Armoured Up

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Something’s Crouching

“If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?  But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” Genesis 4:7

That visual of sin crouching at your door with a desire to “have” you (not visit you for a minute) but to possess you; to take over, jumps out at me….but you MUST rule over it.  This scripture is a warning giving me a choice and it urgently points out that my misstep could open up the door to a most unwelcome takeover.  My choice determines my outcome.   God issued this warning to Cain and if we read on, Cain did not heed the warning, instead he allowed his anger and jealousy toward his brother to spiral out of control resulting in him killing his brother.

Sin had paid a visitation and remained with Cain and with it some harsh consequences…laced with mercy, but consequences nonetheless.

Jesus had a word of wisdom for Peter which reminds me of Cain’s warning.  Over in Luke 22:31, Jesus says “Simon, Simon!  Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.  But I have prayed for you that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”  Peter’s response was typical of Peter…bold and brash…”Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.”  Uh, yeah okay.  Take heart that even when you have the best intention, the Lord knows your frailties; knows the end from the beginning; has already made a way of escape; pursues you; forgives you; accepts you and positions you to move on in the destiny and plans He has prepared for you.

Since the beginning of time we’ve been given the gift of choice and the opportunity to do good, but there’s this thing that gets in the way …this flesh thing that we seem to have under control for the most part, but given the opportunity, that old man who is supposed to be sleeping isn’t and if fed enough, can come roaring out proving that ole’ boy is not as dead as you think he is after all.  The Apostle Paul says it this way “For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.”   So what then?  Do we get comfortable in our sin when we know full well that sin is what separates us from God leaving us wide open for those demonic twins, guilt and condemnation to lay hold of us, causing a further separation from the One calling us home?

I’ve been accused of being so heavenly minded, that I’m no earthly good.  Boy, if this person could have read my heavenly mind, they would have known better than to think that!  I am a daily work in progress with choices to act out with each opportunity presented to me.  I listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit…sometimes on time, sometimes late, but I listen, I learn, I will to do good, but I don’t stop there…I then choose to do good.

Think about the trap that the enemy has set out or is preparing for you.  What is lurking or crouching at your door ready to spring to attention with an intention to take over your life…to possess you?  You must rule over it or it will rule over you.

Lord, we hear Your voice and the voice of the enemy we do not obey; we turn away from that which would so easily ensnare us and look to You to contend with that which contends with us.  Lord God, Your will, Your way…not ours…in Jesus’ name!

“Those words…those beautiful words…”

The word of God is living and powerful…it is able to reach into the darkest of places and bring light.  God showed this truth to me during a hospital visit and it served a dual purpose.  I received word from a friend’s sister that my friend had been hospitalized.  She was heavily sedated and would not even know I was there, but Marie thought it was important for me to know where my friend was, just in case.  With my bible in hand, I walked into her dark room and was met by her nurse who said I was welcome to visit, although my friend would be asleep throughout our time together.  Once we were alone, I approached my friend and I prayed for her and then decided to sit for a while with her.  She never moved as I pulled the chair across the floor to get closer to her.  I opened up my little book of healing scriptures and I began to declare the word of healing over her, personalizing each one.  It went something like this…

Ann, Jesus bore your sins in His body on the tree; therefore you are dead to sin and alive with God and by His stripes you are healed and made whole.  Ann, Jesus bore your sickness and carried your pain.  Therefore, you will give no place to such sickness or pain.  For God sent His Word and healed you.

I continued in this vain until I heard “Ann’s” voice.  It was groggy and soft, but I clearly heard her say…”Those words…those beautiful words…thank you.”  I approached her, encouraged her and then sat back down and read the rest of the book to her until she fell asleep again.

Recently, Ann and I were having some time in the word on the subject of prayer and I asked her if she recalled the above incident.  She said it sounded familiar, but she wasn’t sure.  On my way home from our time together I thought of the time my brother was on life support.  My sisters and I prayed together for his healing.  After we hung up, as I was washing the dishes I closed my eyes and saw my brother in a casket and I was shown who his pallbearers would be.  I immediately called my sister and told her we should change the direction of our prayer from healing to assurance of salvation.  I wanted to get that message to my other sister who was on her way to the hospital.  I wasn’t able to reach her but the Lord heard and later my sister told me that she had a strong unction to get in my brother’s ear and talk to him about Jesus.  His vitals had been on the decline, but while she was talking my brother was reacting, even though he wasn’t able to do so outwardly.  He passed away early the next morning and the Lord has shown us in many different ways that my brother heard and received.  This may be doctrinally challenging for some, but it has brought peace to our family.  When we met at my brother’s apartment to clean and pack his belongings, next to his favorite chair was a letter from me sharing my testimony and desire for him to come to Christ.  I know I will see my brother again.  Those words…those beautiful words!!!

