Friday, July 29, 2011

Two Lessons

I am beginning to believe that HolySpirit is doing his best to pound a message into my heart and soul ... {live life}. Every morning I'm reading this or that blog, from this or that author. There are my usuals I look for, and then there are the random writings that are discovered through a tweet or being on someone else's blog. The passage below was courtesy of following Lauren Barlow on Twitter:
"As I get older I realize how precious life is. How every moment has the potential to be a defining point in the timeline of life. The good and the bad. Because time is precious. Moments are defining. Life is meant to be experienced to the full. And I can honestly say, after looking back on 25, I lived it. I experienced it. I embraced it with all that was within me and because of that, I will never forget 25 as long as I live. ... [and] Now I can add “General Editor” on my list of things I have had the courage to attempt in my life. ... All this to say, no matter how old you are or where you are in your life, own it. Live it to the full. Be there for life. Breathe it in and let it fill you. Cause we’ve got one shot at this so let’s make every second count." Lauren Barlow from BarlowGirl
There were three separate pieces of her blog that grabbed me, which is why I kind of combined them into one big {live life} paragraph. I know it's easy to read a just barely 26-year-old heart and think, "Of course she can write this. She's living a life most of us only dream of. She gets paid for her passion [music], when most of us only work for a living; and she gets to travel the world through both charity opportunities and personally funded vacations [because music is her money maker]. Who couldn't write a blog like this when they're still young, living out their dreams and traveling the world?"

Well, I can't say I don't agree with that (made-up) rant somewhere in that place in my heart that's a bit envious of her opportunities. BUT, I also realize that the reason she can write a blog like this at her young age is because she's followed the dream God planted in her DNA when He was knitting her in her mother's womb. Too many of us burn through our younger years just living as fast and hard--or slow and steady--as we can simply because we ... can. We're immature and carless and careless because we're immature. Too many of us were not taught--really taught--the truth that there's more to Christianity when we're teens and young adults then just sealing our eternity. At least I know this to be my truth. 

I didn't think of [what] God actually created me for as I was growing up, except that I knew in my heart-of-hearts (with memories at the age of 14) that I wanted to be a wife and mom. Maybe [that] was the purpose for which God created me--with a lot of extra stuff that fits into that kind of dream along the journey--and I just was never mature enough in my relationship with Him to understand that. So instead of having my eyes and ears looking and listening for His guidance, I wasted my young adult years on building memories that are nothing but chaff; memories that grew out of moments God never intended for me to experience. 

Before I travel too far off the intended purpose of this blog, I'll reel myself in. There are two points to me saving this particular blog for posterity. 

#1 - Because I am not yet dancing with my Savior in heaven, it's obvious that He still has plans for me here. I can choose to waste the years ahead of believing I'm past my prime or that there's nothing left once mommy-hood is finished; or I can choose to approach each day with a "experience every moment" attitude. 

#2 - I want to continue to get better and better at teaching my children the truth that their lives don't start at 25. Every choice they make (even now) is either drawing them closer to God's plan for their lives or it's a step of wandering away. Helping them to fine tune their God-eyes and God-ears builds a hope in my heart that one day in the not-too-distant future, I will read a blog like Lauren's written by each of my children.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Are We Listening?

Yesterday, I "randomly" came across a blog I had written about Heather's cancer [remission] from August of last year, and wrote a blog to attach to it: Miracles, Forever and Freedom Words.

As I read through my blog written yesterday, HolySpirit brought back a memory of a conversation I had with my Bestie ... I think it was in the airport as we waited for our flight home from Heather's memorial trip. We talked about Heather's service: the volume of people who attended, the feelings from having conversations with people from our past, the diversity in the people who chose to speak during her service ... but mostly we talked about [what] was said about Heather from everyone who stood at the mic that day.

Heather {lived life}. With every person. During every season. Through every up and every down. Even down to her life's last minutes.

We talked about what made Heather different from so many others, including ourselves. Why did she have such a gusto for life? What was it that drove Heather to run after life so as not to miss a single second of what it had to offer?

