Saturday, February 28, 2015

He's Still God In The Storm


     February is ending with a dreary, cold, rainy, wintery weather day here in south GA.  North & even west of us are blanketed in snow with even colder temperatures.  We drive home in the rain.  My mind runs back to a storm in our life.  Our youngest daughter, Raegan, was born with an absence of skull on the top of her head about the size of a quarter.  Otherwise, she was a healthy, happy baby.  We soon became regulars at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, which is almost a 3 hour drive.  X-rays & tests were run over & then over again.  I watched them draw blood & listen to talk of putting her to sleep for this or that more times than I want to recall.  Hotel rooms were not cheap.  The medical care bills were racking up.  Leaving my 7 & 3 year old overnight for these trips became part of our life too quickly for this mama.  A storm had set in around us.
    At 6 months old, Raegan would be facing brain surgery on a Monday morning before sunrise.  That Sunday at church we showed up as usual.  I have no idea what we were wearing, how our hair was fixed, nor what purse I carried at that time.  None of that frivolous stuff ever matters in the scheme of things.  We were, in fact, enduring a storm.  I remember how our pastor Bro. Steve had us bring her up for special prayer.  Family that was present & special friends surrounded us.  Different ones passed her around.  Everyone prayed & cried, begging God to intervene.  The love one for another & for our little family was what was so overwhelming.  After service, we headed out with those prayers surrounding our path.
     We dreaded facing this storm that continued on ahead.  As much as I love to travel, love Atlanta, love staying in the luxurious hotels, love the 5 star restaurants & shopping surrounding us, none of these seemed appealing during this storm.  I remember feeling sick to my stomach.  I stayed up all night long watching her sleep & holding her between us.  She couldn't eat after midnight.  That concerned me.  I didn't know how that would go once she woke up.  I dreaded the whole day ahead.  I felt forced to face the storm of our life.
     Before dawn, I picked up our Raegan & headed out to face the unknown.  Not a word was spoken in the elevator.  I don't think I'll ever forget standing just inside the oversized sliding doors of the Westin cradling our baby girl.  Nathan had gone to load our bags & fetch the truck.  It was dark & flooding rain.  I began to cry as I sang quietly, "I woke up this morning.  Rain was pouring down.  I felt my spirit sinking as I looked at the darkest storm around.  Then, I thought of all my blessings & the good things in my life.  The day is dark but my soul is filled with beautiful light.  It sure looks like a beautiful day.  I woke up this morning & went on my way.  There are troubles around me, but still I can say it sure looks like a beautiful day."  A calm settled around us.  I knew Jesus had showed up on the scene.
     Soon, we were in a tiny room with our parents & pastor, handing our gift from God into the hands of a stranger.  It was the nurse who would take our baby into surgery.  We briefly met with the anesthesiologist & surgeon again.  The clocked ticked by.  Not much was said.  We just waited.  & waited.  & waited some more.  Before too long, a sleeping Raegan was returned to us.  Relief flooded my bones.  The storm passed.
    Like that storm, the one we are facing now was not asked for.  Storms just have there way of popping up every now & then on us.  It's kinda like pushing out a buggy load of groceries to learn that it has suddenly decided to flood rain.  Do you just quit?  Do you just leave the groceries behind?  No!  You just deal with it.  You suck it up, & RUN for your life!
       I invite you to RUN to Jesus!  I listen to this song as I type.  The glory of God fills my heart as I listen.  I'm guessing that the lyrics were inspired from the following scriputures.  It's the verses I cling to in the midst of this storm.
Image result for images of Genesis 50:20 KJV
Image result for images of Genesis 50:20 KJVImage result for images of Genesis 50:20 KJV
     It's still raining outside.  I can hear it making a beautiful, peaceful sound as the drops land on the metal roof above.  I think of how at the beginning of the week it seemed like us running a revival was almost impossible.  Yet, God knows just what we need.  He is leading us in the midst of the storm.  We've weathered them before with Him.  He is guiding us once again.  He is not scared.  He saw the beginning & sees the end.  He is taking care of us.  We've seen God move this week.  Nathan has preached wonderfully.  We are so encouraged in the strength of the Lord.  Revival has continued on.  The rain doesn't stop God.  He does NOT forsake His people.  We don't even have to understand it!  
Image result for images of Isaiah 55:8-9 KJVImage result for images of God's Got This
Hold on...Nathan interrupts my typing with more GREAT news!!!  I better go celebrate!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Blessed & Rejoicing Right On

  "BLESSED are ye, when men shall revile you, & persecute you, 
& shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.  
REJOICE, & be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven!"  
St Matthew 5:11-12