The word is living and powerful…it is able to reach into the darkest of places and bring light.

How Great Thou Art!!

I caught this video on my Facebook newsfeed today and it captured my attention because I love Carrie Underwood and I LOVE Vince Gill.  I still think country music has the best, most creative lyrics…just a random opinion:)  Take a look at this video and witness a young woman who came from nothing to celebrity and it seems that she’s taken Jesus with her!!  Not because of the songs…there’s a peace to her that can only point to Jesus and when she opens her mouth to sing…. I couldn’t help but lift my hands during this video and I’ve cried each time I’ve seen it (at least five times already).

I don’t know, maybe I’m just weepy today…you watch until the end and tell me if you feel something:)

Enjoy…let everything that has breath, PRAISE THE LORD!!!

First a Whisper…Then a Shout!

A couple of weeks ago, I was having a conversation with my sister about the warnings that we get from the Lord which usually begin with a whisper…that still small voice that we hear and if we’re being totally honest…we sometimes ignore.  That whisper we ignore until it seems that the Lord clears His throat and the whisper becomes a shout and if we are dumb enough to ignore the shout, we find ourselves drowning in “shoulda, coulda, woulda’s.”

I believe the Holy Spirit works overtime as our GPS, but what good is the GPS if it’s ignored?  Around the time of that conversation with my sister, I was experiencing a pain in my neck…a physical one:)  I don’t much care for chiropractors, but I felt if I went and had an adjustment, that my neck pain would be alleviated.  I ignored that instinct and instead tried to work out the kink myself resulting in a major “NO BUENO!!!”  When I sat down to work it out, I again had a strong sense that this was beyond my capability.  Did I listen?   My stretch resulted in a pulled back muscle which created the worst, most excruciating pain I’ve experienced since I labored with my babies…no joke!!!  My pain threshold is pretty high but this pain was red hot…searing and it had me on my knees – not a bad place to be if I could have been still enough.  After the second visit to the chiropractor, I knew I was in trouble when as a last resort, he had me lie on my back, look at a cloud image overhead and think of the word “apathy” while he pressed the area behind my ears.  He encouraged me to forgive myself and anyone who had ever hurt me.  OY!!!  He’s lucky he was no where in the vicinity of my foot, because all I could think of was him forgiving me for the swift kick I wanted to administer.

After that joke, I sat up and asked him if I should get an x-ray at the hospital and he succumbed to the pressure and said yes.  I did that and determined that it was not a misplaced rib; it wasn’t that I had not forgiven Sister Hildemayer for pulling my hair or any of the scores of “special” people who have done me wrong.  It was an inflamed muscle in my neck and upper back interacting with nerves.  Nice to know, but not even the shot and pain medication took the edge off.  Today makes two weeks and I’m blessed to report that I am well on my way for this nightmare to become a memory.

I’m into lessons because I’m convinced that things don’t just happen to happen and that I should always walk (or limp) away having learned something.  Here’s what I’ve learned…

(1) You should never look online for a diagnosis.  Good grief…doing so can convince you that the end is near or at the very least, you will have to live with pain forever.

(2) You should never apply an ice pack directly onto your skin.

(3) Ice burns!!  Who knew?  I do, now!  Grateful for long hair:)

(4) I’ll never again claim someone is “on my nerves” unless they are intensely agitating me with extreme force to the point I want to kick, scream, bite or even kill!

(5) I have the most supportive, loving, hardworking, praying husband and teammate a girl could ask for!

(6) My kids love me and boy am I needed!!

(7) You should cast down imaginations and thoughts which do not line up with the word.

(8) You should lean and rely on and adhere to the word.  He’s never let me down, has never failed me, would never abandon me.  Every night, I slept with my iPod replaying “Healing Praise,” a collection of anointed songs and scriptures on healing.

(9) You should listen to that still small voice…that whisper.  Nothing good happens after the shout.  It’s just not cute!