We speculated that maybe it was woven into her DNA because God knew before she was created that her life span was not going to be as long as she, and those she loved, assumed it would be. No one considers dying young. But maybe her spirit, not bound by time and the restrictions of the physical, was born knowing and spurred her forward without her ever realizing it? I don't know. I can't say for sure. 

But what I do know is this: Every person that spoke of Heather spoke of her {living life} to its fullest. 

I remember being stirred in my soul to walk away from Heather's memorial determined to {live life}. It's not that I never have. On the contrary, I think bost my Bestie and I can attest to the plethora of ways--simple and filled with laughter and isms--that we've enjoyed life ... even the tiniest and, what some would call, the most insignificant moments. But I, and she, still wondered if those we know and who love us would say we {lived life} in a way that inspired them?

And maybe that's what my spirit is stirring to today. It's not that I think I haven't {lived life}, but have I lived it in a way that would inspire others to live out loud? Do I really take hold of the concept of enjoying every part of it? Have I learned to pause after even the most seemingly unimportant moment and think about what I just lived in it? 

Yesterday I questioned my perspective on [today miracles] and whether I really celebrate them or not. Heather did. She went to Europe and the Bahamas on her [today miracle].

Today Heather's life is causing me to question my perspective on living ... REALLY {living life}. Do I? Or do I let too many days go by simply existing within my norm as I wait--consciously or subconsciously--for the "next great moment" that's worthy of remembering?

A partial sentence from a blog I read last week has stuck with me since my eyes came in contact with the words: "...EVERY bit of life you've experienced is worth a mention."

Nine simple words. Yet they felt like a sucker-punch to my heart. I know I don't look at life like this. I know the to-do's, the unexpected changes and even the day-to-day routines of life are constantly pulling minutes away from the moments God has arranged for me to experience, build a memory on and mention. 

Can I learn to slow myself down in my thoughts and in my heart so as not to miss "a single second of what life has to offer"? I want to. I need to. And I will. *declaration*

Like purposing to write [here] so that I don't miss what God wants to say to me when He has my thoughts undivided, or so that I don't miss capturing a memory for life in black and white, I must purpose to see life as HolySpirit does. Yes...that resonates with me. Whether our spirit knows our individual lifespans to be shorter than we expect or longer than maybe we even desire, HolySpirit is constantly speaking to it [our spirit] ... to us. And I believe HolySpirit is constantly speaking: {live life}.

Maybe the real question is ... are we listening?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Miracles, Forever and Freedom Words

I came across my Destiny In Bloom blog from August 2010 today; a blog written as our family walked in the news of Heather's cancer remission; a word that was spoken and then retracted in about a month's time. I remembered the emotions of writing this--joy and excitement coupled with God-size bigness-- but, more importantly, I was reminded of the lesson that God spoke into this blog: Miracles don't always mean forever, they can be given just for today. 

At that time, many doubted whether Heather was given a remission diagnosis because she really was in remission. Many believed the doctor just got it wrong. But I believed then and still believe today that nobody 'got it wrong', they 'got it from God'. Without that word [remission] being spoken over Heather, I'm not sure she would have ventured out to Europe or gone to the Bahamas for an overdue honeymoon. I'm not sure those that walked the closest with her would have let her go, despite her desire to {live life}. 

Whether God spoke [remission] and she was truly healed for that short period, or whether He spoke and blinded the eyes of the one who should have seen cancer (but didn't) doesn't matter to me. Both circumstances are miracles! With that word doors were opened for Heather--both physically and emotionally--to experience two once-in-a-lifetime trips; one with her best friend, the other with her forever love. [Remission] carried the breath of life on its word-wings and that very breath carried Heather's physical health while she was exploring Europe and loving the Bahamas.

