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Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. Psalms 139:14

As I sat watching my three year old play in the bathtub after washing him, tears began to well into my eyes. Thoughts flooded my mind that even make me feel guilty for thinking. Why can’t my son just be “normal”? What did I do wrong? Why can’t I “fix” him?

And then in almost an audible voice I heard, Stop feeling sorry for yourself. It was in that moment that I realized how selfish my thoughts had been. Of course I want him to be like everyone else. Who doesn’t love to brag on their kids? I absolutely feel like it’s a reflection of my parenting. But you know what? It’s not. Not one bit.

This child has been loved on, spoiled, doted on, read to, and had every other “right” thing done for him. Still, yesterday we found ourselves in a long evaluation with a child psychologist and developmental pediatrician for this little boy. I watched as he became frustrated over things he couldn’t do or things he didn’t understand. My heart broke for him and even writing this, it does now. I don’t want him to struggle. I don’t want things to be so hard for him. It doesn’t seem fair and yet here we are.

After an hour and a half of evaluations, we came home to sit in a meeting about our sweet Witten to get the results of his testing with the school system. Looking at his deficits hits you in the gut all over again. Still, I knew we were doing the right thing.

Sitting by that bathtub tonight, my focus began to shift. I started to think about how happy my little boy is. He loves to laugh and play and is quite the little jokester. I began to think of how healthy he is. Besides some eczema and food allergies, he’s hardly ever sick. I thought about how sweet he is. He loves to give hugs and kisses to people. He always asks if we’re “otay” when something happens. I began to shift my focus.

There could be so many other things going on with him. I have so much to be thankful and grateful for. I know God has big plans for Witten, and I choose to stand on that promise!

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Coming to the Promised Land

The preacher said something Sunday that has really stuck with me. It was finally their year of victory, but the year didn’t start out that way. It was like an arrow straight to my heart.

Of course she was referencing the Israelites who had just wondered the wilderness for the last forty years. They were finally about to make it. God had made this promise many years earlier. Exodus 3:8 says, “So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites.” Even after this promise from God, forty years later, they were still wondering.

Now these forty years weren’t just a wait on the Lord kind of thing. No, the Israelites had put themselves in this situation. They murmured and complained and quickly forgot all that God had done for them. In Exodus 32, they decided they should make their own god to worship because Moses was taking too long on the mountain talking to God. Only eighteen chapters earlier in Exodus 14, the Israelites crossed the Red Sea on dry land. God provided food and water for these people and took care of them at every turn, yet they complained and sinned against God.

But don’t we do the same thing? We find things not going our way and we begin to complain. Now, I’m not saying that you can’t ever feel down or sad or upset about a situation. After all God is the creator of all, including our emotions. We just can’t live there and we can’t forget who God is. I’m also not saying that every situation you encounter is a result of something you did wrong. Sometimes God has us on a road for some reason we don’t know, but trust me, He has a purpose.

Maybe this is your year of victory. Maybe God has made promises to you that He has yet to fulfill. Maybe it’s taking much longer than you anticipated. God does not want to leave you in the wilderness. He wants to bring you to the promised land even if you don’t see it until Glory.

This year has been hard for our family. So many things have been going on with Witten. We’ve struggled financially. We’ve faced custody battles. It just hasn’t gone the way it seems it should have, but it doesn’t mean this isn’t our year.

No matter where you are today or what you’re going through, God hasn’t forgotten about you. He is still for you. Keep your eyes on Him no matter what. Sometimes He will remove the obstacles around you, but sometimes He will just see you through. No matter what, keep your eyes on the One who is in control. He will lead you to the promised land.

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It’s Okay to Be “That” Mom

I’ve become that mom. I’ve resorted to bribing my son to sit in the buggy and not scream.

I can remember all the times I told myself I wouldn’t do it. Wouldn’t let them fall asleep with the TV. Wouldn’t skip baths. Wouldn’t let them run around with unbrushed teeth. Wouldn’t bribe them at Walmart. Slowly but surely I found myself eating my words.

I became “that” mom. And I was disappointed in myself. I felt like a failure, but this little boy has changed me and continues to everyday. There’s nothing quite like this little baby who struggles to communicate to teach me so much.

You see, life isn’t always easy for him. He struggles to talk at almost three years old. Walmart is horrible for him and we do what we have to to survive. The screaming can last the entire shopping trip. Spankings don’t phase him. He hardly sleeps, but he loves with his whole little heart. I know that it’s all going to be okay, and he is perfect the way God made him.

It’s okay to be “that” mom. It’s okay if all of Walmart stares at you. Maybe I needed to learn to be kinder to those around me. Maybe when we see “that” mom, we need to understand she is doing all she can to survive.

Im going to embrace being “that” mom!

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Still the Healer

But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

I grew up believing in the power of healing. I saw people around me get healed, and I was told Jesus still heals. And I believed it. Mostly. Until it truly affected my own life and of course that was different.

But Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” That means the same Jesus that healed the blind and the lame and caused the dead to rise, can still heal today. And with my sweet Olivia as I was told she would never live, I clung to the healing words of Jesus. I prayed and I delved into the Word and I believed that He would do a miracle and He did.

But then we forget. It’s like the Israelites after coming out of Egypt and making the golden calf because Moses was gone too long. Every time I read that, I think how crazy they are. They just saw God perform all of these amazing miracles to deliver them out of the hands of the Egyptians, and then He has provided for them and walked with them. But they still decide they need a different god. It makes me want to shake them and tell them to wake up!