In celebration of the one who caused my tears to stop falling; the one who filled my empty arms; the one who made me smile again…Happy Birthday Joshua…my miracle. Thank You Jesus!!

Armoured Up

I know…

I know what it’s like to dream; to prepare; to envision; to want; to feel

I know… 

I know what it’s like to be told you can’t have something you’ve dreamed of; prepared for; envisioned…something you’ve wanted all of your life…something so seemingly simple for others to attain…so natural to everyone else, but me.  Why me!!!???

I know…

I know the feeling of despair, disconnection, despondency; that of sadness and shame; of loneliness of dis-repair…I’ve been there

I know…

I know what it’s like to deny, distract, run away, stay away, put away, hide away…go away

I know…

I know physical pain, emotional pain, spiritual longing, mental fogging…or is it mental flogging?…I know…

I know silence, I know the wilderness…been there, lived there, settled for a time there…

Like an old friend…always there, like my favorite chair…waiting there…

I know… 

I also know the sound of hope…

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Jehovah Rapha, My Healer

Exactly 11 years ago this month, I was living in the ‘burbs, as an at-home mommy to toddlers born 21 months apart. My baby was 14 months old. My husband was on the road a lot making it extremely difficult for me to get to church, which was quite a distance. My son was super busy and my daughter was super clingy and at the time, our church had no children’s church. The thought of schlepping all the way to church with two babies who I’d be chasing the entire time was not appealing so I was M.I.A. quite a bit. (I see clearly now the importance of a LOCAL church and it was by design that I eventually taught in children’s church, giving moms that much needed time in service to fill up!!) During that time, I found myself too busy and tired to even get in the word. After dealing with kids by myself all day and cleaning the house when they went down for the night, I would fall into a catatonic state in front of the tv night after night. My fire had definitely been put out. My first love was no longer first…He may have actually been at least fourth, before me, on a good day…and I can’t help but think that if He were keeping score, He would have felt used and tossed away. I had made Jesus my personal genie, benefitting from His goodness from the miracle births of my children to my staying at home with them to every other material blessing we received. He was now propped on a shelf somewhere, like my bible, if I could find it…collecting dust, I’m sure. It’s like I said, “I’ll take it from here, Lord,” and with a wink and a nod, I moved on and into a nightmare.

The Diagnosis

That day in August, I went to sleep feeling tired, but no more than usual and I woke up feeling strange. My legs felt cold, and like I had rubber bands fastened around them cutting off circulation. My feet were tingling. The symptoms progressed to where I lost feeling in my hands and my fingertips were now tingling. I would have what I call a feeling of “electricity” or a shock down my back whenever I bowed my head and I was exhausted….unnaturally exhausted. This went on for weeks without me sharing with anyone. When my husband finally came home in mid-September, he encouraged me to see a doctor. I was referred to a neurologist, but not just any neurologist!! I was referred to a spirit filled believer who put me through the most horrendous nerve conduction study before sharing the diagnosis with me. I was stricken with a mysterious neurological condition, called Guillain-Barre Syndrome…

Guillain-Barre syndrome is a serious disorder that occurs when the body’s defense (immune) system mistakenly attacks part of the nervous system. This leads to nerve inflammation that causes muscle weakness and other symptoms.

He had studied this disease, knew all about it and had even taught about it during his days as a professor. He said he had seen it pass through the system and there was nothing we could do except wait for that to occur. He would see me every three months. I asked him three questions…(1) Should I read up on it? “No.” (2) How long will it take for these symptoms to diminish? He responded, “Anywhere from now to up to 7 years.” (3) Will you pray for me? “I wouldn’t let you leave without first praying for you.” What a blessing to have my doctor lay his hands on my head and pray the prayer of faith over me.

I left his office that day and called my sister who works in the medical field to let her know how my appointment went. I mispronounced the diagnosis and heard her reaction followed by “Thank God you didn’t say Guillan-Barre. That’s a horrific condition.” She went on to tell me about patients she has seen with it. My legs got weak and I told her that was exactly what I had. Bless her heart…she tried backpedaling a bit, but it was too late. I know why my doctor didn’t want me to read up on it. He later confirmed that he didn’t want my faith to be shaken.