I believe God spoke that word [remission] because He wanted to, not because someone made an error. God knew what it would take for those who loved her to release her to {live life}; life outside the hospital and chemotherapy treatments. Remission was their freedom word that helped them to let go of--even if only for a short time--their hold on medicine. And that freedom word gave God room to move. He knew exactly what He was doing when he whispered [remission] to HolySpirit and HolySpirit, in turn, whispered it into the ear of her doctor. (my imaginings, not gospel truth)

And while that word did not last a physical forever, it was the catalyst that created moments that will FOREVER be remembered; moments that were given as love gifts from God because He knew they would turn into memories more precious than gold ... for her best friend and her {forever love}.

I wonder now, as my spirit is being stirred by the inspiration of HolySpirit, if there are any freedom words God is speaking into my life that I just don't recognize, nor want to acknowledge, as freedom? And if I've allowed God's Love Gifts of [today miracles] to pass me by, unnoticed in the blur of busy-ness, to-do's and expectation?

I wonder as I remember...

I AM MAKING EVERYTHING NEW (written for Destiny In Bloom)

And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look! I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down...” Revelation 21:5

I know that these specific words were spoken to John as God was revealing the New Jerusalem, but for the past few years this verse has been my driving inspiration for writing. With the evolution of longhand journaling to online blogging, and the replacement of ballpoint pens with keyboards, a whole world has been opened up to us that didn’t exist just 10 years ago.

We have an incredible opportunity to not only share our lives with those who will take the time to read our words but, more importantly, we have been given a tool to share God’s amazing and miraculous works in our lives and those we share life with. When I transitioned from a hardbound journal to the Blogger website, I realized that I was no longer writing for just my eyes but for anyone who was interested enough to read my journey with me. And the importance of sharing testimonies – stories – of how God is changing me and redefining who I am became just as significant as documenting the memories I don’t want to forget years from now.

“Look! I am making everything new! Write this down…”

Those nine words light me up every time I read them. Since God has given me a passion for writing, it is my responsibility – and joy – to write as He reveals. And as I sat down to write again for Destiny In Bloom, Holy Spirit whispered to me, “Write this down”, and followed those words up with a name: Heather Faith (my niece). Immediately, her story flooded my heart and I felt the breath of inspiration.

In October of 2009, she visited her doctor concerned about a lump in her breast. She was sent home without an ultrasound, biopsy or any kind of follow-up. Just some brush off words from her physician about hormones and breast tissue. After all, at 26-years-old, she was too young to be considered a candidate for breast cancer.

Fast forward six months and that ‘insignificant’ lump had doubled in size, was painful to the touch and could be seen under her skin with the naked eye. This time, a biopsy was ordered and the news that came back shocked everyone: Stage 3 Breast Cancer. Ironically, that diagnosis sounded positive compared to what was uncovered over the coming weeks. Additional tests revealed that her cancer was systemic (not localized but in her blood stream), and more cancer was found in her lymph nodes, lungs and neck. Stage 3 became Stage 4 and she was given a death sentence. Only 5% of patients with her aggressive form of cancer actually live more than three years beyond their diagnosis.

As a medical team organized her treatment schedule, our family went into another kind of action. A 30-day fast was scheduled. Across the states – wherever family and friends were located – we were all praying for her at the same time, every day. Pink bracelets were placed on all our wrists to remind us of what we were fighting for, and the girls even opted to only wear pink nail polish as a show of solidarity.

Our family has faced death before, just like every other family out there, but we’ve never been hit with the prospect of losing someone so young; someone with so much life left to be lived. Heather was diagnosed months after celebrating her first wedding anniversary. She was just into the latter half of her twenties, enjoying the newly found gift of marriage and life was waiting ahead of her, expectant and eager. And then … cancer.

Weeks of rigorous chemotherapy turned into months. Heather was ‘treated’ with the harshest cocktail of chemicals to combat the aggressive cancer. Her body reacted to the poison coursing through her veins and soon her long, brown hair was falling out and her youthful strength was drained, causing her to opt for a wheelchair over walking. With each successive round of chemotherapy, the drugs took more out of her, and she spent two out of every three weeks in bed, recovering from the effects of what was being used to cure her. But our prayers for healing continued. We were fighting an uphill battle, and we refused to lie down and allow this enemy to win.

