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Mary, Did You Know?

Never having watched more than one episode in the past seasons, I lucked into watching “The Voice” this year when a young man from Kentucky blew the judges and audience (and me, too) af5530500-58c5-0133-0b0c-0e76e5725d9dway in his blind audition.  Following Jordan Smith’s first performance, I was hooked and continued to watch and cheer for my fellow Kentuckian.

If you are unfamiliar with the show, singers audition and are then selected (or the singers select depending on the audition responses) by celebrity “coaches” who coach them through vocals, style and stage presence in attempts to win a recording contract.  Viewers vote via texting and purchasing songs on iTunes to support their favorite contestant.

Jordan Smith’s performances were consistently on the top of the charts, sometimes bumping chart staples, Adele, and Justin Bieber, out of the way.  Though he had talented competitors, it was still no surprise to me that he won during last night’s finale.

Along with his beautiful singing voice, there is something about this young man that many seem to gravitate to; maybe his humility, maybe his sincerity, maybe his faith, maybe he represents “real” people; the average Joe … whatever it is, he is a special guy. Watching his mother support him from the first show to tonight’s finale, I guarantee one thing… she knew Jordan was special long before Jordan did, long before his coach, Adam Levine, did and long before America did.  And I would be willing to wager that she held on to that fact when times were tough for Jordan.

I don’t know Jordan’s story but from a very small amount shared during the show’s interviews, I would guess that he had some tough times growing up.  He once mentioned image issues and often more times than not, those personal image issues are heightened when others tease, bully or even try to give well-meaning advice.   As a parent, I know how difficult it is to watch your child hurt from the cruelness of others and watch their self-esteem suffer, particularly when you see the greatness of that child that he can’t seem to see himself.  Probably much like the first time she noticed his great talent, she will likely hold tightly to last night’s win.

Just ask a scrapbooking, photographing, videoing or journaling everything parent, whether it is a cute story, a long sought after accomplishment or just a sweet moment in time, I think we as parents have those moments with our children that we always want to remember.  However,  we also have those rough or challenging moments; temper tantrums in public, siblings screaming because one has hurt the other, experimenting with scissors and their beautiful long hair, the day the teacher calls to tell you that your child is failing a subject, or a multitude of little (or big) imperfections that we’d like to forget.

Reminding myself of those good times and not so stellar moments makes the whole story of Christ and his life growing up that much more relevant.  Jesus’ mother, Mary,  had those moments to hold on to too.

The Bible says (in my paraphrase) that Mary listened to the words of praise spoken about her baby, thought about them, held them close and then treasured them.  Later when we read about him being a preteen, we see his parents doing what I believe is a tad bit of discipline. ( I do believe he was perfect, but I also believe he was a child and still needed parental guidance) Mary and Joseph can’t find Jesus. They search for three days only to find him teaching adults. The Bible says they were astonished, but it also says they didn’t understand fully.

The astonishment of what others think about your child, the marveling at the thoughts of the greatness of your child, the treasured moments that you want to hold onto, that just makes Jesus’  family seem like your average family. Jesus’ family could have lived right down the street with their very average but loving family life.

Mary seems to have paid close attention to the words of others and her son’s actions.   From these actions, she was able to treasure these things about her son and then hold on to them when he had to save the world and not stand in his way.

Whether you are a parent, a grandparent, an aunt, a sister, a brother or even none of these, it pays to listen to what God’s people say.   When God is ready to do a great work in the ones we love or in ourselves, to look with depth into a situation annativityscened hold on to those words and thoughts of others gives us the insight to set aside our desires and we can trust to let God do his thing.

As Mary rocked her sweet newborn,  she held to the thought that her son was special…. more than just special but a Savior.

Luke 2

16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

27Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
29″Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you now dismiss[a] your servant in peace.
30For my eyes have seen your salvation,

31which you have prepared in the sight of all people,
32a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel.” 33The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him.

41Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. 42When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom. 43After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”

49″Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” 50But they did not understand what he was saying to them.

51Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

 

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2015 in Devotions, Faith

 

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Thanksgiving + Christmas =Thanksmas

It’s over.  My family made it through the criticism, the sneers, the rejection, the envy and an assortment of other emotionally charged gestures and opinions.  Yes, we are that family who decorates for Christmas on the first weekend in November…..  and we can now finally breathe a sigh of relief and fully enjoy publicly what we had secretly been enjoying for weeks.

Every year, as soon as Halloween is over, my husband begins the routine of decorating for Christmas.  It is a quiet thing that we do…. no photos on Facebook, no talk in conversations to our peers, we just get out the decorations from the attic and begin putting them in their place.  The inside is garbed first and then the outside gets its makeover.  In fact, my husband is always full of surprises for as I was spending a late evening at the office and doing the basketball practice routine with our daughter, my husband had worked his way from the indoor decorations to the outside while I was gone.  When we turned the corner into our cul-de-sac, my daughter and I both said, “Whoa!”………As the Hallelujah Chorus rang throughout the neighborhood, we were blinded by the bright lights on our house. Okay, the Hallelujah Chorus thing didn’t actually happen and we weren’t truly blinded, but we were certainly the Griswold family in our own minds.  It was an amazing sight and also the signal that our household was Christmas decor complete.

Maybe you can picture how it looks….Beginning with the Hallelujah chorus approach from the street, you move through our well lit icicle guttering and step into a fully decorated house with a lighted tree (actually three trees now that I think about it), evergreen scented candles, a fireplace setting with a cozy Santa chair (aka Blue’s Clues Thinking Chair)  and Christmas paraphernalia pretty much everywhere. Oh, and of course, the Christmas music playing in the background….


Now, we know we aren’t alone in our decoration timing, we see it more and more each year, but we also know that there are many who do not understand why we “skip” or “forget about”  Thanksgiving.  But that’s exactly what we don’t do…. We are thankful… very thankful… We are thankful for Christ, thankful for his birth, thankful for the grace, peace and hope he gives, thankful, thankful, thankful and we don’t want to celebrate just for a little while….we want to make the most of it.  We want to prolong the feelings of good will, friendliness, peace, happiness and care for others that we see during the season…. So take our cozy, glowing, spirit-filled house, add the aroma of turkey, dressing, pumpkin pie, other Thanksgiving feast goodies and a dash of evergreen and you have Thanksmas.   That would be Latin-ish for a mass of thanks.

Okay, now that season of peace, kindness, love, joy, hope, giving, thankfulness that I mentioned….  yes, I realize that all of those things aren’t always so evident, but we do tend to see more of it during this season than any other time.  Maybe its the music, maybe the brightly (or blindingly) lit homes, maybe its the scent of cookie and homemade goodies baking….. whatever it is, we see families gather, co-workers and bosses celebrating together, thankful lists, people giving their money to help others, people letting others know how special they are through cards, gifts and time and more.   But the reality is, when the turkey leftovers are gone, the decorations are put away, gifts exchanged and the perpetual strategy to get rid of the new ten pounds creep up on us, we tend to fall back into the same stressful busyness that entraps us until the next year.  So why then is this season so different? I’m thinking maybe it boils down to one thing… EXPECTATIONS.   Because it is expected of us, we step out of the everyday routine and encourage peace, thankfulness, hope, love and all of the other great things within the holiday season. There are no seasonal rules that we have to obey, no holiday laws to break… it’s just a given…. It’s what we do because it is that time of year.