The Fight

The scandal was that I was in for a fight and couldn’t even find my bible.   Although I had left my first love, He never left me. He orchestrated that meeting with my neurologist. He was so good to me even though I felt so undeserving. I recall that first night, putting the kids down and collapsing on the couch and saying “Lord, I know You didn’t give me these kids for someone else to raise. If You heal me, I will serve You all the days of my life.” Side note…”If” is the badge of doubt in a prayer when you know the will of God. It is His will that we prosper and be in health as our souls prosper!

I began to feed on every healing scripture I could find. The pain was tormenting and the enemy did his best to weaken my faith. The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy, but Jesus came so that I would have life and have it abundantly. You know when you are in the fight of your life, you have no time to put down your weaponry because at every turn, the enemy takes swipes. His tactic is to wear you down…to chip away at your armour…to catch you napping. I recognized the pattern from my last fight of faith and I would not be moved, but that does not mean it was a walk in the park!! On three separate occasions I took some shots. One day I was driving and listening to Focus on the Family. I love testimonies and was enjoying hearing a pastor speak of his return to God after his father was taken from him suddenly..a victim to Guillan-Barre. Ooh, that hurt. Weeks later, my brother died suddenly which provoked an onslaught of symptoms, namely the news literally taking my breath away. Thank God my husband was home to help calm me and I dodged that bullet. Several months later, I was still experiencing symptoms…on and off and they seemed to flare up every time I talked about being healed. I was having dinner with my sister and her friend, a hospice nurse. She spoke of a patient…a young man in his 30’s whom she had been ministering to and there was some urgency, since this man would not survive. He was hooked up to a ventilator and was unable to move anything except for his eyes. He suffered from a “mysterious neurological condition,” she said. I asked her if she knew the name of his condition. Of course, it was Guillan-Barre. As soon as I heard that, I lost my appetite and noticed the symptoms were back stronger than ever. Side Note: How interesting (or typical of the devil) that since that time I have yet to hear of anyone having that disease.

Enough is Enough!!!

The year is now 2008 and life has gone on. I’m not as tired anymore, but there are still flare ups and the occasional feeling that I’m all abuzz. I sat in my favorite chair one morning with my healing scriptures on my lap writing in my journal…crying out to God, asking Him when I would be completely healed. “Please Lord…I’m your daughter! Don’t you hear me? Why haven’t I been healed. It’s been SEVEN years now!!” Did you catch that? In a split second I was reminded of the doctor’s time frame when he said I could be healed immediately or it could take up to seven years. I clearly recall after he said that, I counted seven years and thought to myself “that’s not too bad…I could do that.” I quickly repented for my lack of faith..for being double minded.. and in tears I declared my healing at that moment in Jesus’ name. With my hand on my heart, I promise you that every symptom left and I stood up from that chair completely healed and have been symptom free now for 4 years, this month.

This was a long one, and I pray you stayed long enough to hear that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever and He is no respecter of persons. If He healed me, He is willing and able to heal you. Don’t put your confidence in man or in man’s opinion. Put your confidence in Him and trust Him now for your healing. Do the Hezekiah (as I like to call it) — turn your back on that negative doctor’s report and focus your attention on Jesus…the author and finisher of your faith. Jehovah Rapha, my healer – He is faithful and moves when words of faith are released. Try Him! As my blessed mother-in-law would say…the only thing He cannot do is fail…and I’d add to that that the other thing He cannot do is lie!

Daughter…You were Planned…You are Loved

If God is for us, who or what can come against us…and be successful?  Nothing and no one you might say and I’d beg to differ, coz there’s always YOU!  Those three letters separate you from Him and every good and perfect thing He has reserved for those who would yield to Him and believe that YOU are what HE says you are; YOU can do everything HE says you can do.  You are that whosoever He speaks of in Mark 11:23 KJV.

Lately, the story of the woman with the issue of blood has been coming up a lot in messages.  I always tune in when I hear her story in Mark 5:25-34.  This woman had some issues.  Don’t we all!!  Imagine having a continuous flow of blood for twelve years and desperately seeking a cure, going from doctor to doctor until you’re left financially ruined and in worse shape than when your nightmare began.  Imagine the physical toll on your body; the ruinous effect on friendships and forget about any kind of relationship with a man.  Like the lepers of that time, according to Mosaic Law, she was excluded from society and was forbidden public access unless she announced her arrival using the word “unclean” to describe herself, giving people ample time to steer clear from her.  Imagine that humiliation!  Imagine the hits you would take from the “theys.”  Those who gather to point at you, to gawk, to spread rumors…imagine the things said about you; the names you’d be called…outcast, unclean, pitiful, cursed, nasty, poor, loser.   Nothing can be said about you that would rival the tapes running in your head, recited in your own voice…adding to the horror, the feelings of anger, shame, loneliness, hopelessness, sadness, depression, fear.

