Category Archives: My Staff

Praise

During a quiet moment this morning I read this blog post. By the time I made it to the bottom of the post my heart was in prayer. Thanking God for the growth I’ve seen in my teens this last year, particularly The Boy. Last year school was a struggle – a dark place – no hope – despair. This year the weight of the world has been lifted from his shoulders and he springs from the car and heads into school. I give all thanks to God.

I think of the coming year and I know it won’t be all roses – there will be thorns. I asked God to remind me to turn them over to Him. He has His hand on them; He is with them no matter how far they travel – no distance is too great.

Thank you God for your faithfulness even when my faith is little. Thank you God for Your strength even when I am weak. Thank you God for Your Spirit that guides me even when I am lost. Thank you God for Your freedom even when sin holds me captive.


What’s that on your shirt? A little catch-up?

So often I have thought about stopping by to blog and then I would think about how far behind I am.  I would be defeated before I even started.  I’m only going to do a little recap and then jump in to where I am now.

Fasten your seat belts… In February my son was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor on the left side of his head.  Shortly after the diagnosis he started having simple partial seizures.  Steps were put into place to start the process of getting to surgery.  We are now on the pre-eve – eve of the day of surgery.  There.  You’re all caught up.

Here it is, Tuesday night.  Surgery is Thursday morning.  What a crazy ride this has been.  It’s been so hard for me to put words to what I was thinking and feeling and living.  My family has been amazing.  My own immediate family – my girls.  Oh, my girls.  Especially Chickie.  She has sacrificed and tolerated and cried and laughed and turned the other cheek…. I am so proud of her and so thankful for her.  My extended family – my parents, siblings, and nieces.  They check in on us, give us alone time, give us family time, surround us with support.  I could not do this without them right here.  Friends of family have written letters, comments, postcards, notes, sent checks, sent care packages, brought meals.  The Boy reads every card and every note.  And Every. Single. Time. he is blown away by the support of strangers and loved ones alike.  It is such a blessing to be able to show him what the family of God can do.  It’s not just a Sunday school lesson to him.  He’s living it and seeing the body at work.  Thank you.

Here it is, Tuesday night.  It’s so hard to put into words how I am feeling.  I know without a shadow of a doubt that God has this in His hands.  I try hard to pray for us to drawn closer to Him in whatever way that means.  A few years ago I had a very vivid dream in which my son had been murdered and I was facing the woman responsible for his death.  In my dream I knew that God wanted me to tell her that He loved her.  I wanted to tell her but just then they dug up his body and I woke myself from the dream screaming.  I was so shaken and so upset.  I had to go check on my son and then I sat on the couch with my Bible.  I was immediately drawn to the story of Abraham and Isaac and I felt God asking me if I would sacrifice my son for Him.

Here I sit… only a couple of days away from my son’s brain surgery.  I have been haunted by that dream and by the prayers that followed.  Surely not… But what if?  I try really hard not to think about what if… good or bad.  I am trying to trust that God is going to provide.


Faith, faith, faith

Part of my struggle with depression is with my faith.  Depression isn’t just feelings of sadness it’s also hopelessness.  As Christians we’re taught “my hope is in Christ”.  But if my hope is in Christ then how can I feel hopeless?  What am I supposed to do with that? 

[Complete tangent:  I can remember standing in the lunch line in elementary school saying the word ‘milk’ over and over and over again until it started to sound funny.  Have you ever done that?  Said a word enough times that it just sounds funny?  Yeah, that just happened to me with the word ‘hope’.] 

I start to believe that whisper in my ear that my faith isn’t strong enough, that I don’t have true faith.  Then I hear a stronger voice that says I only need to have faith as big as a mustard seed.  That is what I cling to when my emotions swell and fall and swell again.  That is what I cling to when it’s the dark hours of the early morning and I lay in bed too stressed to sleep.  That is what I cling to when my kids are just being kids but my temper is boiling anyway.  That is what I cling to when I hear my hubby get turned down by a job.  That is what I cling to when I feel I have nothing left.

 It’s not that I don’t have faith – it’s because I have faith – even a tiny seed sized faith – that I can get up and face each day.  That’s why I want to get help so I can have someone point me to the Hope when I feel like I have lost it. 

**Another snapshot.  This one is slightly photo shopped.  I lightened the exposure because the real snapshot is darker inside.  But it’s close – it’s what I’m working towards.


Making home where my feet are

I remember when living in Roanoke was hard for me.  I didn’t have any friends.  I didn’t work outside of the home.  We didn’t have a home church.  The neighbors were still strangers.  It felt claustrophobic.  I was depressed.  I’d left my family and friends 2500 miles away.  I’d left everything I knew, everything familiar.

That was hard.

I really had to rely on God to get me through that time.  I had to trust that He had a plan, that He knew what He was doing.  It was easy to believe that in my mind but quite another in my heart.