Recently my “verse of the day” reminded me that according to Colossians 3:15 , if we are followers of Christ, we are expected to be that way not just the month of December (and for some, November) but all of the time.  Can you imagine what it would look like if all followers of Christ lived by the expectations of allowing peace to rule our lives and always being thankful? I think we’d see no orphan without a home, no widow in need,  no elderly forgotten, no one disabled who is neglected, no one homeless without hope or needed treatment, no one who is dying without care… people would be freed from addictions, their pasts, stereotypes, loneliness, poverty and hatred…. we’d hear encouragement, feel love, gain wisdom and experience grace… we’d rest well, worry less or even none at all…. we’d spend time being thankful for what we have rather than spending time trying to accumulate more things….. we’d know God better than we ever thought possible…

If we can live by expectations from a holiday perspective then I would think we can live with the expectation of carrying a peace like Christ, which would also be a piece of Christ, and then top it with thankfulness at all times…. Now that would be a complete Thanksmas! …The only thing then that would separate the celebration of Christ’s birth from the rest of the year would be the decorations…. in early November! 🙂

Colossians 3:15

And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2012 in Advent, Devotions, Faith

 

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Running Naked…. BUT With Clothes on AND a Target on My Back

A few weeks ago, I was unable to sleep one night and as I lay there at 4:30 a.m., I decided that in thirty minutes I was going to turn on my “Couch to 5K” app and head out the door.  I was going to be a runner.  It would be a new everyday routine .  I would run at 5:00 a.m., experience no embarrassment (no one would see me), be back to the house before anyone was awake and in the darkness of the early morning become a seasoned runner that could eventually show herself in daylight with no shame.  I had it all planned out.    But then I started thinking, “what if others are out running at that time too” and I remembered that I probably didn’t have great running shoes or clothes to run in, so when 5:00 a.m. rolled around, I decided to skip it and go buy some running apparel later that day.

However, I  later saw something that threw my excuses right out the window…. It was a man, who was obviously not running from anyone, but instead was running for pleasure, and on his feet were not fancy running shoes…. actually, no running shoes at all.  He was running in flip-flops.

Well,  to know me, you know that I love flip-flops… I wear them everywhere, even hiking.  So, I actually became inspired and went home and googled  “flip-flop running”…. not only did articles come up about running in flip-flops but there were articles about running barefoot.  Now, to really know me is to know that barefoot is the way I’d prefer to be pretty much at all times, so barefoot running was very intriguing to me… but before I can run barefoot I need to study up on it.

Okay, who am I kidding… deep down inside I want to be a runner but the reality of it all is that I have enough excuses to hold me off until, well, until I have no desire to run.   I once told my co-workers, which became a running(excuse the pun) joke for years,  “The only way you’ll ever see me run is by placing a target on my back with a gun in your hand”.  I definitely have to be motivated to run. (A 5K with zombies chasing me might work… keyword: might).

Recently, when brainstorming with a friend about ideas for teaching Hebrews 12:1 (vs 1b-And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.), I was reminded of my whole running desire, barefoot running and having a target on my back.    I realized that sometimes I don’t want to “run”, much more, run with endurance… (this time I’m talking about spiritually running). Just like physical running, sometimes I need a reason to run, a reason to “get going”,  something to get me motivated or just to stop being lazy about my faith….. So what can possibly create that motivation?  A target on my back, of course.  A target that the enemy wants to hit.

Now, with a target on my back, not only do I have to run with endurance, but I have to focus on my run… where the path is taking me and where I need to go in order to dodge that bullet, or maybe even a missile, that is headed for me.   The first portion of Hebrews 12:1 says “let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up”  So now, I also need to release some things so I can run faster and dodge easier…. pretty much metaphorically get naked.

So, now I have a target on my back but I’ve thrown off everything that could weigh me down….you would think that now being “lighter” and having a clean, pure, faith-filled life, the target would be gone, the path easier and I could slow down. However instead, by throwing off everything, I just exposed the target and now it stands out more than ever.   Making my target more available and feeling exposed and vulnerable……I’m not so sure that this sounds like something I would want to do. It sounds more like something I would lie in bed and make excuses to get out of.  Why give up what is comfortable only to make myself a running target?   Hold on… Good news is coming…

If you keep reading in Hebrews, it says that by keeping our eyes on Christ we can do it. Why? Because if I have a target on my back, I want to make sure I know every place to run so I don’t get stuck in some dark dead end somewhere…. Also, keeping focused on Christ will give me the opportunity to see what he sees and behave how he does.  After all, he is God so he’s got it all figured out. Not enough reason to expose your target? Hang in there….there’s even more….and its my favorite.