There is something strange that happens inside a heart when one is awakened to the reality of death before death is even considered. Emotions rise and fall like the waves of the ocean, and mortality is given a new priority in your vocabulary. Heaven is pondered more consistently, and the possibility of living life without someone you love brings forth tears when you least expect them. But something else rose up during those first few weeks when Heather’s diagnosis grew more stark with each successive test result. Anger … a righteous anger. I understood more deeply the determination to fight boldly against our unseen enemy with a strength and position of authority I hadn’t experienced before. We were warring for Heather’s life on our knees, and God was pouring out His faith, peace, love, comfort, and strength in the exact moments we needed them and in the exact proportion that sustained us. We believed for healing, and we stood in faith to win back the years of life for Heather to live.

A month ago Heather finished her last, scheduled chemotherapy treatment and tests were run to determine its success. She was told going in that with her form of cancer, she shouldn’t expect much. Few actually achieve remission. And then the test results were shared: the cancer was gone from her lungs and neck and the only remnant that remained was the lump in her breast. She was scheduled for surgery, the tumor was removed and the words “In Remission” were written in her medical chart.

God had worked a miracle!

As I write this, Heather is spending a week touring Europe with her best friend. PRAISE YOU, FATHER! And as soon as she returns, she heads out on a week-long, overdue honeymoon with her Groom; one they had to postpone because he was in school at the time they married. PRAISE YOU, HEALER GOD!

As we revel in the reality of a modern day miracle, Heather’s physicians are still skeptical. They expect to see her back within the next six months or so with cancer having popped back up somewhere in her body. After all, her cancer is labeled systemic; and even though they can’t see it now, they believe it’s lying dormant, waiting for its chance to attack somewhere else in her body. It’s hard to walk in the miracle that is ‘now’ when the medical professionals besiege you with statistics that aren’t in your favor, even a tiny bit. But God desires us to celebrate every miracle, even if it’s just for today.

And this I know: My God beat the odds this time! Odds are just numbers, and they will not stand in His way if LIFE is the diagnosis He’s handing out. Yes, according to her doctors, Heather’s prognosis hasn’t changed. She is currently in remission but still faces the reality that only 5% of those who battle this cancer truly beat it. I say, “Well, someone has to be in that 5%.”

And this I know: My God is JEHOVAH-RAPHA: the LORD who heals. And I will stand and praise Him for the healing Heather is walking in right now. To do anything less would be removing the glory due to Him.

These past six months have been a different journey for everyone involved. I have watched as God has changed people’s perspective, drawn hearts close to Him that were at one time distant, revealed His truth to the unspoken questions and brought out faith and strength where doubt and weakness once dwelled.

I recently listened to a pastor teach on the supernatural aspect of miracles. One thing he said really caught my ear and settled into my soul:

“The miracle is not always the physical healing. Many times it’s the transformed heart in the process.” - Pastor Brady Boyd

While we are celebrating the obvious, physical healing that has taken place; I can’t help but be more overwhelmed by the hearts that have been changed in this process. Look around you. People are being healed every day - maybe not from cancer - but broken hearts are repaired to love again, freedom demolishes our invisible chains of bondage, souls once lost to sin are purified by the blood of Jesus and eternities are sealed.

I have to believe that God and the Host of Heaven – although in battle against our enemy – is in a constant state of celebration because they see all the day-to-day miracles that we often overlook. Can you smile today when yesterday there were tears? Miracle! Can you dance today when yesterday felt unbearably heavy? Miracle! Has God brought clarity to what was cloudy? Miracle! Has compassion replaced judgment? Has beauty replaced ashes? Has joy replaced sorrow? Miracle! Miracle! Miracle!