But then God whispers ever so gently and reminds me that I do the same thing. I’ve seen Him do great things, but I have found myself lately not believing Him for healing for my son. You see my sweet little baby has horrible eczema. He is miserable and in desperate need of healing. I have asked for prayers, but I haven’t fully believed.

I’ve been studying the names of God, and today as I was reading through them Jehovah Rophe, the God who Heals stuck out to me. We find the reference to this name in Exodus 15:25b – 26, “There He made a statute and an ordinance for them, and there He tested them, and said, ‘If you diligently heed the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the LORD who heals you.'”

It was as if God was shouting at me that He’s got this. He is the healer, and He can and will heal my baby. So many times I feel like the man in Mark 9 who brought his son to Jesus for healing. In verse 23, “Jesus said to Him, ‘If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.'” Then in verse 24, “Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, ‘Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!'”

I feel like so many times I have to ask God to help my unbelief. I pray that He continues to strengthen my faith. He is Jehovah Rophe, the God who Heals, and I am standing on His promises today.

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Do You Believe?

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the Church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21

Do you ever find yourself praying the same way because that’s what you’ve always done? Do you ever find yourself saying words, but not really meaning them? I know I have. I’ve gone through my prayer time completely distracted just as though it were another chore on my to do list.

This morning, though, this verse hit me. This is one of the verses I read most every morning in an effort to memorize it, so I’ve probably read it over a hundred times. But this morning it was different. I could hear the Holy Spirit whisper, “Do you really believe God can do exceedingly abundantly above all that you ask or think?”

BAM! It hit me right in the gut because so many times I have doubted. And maybe not always so much if He can, but if He will. I mean, after all, I’m sure not deserving.

James 1:6-8 tells us, “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man supposed that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”

My dad always says you need to be wearing your steel toed boots when you read the book of James. James doesn’t candy coat anything. He tells us that if we doubt that we shouldn’t expect to receive anything from the Lord. Wow! Help my unbelief, Lord.

There are times when life gets so overwhelming that you can only see your problems. But we have to learn to look up and trust the Lord during those times. We have to believe that He will see us through. Sometimes we have to hold tight to Scripture that declares His promises. Sometimes we have to remember His faithfulness in the past because He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. If He saw you through in the past, trust me, He will do it again.

So many times we focus so much on ourselves, or at least I do. I wonder what I’ve done wrong to cause problems in my life or I just don’t deserve God to bless me. But this is the wrong kind of thinking. Of course we don’t deserve His blessings. We’re broken sinners. Matthew West says it best in his devotional, “We May think we don’t deserve His goodness in the wake of our mistakes, but in the Kingdom of God, it’s never about us anyway. It’s always about Him. It’s never about what we deserve. It’s about who He is.”

We just have to believe and trust Him. Really believe. I choose to hold onto a His promises and His faithfulness no matter what I’m facing.

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Finding Your Worth in Him

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

So much of my life I have suffered from low self esteem. When my confidence does start to build up, I can hear the words of others and I begin to be torn down again. Words from my childhood. Words from my adulthood. Words that shouldn’t even matter from so many people that shouldn’t even matter. For so long, I’ve held my value in other people’s words.

This morning, though, as I was reading my devotional, the words pierced through my heart. My devotional was talking about how a piece of art was so much more valuable because of the artist. This is true in so many things we buy. Clothing becomes more expensive because of the designer. Electronics are more expensive because of the brand. A house is worth more because of the neighborhood. The price of these items goes up because of the creator. That means our worth is determined by our creator.

Genesis 2:7 says, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” Of all that a God created, man is the only thing God did not speak into existence. Later on in Genesis 2:21-22 it says, “And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.”

God took great care in creating man and woman. He formed us and breathed life in us. Our worth is found in our creator, not in us. We are worth so much more because of who He is. He thought we were so worth saving that He sent His only Son to die for us. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

He wants to have a relationship with us. He wants us to come to Him and lay down our burdens and realize that through His sacrifice we are worthy. But it’s only because of Him. Only through His love and sacrifice

If you don’t know Him today, I would love to introduce you to the Savior I know and love. Reach out to someone today and find your worth in His love.

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Praise Him

We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

In my last blog post, I talked about walking in the fire. Lately that has been our life. Thankfully our washing machine and air conditioner are fixed, but now our van has broken down. And it is so easy to dwell on all of those things, but we have to lift up our eyes.

If we can look beyond the “bad” things, we begin to see God working in our situation. We have to give Him praise for what He has in store for us. Let me just tell you, He does not change because our circumstances change. Hebrews 13:8 tells us, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

And if you can’t get beyond your situation, you have to praise Him for who He is. He is still an awesome God. He still sent His Son to this world to die for you and me. He is still the King of kings and Lord of lords. Watch this YouTube video here. If you’re not sure how to praise Him, trust me, this will give you the words to say.

When you begin to get your eyes off of your circumstances and begin to press through in worship, things begin to change. Now let me just clarify, everything around you may still look the same, but something inside of you changes. Your whole perspective changes and God can begin to work in you.

Sometimes, though, God does begin to change your circumstances. I have a cookie business on the side, and in the last few weeks, I have watched it explode. Also, we came home yesterday and someone had mowed our yard. We have no idea who it was, but they were sent by God.

Trust me when I tell you that walls fall when you begin to praise. No matter what is happening in your life today, if you will begin to praise, He will begin to change you.

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