A few weeks ago, I taught the kids about the armor of God…. And one very cool thing that I love to remember and also to remind others of is when looking at the armor of God, our head (helmet),  our heart (breastplate) our vital organs (belt), our feet (boots), anything coming our way (sword and shield)…. I am protected.  However, there is one piece missing…. There is still one exposed important part of the body that this armor doesn’t cover… MY BACK.  The place where that exposed target is…. BUT…. here is the best part ever… Christ has my back.  The target may still be there but by keeping my eyes focused on Christ, I stay on the path of protection and hope.  He’s not going to allow me to be hit….That doesn’t mean the enemy won’t attempt to strike…. It just means that I’ve got protection,  hope and excitement to get to the finish line.

Running naked with my clothes on, a focus and a protector ….. that’s a race that I can run.

Hebrews 12:1-2

Therefore, since 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.[a] Because of the joy[b] awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.

Ephesians 6:13-18

13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.[b] 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.[c] 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.[d]

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2012 in Devotions, Faith

 

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Hanging on to hope…. and UK Basketball is there to prove it

Wow, Kentucky Basketball is back in the spotlight and now it is for a good thing… finally the Wildcats are ranked number one in nation.  It has been awhile since I felt like I could put on my UK sweatshirt and wear it with pride.  Yes, I’ll admit it… I don’t think my blood was pure blue.  In fact, I think there were times when I didn’t even watch one complete game in a season because I was bored.  Now you may think I’ve never been a true UK fan and that is totally incorrect…. I was probably the only girl in my middle school who had a blue and white bedroom with UK posted everywhere…. I was a true blue fan…. But when they began their spiral into just being an average team rather than an outstanding team, I lost interest.  But I think I am on the road to recovery …. I once again think they are fun to watch.

With my confession I will say that there are many who never wavered in their faith in their team.  Regardless of the poor performance or embarrassing losses, they still never missed a game, still wore blue and white… even at away games and they still cheered as loud as before.  They withstood the test and their belief in a team held firm.  And because of that they can say that they were faithful during the hard times and now it has paid off.

A test of faith pays off when we hang in there and hang on to hope.

There is a passage where Jesus tests a woman who had come to him for the healing of her daughter.  The only issue (which really wasn’t one to Jesus) was that she wasn’t an Israelite… she wasn’t one of God’s chosen people… she was a Cannanite woman.  She was begging for help and Jesus pretty much appeared to ignore her.  Finally, his buddies had had enough and begged him to get rid of her.  So then, Jesus  says something that was directed to the woman…He said it wasn’t fair to give the children’s bread (Israelite’s healings) to the dogs (those who weren’t Israelites) and she retorted that even dogs get scraps.  She was telling him that she believed even a crumb of what he could do would be enough to help her daughter.  He tested her faith and she showed him that her faith was hanging on to the hope of what he could do….Jesus was pleased and he healed her daughter.  That was the pay off for hanging on to hope.

Maybe you are dealing with something and you feel as if God is ignoring you….. or maybe you don’t feel worthy …. maybe you feel like your issue is not deserving….. But God is totally aware of your need…..Maybe He needs to see where your faith is… maybe he needs to test and see if your faith is true blue ….. Keep in mind though, I used the word “hanging”…. no one said it was easy… I know it is not easy, and sometimes it may seem if you are losing your grip…… hang on to hope.  The pay off is amazing.

Oh yeah,  “Go Big Blue!”

Matthew 15

21Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.”

23Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”

24He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”

25The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.

26He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.”

27“Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”

28Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2010 in Devotions, Faith, Life Stories

 

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Celebrate the Season-Advent Day 1- What’s in a name?

I find it pretty funny that, according to several books, my name translates to the meaning, “Graceful” or “full of grace”.  Assuming the translation refers to the art of being graceful (or “lady-like” as my mother would say),  hang around me long enough and you’ll find out how graceful I am not.  My name was not picked by happenstance… I was named for two of my aunts.  Though I could be wrong, I’m pretty sure my mother didn’t name me with the thought that either I was a graceful baby or that I would live my life gracefully just because my name translated so.

Picking a name for a child is a tough job… my husband and I had the hardest time deciding on each of our girls’ names.  Honestly, I didn’t look at the meanings of their names or if I did, I didn’t give it second thought.  I just went with the name that I liked.

My advent reading today was Isaiah 9:1-7 and I focused on the names that this prophecy gave Christ…the names were descriptive of who this “son” was going to be… Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  I love these terms, not just because I can sing them (Hallelujah Chorus), but because of what these four or possibly five names can really mean.

Wonderful- astonishing, amazing.. wonderful goes beyond good, even beyond great….. wonderful exceeds expectations and in most cases blows us away

Counselor- who can I depend on to guide me in the best direction?  Who can I confide in? Who can I gain understanding from?  Yep, it would be the counselor…. or rather, the Wonderful Counselor

Mighty God-  I love the term mighty.  From what I can comprehend about God… there is nothing that can touch Him… He is mighty and more powerful than all

Everlasting Father- Never ending…. No death…. infinity and beyond … However you best understand it, God is forever.

Prince of Peace- I’m not sure if this title is descriptive of world peace or peace within but I believe that Christ showed us how to live peacefully within ourselves and among the world

I love the fact that Christ lived up to his names…. I’ve experienced the Wonderful and was blown away.  I’ve experienced the Counselor and was guided in the correct direction.  I’ve experienced the Mighty God… so much power and never backs down… fights the enemy for you.  I’ve experienced the Everlasting Father…. time is of no issue… He is always there.  I’ve experienced the Prince of Peace…. there have been times when I thought my world was falling apart or times when I was broken… Peace came in and rescued me..

Christ lives up to his name…Just one of the many reasons to celebrate the season and the hope that it brings.

Isaiah 9:1-7

1 Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever. The land of Zebulun and Naphtali will be humbled, but there will be a time in the future when Galilee of the Gentiles, which lies along the road that runs between the Jordan and the sea, will be filled with glory.

2 The people who walk in darkness
will see a great light.
For those who live in a land of deep darkness,
a light will shine.
3 You will enlarge the nation of Israel,
and its people will rejoice.
They will rejoice before you
as people rejoice at the harvest
and like warriors dividing the plunder.
4 For you will break the yoke of their slavery
and lift the heavy burden from their shoulders.
You will break the oppressor’s rod,
just as you did when you destroyed the army of Midian.
5 The boots of the warrior
and the uniforms bloodstained by war
will all be burned.
They will be fuel for the fire.

6 For a child is born to us,
a son is given to us.
The government will rest on his shoulders.
And he will be called:
Wonderful Counselor,[d] Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 His government and its peace
will never end.
He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David
for all eternity.
The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies
will make this happen!


 
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Posted by on December 2, 2009 in Devotions, Faith

 

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Big Hero, Lasting Legacy, God at Work… all in a Tiny Baby Girl

preemieToday I saw God at work. I saw a tiny, little hero leave a legacy in just a few, short hours.  The three pound hero was a beautiful baby girl who we’ve been praying for ever since we found out that her parents were expecting her… and surprisingly expecting her twin brother too.  The expectant dad and I work together and I am fortunately a part of a very close staff.  We were excited enough to find out that they were going to be first time parents, but when they added the twin part of the equation to the pregnancy all of us on staff were elated and couldn’t wait for the June babies to arrive……I already loved those little ones as if they were family… in fact, I was ready for those little ones to call me “Aunt Nancy.”