Celebrate the miracle that is ‘now’, even if it’s just for today. Just LOOK! He’s making everything new!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Desert Reminder

Wandering Through the Desert: Christine Caine's Blog

I often think about what it must have been like for the Israelites, as they traveled around the desert for forty years.
A generation that was once full of hope, chosen and set apart, with a promise from almighty God, had seen miracle after miracle occur as they were delivered from slavery. But this same generation was never able to experience the fullness of life God intended for them to have in the Promised Land; they were still filled with doubt and unbelief.
Their journey through the desert should have taken only a few weeks, but ended up lasting for 40 years. God always provided for them, and was always there in their midst leading them cloud by day and fire by night. Yet the people chose to remain in doubt of God’s faithfulness, and an entire generation that had once been marked by God for greatness, died with an unfulfilled promise in the desert.
How many times have we allowed our circumstances, feelings, hurts, and pains replace the promises of God’s Word in our lives? How many times have we chosen to settle and be comfortable in our current state, instead of trusting God and stepping out in faith, believing that victory is found on the other side of our obedience?
Do not give up on the promises of God. Choose to trust that God will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5), and to believe that He is a good God, who has good plans for your life (Jeremiah 29:11). Decide today to be a part of a generation that is full of faith, and take possession of the “Promised Land” God has already given to you: health, wholeness, promise, blessing, favor, and breakthrough.
When you trust in Him, you WILL walk in victory and no weapon that is formed against you will prosper (Isaiah 54:17).
There were so many golden nuggets in this blog that I read today, so I figured it would just be easier to copy the entire blog and keep it here then to extract all the different pieces separately. 

"Don't give up on the promises of God." God keeps reminding me of this. That both speaks to God's goodness to keep on reminding me AND His desire for me not to lose out on our PROMISE(d) land because of doubt. 

I do believe. I do believe. I do believe. I do believe. {said the lion to the tinman}

Deconstructing My Brain

"Lord, I know if I change my mind, you will change my heart in time." Waiting Room lyric [Shane Barnard]

The Human Brain from Geoff Schultz on Vimeo.

Don't pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults--unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It's easy to see a smudge on your neighbor's face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, "Let me wash your face for you," when your own face is distorted by contempt? It's this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.
Matthew 7:1-5 The Message

From a conversation I had yesterday comes the three God-reminders above.

One encourages.
One helps scientifically explain.
One just tells me like it is.

"Our broken places fought." This line was not meant to be the point of a blog I read this morning by Marissa Star, but it was exactly what God had written for me. It made so much sense to me.

When I asked God later [in my prayer closet] what is broken in me that seeks out the broken places of others to try to change them, He responded, "You are still looking for [him] to satisfy you." Meaning --> you are not looking to ME.

Then he reminded me of the verse in Matthew 6: Seek ME first and MY righteousness ... and all these things will be added to you. When I add it to what I read next {Matthew 7:1-5}, I understand God's admonition (authoritative counsel or warning).

I strive to change the things I cannot, instead of seeking the change that is the catalyst for all these things.

Got it, FatherGod!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

my little [pinkheart]

there are moments when GOD reaches out his hand and reminds me [who] he is in such unexpected ways. this morning, he did just that.

as i sat here, ready to write down my moment with GOD, i realized i'd never taken the time to write down my [pinkheart] transformation from pink impact back in april. so much was going on with heather that by the time life settled my pink memories were tucked safely inside my pink journal.

without going into the full story behind my [pinkheart] transformation, which will become its own blog very soon, i'll just state that GOD opened the heavens and poured love into me, transforming my gray heart of stone into a pink heart of flesh; not flesh as in 'walking in the flesh' but flesh as in 'no longer hard and closed but now soft and open'.

yesterday i was wrestling with doubt and fear. they sabotaged me in the form of "giants in the promised land". i was focused on what my eyes could see instead of what my GOD has promised me. my husband, seeing those pesky critters (doubt and fear), reminded me of the giants in the promised land and spoke right to my unwanted visitors.