     The above verses are Jesus' words.  In our human minds, these words are difficult to comprehend.  Yet lately, they have proven true.  If you follow my last 3 posts, you know that Satan has come our way.  We stuck out our Eviction Notice.  We even went on vacation & thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  We returned home only to have found his army to have regrouped.  Surprised?  Not a bit.  The enemy of our souls battles on.  He sees he is loosing ground.  Grasping at straws, he attacks our ministry claiming that he is sent under God's authority.  His opinion of our ministry rings in our ears.  War is LOUD.  Words hurt.  It's sad to watch those that we love & care for bear arms for him, but that is their choice.   That's when these scriptures flowing from our Creator's lips touch our hearts so deeply.  He is the soothing balm we reach for.  We pray & wrestle with the question, should we lash back out? & reason with God to remind Him of how He blessed those in the Bible that defended their bean patch.  We pray & pray some more.  Let go, & let God!  Those are His hard words for me to hear.  Hours stretch by to form days.  I begin to think about the saying:
  Image result for your opinion of me doesn't define who i am quotes
Something rises up on the inside.  I began to study the word opinion.  I realize that a huge difference exists between fact & opinion.  The difference lies in the grounds of evidence of truth verses the lack of evidence which results in insufficient certainty.  Opinions are formed based on a certain personal view & most often with a lack of knowledge.  Furthermore, opinions are variable & can change endlessly.  Obviously this is why opinions are dismissed in any court of law.  In order to be charged with a crime, sufficient evidence must be produced.  I even looked up the population of the world.  As it turns out, over 7 billion people live on planet Earth every day which could produce countless opinions on any and everything imaginable.  That would make a single opinion basically...well...worthless.  I begin to realize just how blessed we are.  God is not swayed by man's opinion.  He is not caught off guard.  It doesn't create chaos that He can't handle even if they are shouted from a rooftop.  Opinions are nothing new to Him.  Someone else's opinion does not define anyone.  It actually doesn't even amount to a hill of beans.  That leaves absolutely nothing for us to defend.  Joy fills the hurt in our hearts.  Are we blessed?  Indeed we are!  Abundantly, too!  God has blessed our family right in the midst of this confusion.  A miracle has happened that we didn't even ask Him for!  He just knows our hearts & poured it out!  Also, countless text messages, visits, & telephone calls of encouragement began pouring in from other Christians.  Do they know what is going on?  Not a clue as far as we know.  God is just God.  His ways are right.  Following His will even when we do not understand is most imperative.  He is still on the throne!  Rejoicing in God right on also?  Planning on it forevermore!  HALLELUJAH!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Valentine's in West Virginia

     My parents have gifted us & my only sister's family for the past several years with a Valentine Trip to Snowshoe, WV.  Here in south GA, it doesn't snow.  There are surely no ski resorts.  Therefore, we load up & drive!!!  Daddy loves to ski & has shared that love with his oldest 4 grands.  Raegan & Clay have skied some.  They get cold very quickly though.  Our little Graham LOVES the snow & would play in it all day long!
     Every year we stop half way in North Carolina.  My parents are always concerned with the kiddos having fun on the journey as well as the destination.  This year, among other adventures, we visited the Lazy 5 Ranch in Mooresville, NC.  Feeding the wild animals out of the back of Papa's truck was nothing shy of awesome!  In seconds flat, an array of wild animals swarmed us from every direction!  Raegan got scared of the close encounters & screamed while literally jumping through his open back glass.  She loves animals but definitely prefers barriers.  It was lots of fun!  The ride through the ranch was long but not a bit boring.  We saw more than I can name in this blog post!
     Snowshoe Mountain, WV is a long drive but definitely worth it!  Driving up this year, there was very little snow.  We made very good time.  The kiddos slept from our last lunch stop to arrival.  They were giddy with glee to throw snow balls in the beautiful weather.  Soon the snow rolled in.  We skied, swam, & snow tubed together for days.  A highlight is always Meme's gourmet meals in between.  We play like kids ourselves & eat like kings!  It's a true vacation!  No cell service, no work nor school, no cleaning up either!  It's just fun & relaxation at it's finest!  We all have a BLAST!
     A big thanks goes to the best Meme & Papa ever!  They could travel the world, build a house, drive fancy vehicles, but instead choose to spend on their family being together.  To little kiddos, $ means nothing.  Time is everything!!!  I don't know if I'll ever be able to afford blessing my 5 future families with lavish trips, but you can bet we'll be close & loving.  Time is a gift I am willing to give to my family.  I dream of spend the nights, get togethers, holidays, & the every day with my chaotic crazy crew running in & out making messes & memories together!  :)        

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Eviction Notice

"If you only knew what I was gonna be,
After the storm, you wouldn't have even bothered me.
And now I'm STRONGER!
And I got more POWER!
I'm a little bit WISER!
And I've got more STRENGTH!
Got God's FAVOR!
And we're still STANDING!"

     Most times, the enemy of our soul barges in with his same old tricks.  This time, we were ready for the battle.  The verses to the above song say,

"You may have thought, you won the last round.  You may have laughed (cuz) I almost fell down.  Maybe you think I give up easy.  But it's not over, I got more in me!  You thought I stopped, you thought I sat down...You hit me hard, I should be knocked out.  Things I've been through, don't even wanna talk about it.  You crossed the line this time.  You violated me...Battle's not mine, the battle is the Lord's.  In the name of Jesus, I'm taking it by force!" 

     He's come around here TOO many times with that!  This time all he found was an EVICTION NOTICE!  Life is TOO short to fight the same battles.  God has rescued us so many times from your wiles.  Last time, what you didn't realize was we prepared.  We didn't cave.  We never quit.  We kept fighting.  We have drawn strength.  When you tried crashing in this time, all you found was a wall with an EVICTION NOTICE.  Our family is safely tucked inside God's presence.  He is not the author of confusion.  In His presence, you must flee!  Your artful beguiling behavior & cunning trickery is not allowed up in here.  We will not back down.  People we love can allow that devil to use them outside that wall all they want to.  My family will not bow for that.  We have too much invested.  Too many prayers have been prayed, too much worry & fret has been spent over past attacks, too many days have been wasted waiting for this storm to pass.  Now we will make lemonade with your lemons & dance in the rain!!!  It's like a party over here that you're not invited to devil!  I don't even know how to put it into words.  The SAME old attacker is back with a different scenario but his SAME old tricks.  Yet, we have more joy & peace than ever before.  Our family is surviving & thriving.  Sadly you will not take part.  All you will read is that EVICTION NOTICE!  Don't let anything or anybody inside those walls of divine protection built by the Master that only want to tear you or your family down!