finish elementary school. I would be lying to say I'm not afraid of whats ahead but I believe God has asked me and our family to make a sacrifice that we will never fully understand but will continue to be worth it. Matthew 20:28 "For even I the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to offer my life as a ransom for many."

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Mr. Monkey the Super-Hero.....

This morning as Macie was getting ready for school she noticed the stuffed monkey laying in our bed that she had bought her daddy for Christmas. A sock monkey with an OSU Buckeyes emblem on its chest and a red cape on its back  that screams or makes monkey noises (whatever monkey noises are) when you launch it across the room. As I crawled sleepily into bed last night I immediately noticed the silly monkey tucked in his arms as he snoozed away. I smiled at the sight of him cuddled peacefully snoozing away with "Mr. Monkey" and then took a picture for later torture :)  After we finished the whole beautifying process in 1st grader terms this morning of flat ironing her hair and trying to avoid the colorful tinsel, brushing her pearly whites, and finishing the "look" with light up snow boots I remembered the picture I had taken last night of Scott and Mr. Monkey. As I excitedly showed Macie she giggled and giggled but there radiated from her face a sense of pride because daddy liked the gift she had picked for him ;)

After laughing our pants off for a few minutes Macie picked up Mr. Monkey and started playing with him. She took his super hero cape off and put it back on and then asked, "mommy do you like the monkey better with the super hero cape or without the super hero cape?" I thought for a moment and answered "without." It was a simple question but had my mind racing. You see we would all like to have a superhero cape, we would all like to think we are invincible and unstoppable but the truth is that underneath the cape we wear each day representing Christ, we are just ordinary, messy humans. On our own its impossible to ignite superhero powers but with Christ we are more than conquerors, we are victorious, we are extraordinary.

Frustrated today after what seemed like the 50th mishap I thought to myself "what in the world" then I quickly realized it wasn't my circumstances that were frustrating me and getting in the way of my day but it was ME.  You see I woke up this morning and instead of allowing Christ to direct my footsteps and giving Him control I just took the lead on my own. I must admit in my humanness I do that from time to time, I try to be in control and think I got it all figured out and then WHAM life happens and knocks me straight on my rear end and I realized in that moment how desperate I am for Him to be in control and not me. "Although it seems safe and logical to be in charge of your life, being in charge becomes a heavy, lonely responsibility. Your Father graciously offers to take your life, protect you, strengthen you, and comfort you on your journey. You need not fear relinquishment, for it leads to freedom, security, and the real you" Cynthia Heald."Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight" Proverbs 3:5-6.

A super hero can walk around wearing a cape but unless there is this supernatural ability ignited within him then Batman isn't gonna fly, Spider-man isn't going to climb with those amazing webs and underneath those capes they are just ordinary. Each day as my feet hit the floor a battle is already taking place. A battle for my thoughts, my attitude, my joy, my praise and its my choice whether to walk through the war zone and think I can take it on by my own strength or put on my super hero cape and allow Christ to infuse His supernatural power and abilities in me to take on whatever may come that day. "Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes" Ephesians 6:11.