side note: this is a part of marriage that i love, love, love! GOD knows that a primary benefit of joining one+one {twogether} is that when {one} is stumbling around, the {other one} is available to pick them up. yesterday, my {other one} did just that.

this morning, still feeling the remnants of my wrestling match, i decided to soak in some worship music. forgetting to make my next song choice before my current song was over, my shuffler landed on [you are for me]. i sat back, closed my eyes and just let the music wash over me. as the lyric "even if to write upon my heart" was sung, i asked GOD what he wanted to write on my heart today. not knowing what to expect, he opened my spiritual eyes and showed me this:

he reached out his hand and with his finger he wrote on my little [pinkheart] the word: FAITHFUL. as the song continued, he wrote the words: patient, gracious, merciful, true and wonderful; one on top of the other. the chorus began again and as the lyrics wound their way to "i know that you will never forsake me in my weakness", GOD won the race to my flesh and covered me with himself just before I could steal his moment away with guilt over yesterday's weakness. and when i say he covered me, he kinda literally did.

still seeing my [pinkheart], GOD reached out both hands, wrapped them behind my heart and then ... well, he brought his cheek down and pulled my heart to his cheek. and then he just nuzzled it--my little [pinkheart]--like a child would nuzzle their favorite stuffed animal close to their cheek. i was this close to becoming consumed by yesterday's weakness, but GOD invaded that moment and, with purpose, overwhelmed me with such tender affection.

yes, he was well aware of my weakness, but that's not what he was focusing on. my flesh wanted to rid itself of the condemnation of doubt and fear. GOD came to love on me; knowing that by doing so, he wasn't just removing fear and doubt, he was filling me with himself.

this act of my daddy so sweetly loving his little girl caught me off guard. i was overcome with sobs of gratefulness, knowing he could have just forgiven me for my weakness--which wouldn't have been wrong--and i would have felt better ... but GOD went far beyond my expectations ... he wrote [who] he is on my little [pinkheart].

Monday, July 18, 2011

HOW bad do you want it?

That's a question that looms in front of anything and everything that doesn't come easily. It's a question I am [seriously] considering as I choose to post this blog.

HOW bad do i want it?
a little bad?
a lot bad?
i'm willing to sacrifice whatever-it-takes bad?

Today is Monday. Although technicalists (my word) will tell you the new week begins on Sunday, Monday is my mindset ... and I'm sticking to it. Lying ahead of me is a new week. A new beginning. A new opportunity for choice.

God has this unique way of showing me things through a perspective that makes sense to me (as he does with all of us, but I'm only writing about me here). He finds out-of-the-box ways to push motivation towards me. It's my choice whether or not I grab hold.

I was in my closet and this idea hit me upside the head. Randomly. Well, a God-sort-of-randomosity, anyway.

I've been looking for a way to show myself how my body has changed in just four--yep, JUST 4--short years of marriage. Older photos show me [how] I looked in 2007, but they didn't give me perspective ... a then and now sort of glimpse. Well, this morning, God changed that through a photo idea. Here it is:

Jeans: Then and Now! 

The pair of jeans on top are the ones I wore during my first year of marriage. The jeans below them are the ones I wear now ... four years later and 25lbs heavier. Talk about not being able to avoid perspective. This photo leaves zero room for me being able to tell myself, "You haven't changed [that] much". Bull-pucky!

And this is how I looked in my "skinny" jeans:

Although I'm no size 4 and NEVER will be (and I'll never fight to be cuz that's not me), this me is not out of reach and is way more healthy than the current me. I tried the skinny jeans on and could just barely squeeze them over my hips. Don't even ask me about the button and zipper.

This is me now. Obese? No. Overweight? Definitely. Unhealthy? Most importantly!

No glitz. No glamour. Just real life.

Done up and still can't hide it.