But faith…it comes by hearing and hearing by the word.  This woman heard about Jesus, the Word made manifest in the flesh, and she moved…pushing her way through the crowd despite her weakened condition, her outcome already settled within her as she pressed forth.  She didn’t wait for Him to see her…she saw, she reached out, she took her healing.  I absolutely love her encounter with the One who healed her.  He could have corrected her for interrupting Him; rebuked her for coming out in public in her condition…instead, He replaced every awful name she was ever called when he called her “Daughter.”  He healed every hurt when he continued saying, “your faith has made you well.  Go in peace.  Your suffering is over.” NLT

I shared this message with a  group of teens/young adult women and then I passed around a gigantic, hand held mirror and asked each girl to tell me what she saw.  The responses ranged from just okay to not good enough to one of the girls not even wanting to look at herself.  I took that opportunity to remind them that they were His daughters and they were on His mind…have been for a long time and will be forever; they were loved by Him unconditionally and were not a mistake…were perfect in His sight.

And so I invite you to read and receive, then take and make yours the way they did..

You Were Planned

– I knew you even before you were conceived. (Jeremiah 1:5)

– I pre-appointed the exact time of your birth and where you would live. (Acts 17:26)

– I knit you together in your mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13)

– You are fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)

– You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in My book. (Psalm 139:15-16)

– I brought you forth on the day you were born. (Psalm 71:6)

– I know everything about you. (Psalm 139:1)

– I know when you sit down and when you rise up.  I know what you’re thinking. (Psalm 139:2)

– I am familiar with ALL your ways. (Psalm 139:3)

– Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. (Matthew 10:30)

A Father’s Love

– You were made in My image. (Genesis 1:27)

– You are My offspring. (Acts 17:28)

– It is My desire to lavish My love on you, simply because you are My child and I am your Father. (1John 3:1)

– My thoughts toward you are as countless as the sand on the seashore.  (Psalm 139:17-18)

– My plan for your future has always been filled with hope because I love you with an everlasting love. (Jeremiah 29:11; Jeremiah 31:3)

– You are My treasured possession. (Exodus 19:5)

– I will be with you; never leave or abandon you. (Deuteronomy 31:8)

– I will never stop doing good to you. (Jer. 32:40)

– I rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)

– When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you. (Psalm 34:18)

– I comfort you in all your troubles. (2Corinthians 1:3-4)

– I am your greatest encourager. (2Thessalonians 2:16-17)

– I want to show you great and marvelous things. (Jeremiah 33:3)

– If you seek Me with all your heart, you will find Me. (Deuteronomy 4:29)

– I desire to establish you with all My heart and all My soul. (Jeremiah 32:41)

– Delight in Me and I will give you the desires of your heart, for it is I who gave you those desires. (Psalm 37:4; Philippians 2:13)

– In Me you live and move and have your being. (Acts 17:28)

– Every good gift you receive comes from My hand. (James 1:17)

– I offer you more than your earthly father ever could because I am the perfect Father. (Matthew 7:11; Matthew 5:48)

– I am your provider and I meet your needs. (Philippians 4:19)

– I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine.  (Ephesians 3:20)

Stay Out of the Chocolate Factory

The best advice never taken was given by me to a mentee…”Stay Out of the Chocolate Factory.”

This morning I lingered in the book of Judges reading about brother Samson and his troubles.  His life began with the most promising words, “So the woman bore a son and called his name Samson, and the child grew, and the Lord blessed him.  And the Spirit of the Lord began to move upon him…”  God was going to use this man of promise to defeat his people’s enemies, but a funny thing happened on the way to his destiny…his flesh got in the way.  What in flames was Samson doing traipsing through a vineyard anyway?  Note to self…when entering the enemy’s camp, expect to encounter some enemies!!! DUH!  It seems as though instead of changing his atmosphere, the atmosphere changed him…getting caught up with the locals, eating, drinking, touching, playing house with everything and everyone that caused his demise.  What is this tendency that we have to hear what is right for us, to be given a roadmap loaded with blessings in exchange for obedience; to be empowered by His Spirit, only to end up living out Plan B, which usually works out for our good (God is merciful); however, it ain’t Plan A.