Several months ago, though, our friends received discouraging news about their babies.  It seemed that there was some trouble with one of the babies and things didn’t have a great outlook. With the discouraging news of low amniotic fluid for baby girl, came low percentages of the chance for her to make it to 24 weeks… likely both babies would not make it.  Eventually bed rest was the only solution and for two months, mom and dad have lived at the hospital.  It has become their second home.   Prayers went out, time went by and baby girl surprised us all.  She was doing remarkably well.  She was growing and moving and regardless of the fluid situation was doing quite well.  Baby boy was growing too, and according to experts should have been much bigger than his sister but she was holding her own.

Weeks passed and 24 weeks was long gone… each day was a milestone and each additional week was a miracle.  The goal was to get the babies to at least 31 weeks and hopefully to 34 weeks but knowing that at anytime mom could be rushed to the OR.

Today was that day, at 31 weeks the babies had grown so much that it was safer for them to be born than to risk the lack of fluid.  Mom and Dad were ready to deliver their babies and the rest of us were waiting in anticipation outside the delivery area.  When they were born baby boy was doing quite well… but more discouraging news for baby girl.  Her lungs weren’t developed enough and the doctors gave a grim outlook.  Their prediction was correct.  We were in the room as we watched Mom and Dad cuddle her, hold her and tell her goodbye.  Three hours after her birth little Addison was gone.

So how did I see God at work?  I guess one would think that God at work would mean a miraculous recovery for this little baby and we would be able to tell the world about how we saw a critical little baby become perfectly healthy… I had hoped that for my friends.  I didn’t want them to experience something that most never have to experience… .I hoped that God would work that way but that was not his plan… but as I left the hospital I began thinking about what, according to those giving medical advice, should have happened long before this date.  Little baby girl was not supposed to have lived this long but if she had died in utero then her brother would have likely died too.  Both would have had to have been born at the same time and little baby boy wouldn’t have had the developed lungs to get him through too. …

The more I thought about it the more I thought about the miracle that I saw today… a little, tiny baby girl saved the life of her brother…. she fought when others thought she couldn’t… she grew when others thought it was impossible… she arrived and gave her parents the joy of seeing her move her little hands and feet  and the joy of holding her in their arms… what a hero she lived to be and what a legacy she left behind… her brother.

My friends are not alone… they trust in a great big God who has a plan that we can’t always understand… they have friends and family who have gathered around them as they grieve for one child and rejoice in the health of the other… they also have experienced something that others have also experienced…. If you or one you know is going through a similar situation please know that there is a God who wants to comfort you through and  that there are others out there that have gone through what you are now… support can be found at:

http://www.climb-support.org/index.html
http://www.nationalshare.org/
http://www.missfoundation.org/

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2009 in Faith, Life Stories

 

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Where’d She Go? … Falling down again…

Several weeks ago a nice little rainstorm came into our area and left behind some reminders in our yard.  We have one area that, though it seems to drain well, doesn’t get a lot of sunlight so it takes a while to dry.  The ground is very soft and in the summer, even in dry times, is very mushy so you can imagine what a good winter rain leaves it looking and feeling like… pretty much a muddy slip and slide.