So, to keep those pairs of jeans from hanging in my kitchen as a morbid reminder of where I am and an extreme motivation of what I need to get back to--cuz it's not really practical hanging jeans on your kitchen wall--I'm gonna get that sucker printed and put 1 copy on my fridge door, 1 in my closet, 1 in the pantry, 1 in my bedroom (by the workout DVD's) and 1 in my wallet ... for all those times when I want to indulge myself when away from mi casa.

Yesterday I jotted down a note from this weekend's message: "Truth REQUIRES Responsibility". Once you have the truth it's your choice what you do with it, but God [never] reveals truth for us to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear ... or relax on our couch and feed our faces when our bathroom scale continues to climb.

This truth? I've been lazy and indulgent. [Age has played its part, there's no doubt about that, but many have come up against age and won the war. My battle is no different.] Neither of these attributes are found listed in the fruits of the Spirit or spoken when referencing Jesus, which means (to me) that I've disrespected my God by disrespecting the body He gave me. No condemnation. Just conviction. It's my responsibility to take care of what He gave me.

If I was [this] lazy with my marriage, I'd be divorced. If I was [this] lazy as a parent, I'd have rebellious, out of control kids. Both are given to me by God to take care of. What gave me the right to remove [my body] from that list?

LAZINESS & INDULGENCE ... that's what!

God gave me an idea to take a photo that would (finally) reveal the unavoidable truth. I'm not whining about it. I'm happy He did it. Cuz He knows how to motivate me.

Friday, July 15, 2011


I have so much I want to write about. So much I would I could shout from the rooftops. But I can't. I will just blog today that God is moving. He's been unveiling His plans "to prosper us; plans to give us a hope and a future" and changes are on the horizon.

God gave us a promise for this year [Isaiah 43:16-21] and with each passing month He's been faithful to that promise in various ways. Read my recent blog about that here.

And now, God is revealing HIS PROMISEd land. The promised land is different for everyone, depending on His plan and purpose for the lives of His children.

He told us to "Be alert! Be present! For I am about to do something brand-new. Don't you see it bursting out?"

All things in God's time.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Looking Backwards and Forwards on 2011

It's July 1st. That means that one-half of this year, 2011, is already over. That's crazy to me. To be completely cliche' ... where did the time go?

I love time markers, although I haven't always been this way. The usual suspects never passed me by--birthdays and anniversaries--but I find myself now being much more aware of time than I ever was. A sign of getting older? Maybe. Possibly. [probably]. Whatever the reason, my life is now marked by many more things like seasons, holidays, and even this ... one-half of a year gone (to the day).

Maybe the fact that half of my life is behind me (give or take a few years?) propels me towards taking inventory of the events that are in my rear-view mirror and those that sit out in front of me. Whatever the reason, today is July 1st. You know what that means?  One-half of this year is already over. ;)

Back in December God gave me a promise for Anthony and I (and our family) for 2011:

This is what God says, the God who builds a road right through the ocean, who carves a path through pounding waves.
The God who summons horses and chariots and armies—they lie down and then can't get up; they're snuffed out like so many candles:
"Forget about what's happened; don't keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I'm about to do something brand-new. It's bursting out! Don't you see it? There it is! I'm making a road through the desert and rivers in the badlands."
~ Isaiah 43:16-21 [The Message]

Back then I vowed to memorize it and speak it over every situation, over every obstacle, over every fulfillment. Needless to say that hasn't quite happened, and it's unfortunate that I can state that there are times when I down right forgot about this promise in the midst of turmoil or selfish moments. But I'm so thankful, even as I write this, that the God I love and serve is much more giving than my selfish moments and more faithful than my faithless moments.

"Forget about what's happened; don't keep going over old history", He says to me.

Hmmm, I think back to Pink Impact and realize that He paved the way for this in my marriage. He made a way for me to humble myself before my husband, ask forgiveness for all I had held onto, and then vow to move forward with the past behind us. Craftily, the enemy of my soul constantly tries to remind me of what I chose to leave behind, and I haven't always been successful at not taking the past back and throwing it at my husband. BUT, my moments in the past are far outweighed by my choices to live in the present. All Glory to my God for this success because it only comes from His power working in me.