Once upon a time I encountered a college aged girl at Target…she was a checker and she was checking me out in more ways than one.   We chatted a bit and as I headed out the door, I heard the Holy Spirit instruct me to return, give her my phone number and offer to stay in touch.  She was so appreciative and even said she had prayed for a mentor like me and wished we could stay in touch.  That day marked the beginning of our Mr. Miyagi/Daniel-san relationship (reference to Karate Kid…one of my faves)!! 🙂

I poured in, she received and so it was with us as she became a fixture around our home.  She was moving right along making great life choices..doing well in school, working and serving in church.  At one point she “confessed” her guilt over getting a little intimate with her boyfriend when he was in town.  It happened again another time and this time the enemy worked her over, convincing her that hers was a sin too great for her to be serving in church.  She shared that intimacy was a weakness for her, but that she was fighting to maintain her virginity.  I once again counseled her and prayed her off of that ledge and after a time, she was serving in church again and life was back to normal.

That summer, she announced her intent to spend some time reconnecting with her dad back east (where her boyfriend lived).  She would be staying with her boyfriend and his mother.  (Insert sound of needle being scratched over a record here.)  “Not a good idea,” I said which was followed by an assurance that she had learned her lesson.  They had made a promise to each other to wait until they were married to consummate their union, blah, blah, blah.  Her mind was made up and there was no changing it.  She left with my advice ringing in her ears….

I said something like this…”Say you have a weakness for chocolate, let’s say a chocolate easter bunny…one of those giant ones.  You’ve been told that it’s not good for you and you really should stay away from it because the temptation would be too great to eat the whole thing and that could hurt!  You ignore that wisdom thinking you could control yourself and so you nibble at the ear and before you know it that ear is gone and that wasn’t so bad, so you fix your eyes on the second ear….before you know it, you’ve thrown caution to the wind and have scarfed Peter Rabbit down in one sitting.  My point is this…You cannot go near the chocolate factory…chocolate is your weakness so you need to stay away…in fact, you need to stay out of the chocolate factory altogether.”

She said okay, we hugged, she left and the next time I heard from her was via telephone (long distance) early one Sunday morning.  She called to say hi and to tell me about a message on forgiveness she had heard at church.  She said she had to call to forgive me for hurting her.  (insert crickets here) – She was offended at my chocolate factory analogy and was holding it against me.  When it was my turn to speak, I told her I stood by the analogy and challenged her to prove me wrong.

Two months later, I was at a bookstore and saw her seated on the floor reading.  I approached her and we embraced and her body temperature gave away her secret.  We chatted a moment and I walked away only to have her run after me to tell me one more thing that I already knew.  Her baby was due in April and she was no longer with her boyfriend.  As it turned out, there were things she discovered about him that had she known, would have altered her choices.  I changed the subject and told her I was so happy she chose to keep her baby and to prepare for a hard time, but the Lord would see her through. (She had no real support system.)  She said she recognized that things would be difficult but figured this was God’s will for her.  I had to tell her that choosing life is always God’s will, but the timing of it all was hers.  I left her that day feeling so bad for her and months later she came to mind again and I reached out once again.

That turned out to be a divine appointment since she needed the support.  I held her hand through the last weeks of her pregnancy and was blessed to be present  to hold her hand once again as she pushed that life into the world.  I was there during the early days and moved on once I was certain that she could remove the training wheels and ride on her own.

Five years later, she has moved back east to be closer to a larger support system which includes her son’s father.  They aren’t a family, but he is involved.  She’s a great mother and is on track for a successful life — as a single mother, for now but having great hopes for her future.  I’m certain that she wouldn’t have changed a thing about her journey thus far, as the love she feels for that boy has caused her to forget the difficult times she has endured…well, maybe she would have considered the timing of her choices..and maybe her choice of father and every other “maybe” she probably has to live with.

For the longest time, I thought that my mentoring days were over, until a whole new little crop sprung up around me.  I fought it for a while until the Holy Spirit encouraged me about choices…everyone has them and it’s up to them to receive the truth or not; it’s up to me to be prayed up and not offer my opinion…just the truth.