It seems that with three daughters we are always trying to rush to get to where we need to go.  This story begins on what just happened to be my oldest daughter’s birthday celebration night.  We were all rushing to go meet grandparents at a restaurant and impatience was running rampant.  My husband and oldest daughter were in the other car while our youngest and myself were in our van.  We were waiting for our middle child.  She knew she was holding everyone up and could probably sense our frustration so when I looked up I noticed that she was rushing to the passenger side of the van.  I looked back down and continued digging for something really important in my purse when I noticed in my peripheral vision … pretty much a slow motion scene… I noticed her laying horizontal in midair and then disappeared… It was like a magic trick gone wrong… Being the sympathetic and compassionate mother that I am,  I laughed….and got out to check on her.  As I rounded the hood of the van there she was sitting in a cushion of mud.. Now, Allison has always had the ability to be a tad bit dramatic… well, really a lot dramatic especially when sympathetic mom is not being so sympathetic … so now was her time to shine.. She was not about to fall, have mom laugh at her and then not make us all feel guilty for it… So she got up, with tears in her eyes and a cracking voice, held on to me as she limped her way into the house to change clothes… something was surely broken… Well, apparently Cheddar’s can cure a broken something because she was fine and laughing about the whole thing a little bit later…

Now, you would think that Allison and I would have both learned our lessons… Her little drama was remembered and smiled about from time to time but for the embarrassment she experienced (our neighbor asked her later if she was okay) and for the guilt that I endured, it was not something that any of us wanted to relive…

Well, then it snowed and rained ice and our driveway became a downhill skating rink.  Again, we were running late for something and I was digging for that ever important something in my purse when I looked up and noticed Allison coming out to the car.  I went about my business and the next thing I know, Allison was once again, horizontal in midair and then disappeared.  I knew better than to laugh.  I quickly opened my door to get out and check on her and I saw her shoulders bobbing up and down and I heard laughter so I joined in… I felt a sense of relief as I was able to laugh this time, not at my daughter but with with her.  As I made my way closer I laughed a bit harder and louder… my daughter looked up at me with tears in her eyes and said something like, ” I can’t believe you are laughing at me!”  It was at that moment that I realized that Allison wasn’t laughing after all, she was sobbing.  She got me again, I was completely guilt-ridden.  I tried to comfort her by explaining that I thought she was laughing and so therefore I thought I had the freedom of sharing a humorous moment with her… She looked at me like I was crazy.  I helped her up, nearly falling too, and directed her back to the house so she could get dry clothes on.

So, two times down (literally) and one to go… Tonight,  for a change, I wasn’t truly in a hurry but my daughter was.  She was semi-pushing for us to make our way out to the car, but for whatever reason I was able to get there before her.  I was doing my thing … you know the routine by now… looking in my purse for something important when I saw her coming to the car.  It had been about six weeks since the first fall and about three since the other so they were long forgotten… but quickly remembered when I, once more, saw Allison disappear …. This time though,  it was a bit different. Before I even had time to maneuver my way out of the car to check on her, she popped straight back up, looked at me through the window and laughed… she shrugged her shoulders and said, “I’ll be right back.”  I chuckled as I watched her go into the house to change out of her muddy clothes…

You know, I fall quite a bit too.  Not physically fall so much, but I fall in other in ways.  I fall in patience, or understanding, or compassion or giving of my time… those are just a few of many.  Falling isn’t really the same as failing.  Failing is at the end of the road, falling is a bump in the road.  After each fall, Allison went back inside, changed clothes and finished what she had started.  She may have been a bit dramatic about it but she didn’t let it keep her from doing what she had intended.

I don’t know where you are as you read this… maybe you are feeling a bit overwhelmed after a fall… maybe it is a health fall, an emotional fall, a financial fall, a spiritual fall… maybe you really don’t have the support that you need to help you get up after that fall.  Sometimes those falls are easy to pop up from, other times a good cry is a natural precursor to getting up and then sometimes we can be totally embarrassed or angry… whatever the case may be, Christ is there with a hand held out to offer you help and hope… holding that hand and allowing him to be the strength is what directs us home….

Mark 5:35-43

35While Jesus was still speaking, some men came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher any more?”

36Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

37He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. 38When they came to the home of the synagogue ruler, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. 39He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.40But they laughed at him.
After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!“). 42Immediately the girl stood up and walked around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. 43He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.


 
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Posted by on February 19, 2009 in Devotions, Faith, Fun, Life Stories

 

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