"Be alert. Be present.", He implores me.

This is my choice, and He didn't just speak it over my marriage but over all of my life ... parenting, finances, relationships, etc. Going back to this passage throughout the past six months has kept me believing in and hoping for God's best for me and my family. Every day is a choice to walk in His promise or wallow in my homemade pool of what if's and but why's.

"I'm about to do something brand-new!", He exclaims with great fervor.

He so meant this that on {1.1.11}, the very first day of the new year, He provided FREE smart phones for the kids and I, after years of me sometimes waiting patiently and sometimes whining like a 5-year-old kid.

With a payroll change that I thought was going to devastate us financially, I'm convinced He treated our income like the five loaves of fish. Even though I was diligent about most every $, Anthony's paychecks seemed to go further than they did when each check was larger than it is now. We haven't struggled and we've never gotten to the end of a pay period to find an empty bank account.

Teighlor auditioned for her very first theater play and got a part! He opened up a brand-new door for her and lit a new fire in her belly. I am excited to see what the remainder of this year holds for her. Another play? I hope so for her.

In February I revealed my true heart for the first time in two years. That confession sent me on a two month journey that had me questioning everything I knew or believed about love and ended in April with a SUPERnatural outpouring of heavenly love straight to my [new] little, pink heart. It was my Ezekiel 36:26 moment and it changed everything about me. *I would link to a blog post about this but I realized that I neglected writing about it because it came at the same time that Heather's battle with cancer came to an end. I still have all my notes, so I am going to make time to get it all down. I promise myself!

Speaking of Heather, although I am hesitant to write when hearts are still on the uphill of healing, He did make her brand new; though not through an earthly healing as we had all prayed for, but by giving her a new body altogether. This falls in line with what newness He revealed to me at Pink Impact: we don't view {life} the way He does. We're so earthly bound, but {life} to Him is not just about the time He gives us in our human bodies but, more importantly, the {LIFE} He has waiting for us in His presence. One day we will truly understand this, but for now we war with our hearts and minds through the process of grief and loss.

Alec and Baseball. They are two words that are linked together like best friends. And in the first half of this year, God provided Alec with two opportunities to play ball like he never has before. First, Alec made the Birdville High School summer team, beating out 25 other players even though he'd missed the first tryout, never played select ball like most of the other players and the coaches only saw him for a total of 3 hours. Second, he was asked to fill in for vacationing players on a select team that was made up of mostly All Stars he had played with previously. Those were two exhausting and baseball filled weekends, but they brought out a level of skill in Alec's play that we didn't even know existed. He had played "down" for many years because of having to play rec level ball, but God gave us a glimpse at the talent Alec has and it was some pretty ball to watch. God gave Alec baseball for a reason; shoot, probably more reasons than we even understand. He has always given Alec incredible favor with coaches and this year God continues to shower Alec with baseball favor!

Speaking of favor, I can't overlook the financial favor He poured out by providing airline tickets (through Marg's best friend, Kelli) for two trips to California--once to say good-bye to Heather and then to come back to be with family for her service. I still shake my head at the generosity of a family who knew of us (Coli and I) but had never met us. And I will be FOREVER thankful and grateful for the memories and moments that were allowed to become part of my heart due to God speaking and one of His children listening and obeying. I pray this lesson into my heart every time I think of it.

Pink Impact. There were so many moments of newness there. To start with, it was my first-ever Gateway women's conference and God showed up like crazy. As in my earlier promise to myself, I will get these moments out of my notebook and into my blog ... sometime in the very near future.

I will mention just one more "new" (in code, for now). A few weeks ago God showed us that He is the King of Opportunity and can change the course of a future with one phone call or over a cup of coffee at Starbucks. I can't say more right now except that as time has progressed the opportunity is looking brighter, bigger and more possible with each cup of coffee.

I know there are many other [smaller] moments, not less significant moments, that I just don't have time to mention, but these are the highlights I need to have here.