How many of us forego His way for our way and settle for Plan B when Plan A was His desire for us?  I’m grateful for His mercy, His kindness and His forgiveness when we do lose our way.  I’m grateful for lessons learned for the next time…and there will always be a next time!

My Boy’s Big Day!

I’ve been a bit on the mopey side lately…wanting to spend as much time with my son as possible.  “Mom, can I play on your computer?”  “Yes,” I say, knowing that he’ll be close enough for me to sneak glances at from time to time without being so obvious.  “Mom, do you wanna watch our favorite show now.”  “Yep, I’d love to,” as he settles in next to me on the couch.   Today marks a new chapter in my son’s life.  Today my boy is officially a high school freshman and I’m blown away!  Where did that time go?  I recall being told when he was a baby to enjoy the time with him because it goes by so fast.  How true!

It was quite clear to me that parenting entailed a series of separations and I anticipated the possibility of pain.  That separation began in the delivery room and I have been “painfully” aware of it ever since.  I was surprised at how sad I was when I brought him home from the hospital.  For nine months we had shared a secret while he grew inside of me and now that we had become separated, I had to share him.  Then came the time when he was around 10 months old when he decided that he no longer wanted to be trapped beneath my shirt for a drink.  He traded me in for plastic.  I was broken hearted when I dropped him off at preschool because the arms that comforted him throughout the day would no longer be mine.  I’ve watched him slowly become independent and while I celebrate his budding independence, I’m missing my little boy.

My boy…my miracle child, has been the sweetest, most tender gift from God.   I fell in love the day it was announced, after my first ultrasound,  that “this pregnancy is happening.”  From day one, I’ve been super aware that I would be raising someone’s husband, so I’ve been diligent about teaching him what girls like…be a gentleman; ladies first; open doors for them; smell nice; dress sharp; r.e.s.p.e.c.t.; leave room for the Holy Ghost when you dance (hehe);  honor your parents; love and serve the Lord…oh, and “the girls love the curls, son!”  I’ve also told him that “everyone starts dating at around 25.  That’s the cool thing to do!!” 🙂  On his school field trips, he always thinks of me in the gift shop and brings me home a trinket (and one for his sissy too); he compliments me constantly (for free…doesn’t cost me a thing:); he still holds my hand in public; makes a perfect cup of coffee and assumes the role of the man of the house when my honey goes out of town.  Recently, I’ve started teaching him how to cook and he has expressed an interest in learning how to wash clothes.  During those times that I’m stealing glances, I think about his wife (the one I’m praying for all the time) and I think about how blessed she will be.

And so the separation continues and as he begins this next chapter…. high school….that hormonal cesspool, I’m anticipating the dating thing and I REALLY need to get before the Lord since I’m thinking the dating at 25 deal ain’t gonna fly.  Long ago I heard a great answer to the dating question given by the oldest child of that Duggar family…the one with 20 kids.  When asked why he chose not to date, he felt that when one dates, they give a little piece of their heart to each person and he wanted to give his entire heart to one.  I’ve passed that little dittie on to my kids.  Another time, we were stopped at a light coming home from elementary school and we saw a couple of kids making out and my kids’ eyes were locked on them.  I said, “you see those kids there…chances are they will not be together long enough to marry.  He is kissing and caressing someone else’s wife and she’s making out with someone else’s husband.”  I’ve encouraged them to respect themselves…save themselves for their husband/wife.  I’ve pointed out that they can always be like “the crowd,” and dabble in marriage-type behavior; however, if they choose to remain pure, the “crowd” that has chosen that behavior can’t be like them.  Whew…what a tightrope we walk in this area..trying to walk the line, make the right choices, trying not to blend in in a world where everything is permissible.  The challenge for me remains in the angst felt by my kids when they are not allowed to run with the crowd…and so I remain prayerful that their appetites will be for those things that are pleasing to the Lord and beneficial to them; that they remain rooted and grounded in the Word; that they not be tossed and turned by the philosophies and doctrine of man, as dad and I keep watch over them as best we could, teaching them as much as we are able and trusting God to cover them better than we could ever cover them.

Today I released my boy into the next part of his journey into manhood.  He left this morning fed and watered with expectation written all over him.  Dad and I prayed over him, and with a kiss and a wave he was off.  I did good…Dad, not so much.  He called me from the drop off area sounding pretty weepy, blown away at how fast time has gone…

Listen, Obey the First Time

Today (Saturday, 8/4) my house is quiet.  It’s just me and my Daisy (my four legged blessing).  My honey is working, Josh is at band camp and Mariah is out with her bestie.  My mind wandered back to another time when my husband was preparing to go out of town back when the kids were 3 and 4.  When they were toddlers I began teaching my babies to listen and obey the first time.  There were treats and surprises when they did so.  I’ve asked them how they were going to obey God Whom they don’t see if they don’t learn to obey the authority placed over them that they see.  I did not follow my own lesson and it almost cost me.

The kids and I were in the backyard in the pool when my husband came back there to say his goodbyes.  My favorite Christian CD was playing as we grabbed hands and prayed and I recall my husband charging the angels around me and the children in his absence.  He stood up kissed us all then said “honey, be careful with these kids in the pool.”  The kids were having a ball that day.  I was careful to have their floaties securely fastened on them and had tubes and noodles a plenty in the pool.  At one point Mariah asked to go to the bathroom and Josh came with us.  My husband’s words rang in my ears and no way was I going to leave him behind, even with floaties on.  We took care of business and jumped back in…It was a hot day!!  A few minutes past when I heard Josh say, “Look mommy, Mimi is going down and up.”  I said uh huh and kept cleaning the leaves out of the pool.  Again, Josh said “Mommy, I see Mimi go up and down, up and down.”  I swung around and saw my child under water.  I forgot to put her floaties back on.  Oh God…As I grabbed my baby and pulled her up to me, her lips were blue and she was limp.  The music was blaring and at that moment I couldn’t think of one scripture.  I screamed at the top of my lungs “JESUS HELP ME!!!!”  I laid my child down and breathed into her mouth the way I had been taught…nothing.  I picked her up and once again I’m screaming “JESUS!!!”  I ran into the house holding my child and I unlocked the front door and as I was running to the phone, I kept hearing Josh saying “mommy what’s wrong with Mimi” as I was screaming “JESUS!!!”  Just as I grabbed the phone, she coughed and water gushed out of her mouth and her eyes opened.  I hugged her as I thanked the Lord and with shaking legs I put her down and asked her what her name was and how old she was.  She said “my name’s Muhwiyah and I’m free ye-ows ole.”  With that, I grabbed her floaties put them on her and forced myself back into the pool with her.  I don’t know why I thought to do that then.  I guess I didn’t want that memory to stick with her or my son.  As for me….

I thank God I listened to my son.  Not listening and moving at his first warning almost cost me a child.

You would have thought I had learned my lesson, right?  Wrong!!

Two years later, it’s pizza Friday and my husband is on his way back with the goods and the kids.  He phones ahead to tell me they are around the corner.  I was upstairs on the computer gathering some healing scriptures for a friend.  While I’m searching the scriptures, the enemy is once again setting a trap.  My husband walks through the front door, puts the pizza on the kitchen table and calls me down.  I know I felt a check to get downstairs immediately and I even said, “I know Lord, I’m almost finished.”  I no sooner said those words when I heard a crash followed by a spine tingling scream.  I ran down the hall this time praying loudly as I took the steps two at a time.  I found my daughter on the floor in a pool of blood  with a knife not too far from her.  My husband scooped her up as I continued praying and we determined that she had tipped the chair backwards and bit down hard on her tongue creating a huge gash.  I grabbed a popsicle to stop the bleeding while I called her pediatrician.  Since she hadn’t severed her tongue, there was no emergency but he did want to see her in the morning.  He said to expect major swelling and a possible speech impediment.  The blood eventually stopped and I went to bed that night filled with anguish and guilt.  The following day, her doctor surveyed the damage.  There was no swelling but the cut was deep and time would tell whether her speech would be affected.  He sent us away with no assurance of “normalcy” for our girl, BUT GOD!!

God is merciful.  He’s faithful.  Years later my daughter bears no scar and speaks perfectly.  In fact, the day after her doctor’s appointment she went to school and I packed her favorite veggie…carrots and she had no problem eating them.  Mom’s scars have healed too and I have also learned my own lesson…to Listen and Obey the First Time!!!

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he MAY devour.” 1Peter 5:8  — I thank God for the Holy Spirit…the Spirit of Truth, my Comforter, Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby, Whom the Father left us in place of Jesus, to act on His behalf. John 14:26 (AMP)

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