A job ad in the paper caught my eye.  A local church was looking for a children’s director.  God wouldn’t let me forget that ad.  Finally we decided to go visit the church.  I mean, it was only 5 minutes away… why not?  Everyone was so friendly but it was still very different from what we were used to.  No drums??  Suits and ties??  Uh.  No thanks.  God wouldn’t let me forget that ad.  I think I wrote a post here about the day I turned it over to God and said, “Ok.  If you want me to apply for the job.  Ok.”  Seconds later two deacons were knocking on my door.  Mr. Glen and Mr. Dennis were so friendly and so excited to hear that I was interested in the job.  We went back the next Sunday and it was then that I met Fred.  (He filled a huge hole in my heart)  He set up an interview and I met the staff;  Shawn, Paul, Patrick.  I’m still touched by the basket of office supplies that were on my desk the first day – something the temporary secretary thought to do for me.  (you know who you are!)  Things rolled quickly from there.  We enrolled in Fred’s Sunday School class.  When my hubby had to work out of town for weeks on end I was worried about falling back into that claustrophobic place.  I didn’t need to worry about that.  Sara K came to the rescue.  We went for coffee and I think we were gone 8 hours!!  And that was the start of our weekly coffee dates.  I miss her something fierce.

I watched my kids grow friendships.  Each of them finding a best buddy at church.  It meant so much to see Sunday School teachers, VBS workers, volunteers… everyone playing a role in my kids’ spiritual lives.  Kids need strong male role models and Danny was that 110%.  As the director I was so grateful to have him work beside me but as a parent – I was beyond grateful!  He loved on my kids and showed them what it means to walk your faith.  Ms. Carolyn made a huge impact on my son.  His knowledge grew by leaps and bounds.  I believe it was that foundation that led him to a personal relationship with Christ.  Chickie’s teacher had a small class.  Frequently it was just Chickie.  She thrived in that class.  The one-on-one attention is just what she needed.  For awhile her class had two alternating teachers and both of them had a huge impact on her.  Beans has a love affair with church.  She begs to go and doesn’t understand why we can’t go every single day.  I love that.  That love was sparked by some very special people.  Her Sunday School teachers are some of the most devoted teachers.  They genuinely love the little kids.  Each Sunday they were prepared and it showed in the way she grew.  Beans’ Wednesday night teacher, Ms. Nancy, has a special place in my heart.  She blows every excuse out of the water…  She works with kids M-F and yet still wants to come and be with kids – high energy, crazy kids at that!  She works two jobs and still is prepared and enthusiastic.  She doesn’t have any little ones in Children’s Ministry any more but every child in her class belongs to her.

All that to say…. we put down roots.  Our kids put down roots.  I still missed Phoenix – I missed my family, my friends.  Seeing my parents age and learning of their health problems was very hard for me.   I was struggling with knowing where we needed to be.  I wanted to move back to Phoenix but God said ‘Wait’ and so we did.  It was hard to trust Him.  But when He finally said ‘Go’ we knew it was time – He let us know that this was in His hands.

A whirlwind of packing and goodbyes, driving, unpacking…. and here we are.  Home but not home.  It’s all familiar but not the same.  It’s kind of like watching a favorite movie from your childhood.  You can’t quite figure out why you liked it so much but at the same time it’s nostalgic.  I know that this is where we’re supposed to be.  I am grateful to be close to my family again.  It has been so good.  But it’s different.  We grew up.

Oh I don’t miss the snow.  Or the rain.  But the people.  Sigh.  I miss the people.  The people I was worried that I was never going to meet.

So I know it’s going to be okay.  It’s not always easy to trust God in my heart.  But my head keeps reminding my heart.


Heavy

My heart is heavy.  My Dad has been diagnosed with class 3 bladder cancer.

Since we’ve moved across the country from my parents I’ve slowly come to realize that my parents are not invincible, they will not  live forever.  Because we do not see them frequently it has become easier to see how they are aging.  That in itself has been difficult – seeing them as human rather than invincible.  But the other part?  The not living forever part…. that’s farther down the road right?

I’m optimistic by nature.  I believe that comes from my faith in a God that’s big.  Hearing that my Dad has cancer put a weight on my heart.  It’s the constant thought that’s running through my head.

Don’t forget to buy eggs and bread.  My Dad has cancer.
Chickie needs to finish up her math.  My Dad has cancer.
My Dad has cancer.  My Dad has cancer.

I’m trying hard to turn that constant ticker tape thought into “praying without ceasing”.

Don’t forget to buy eggs and bread.  My Dad has cancer.  But he’s in Your hands.
Chickie needs to finish up her math.  My Dad has cancer.  Comfort him today Father.  Surround him with love.  Give him peace.

I am reminded constantly of Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”   I am clinging to that verse right now.  Not in the hopes that He will heal my Dad but in the knowledge that regardless of the outcome – He will use it for good – that He is already using it to draw me closer to Him.


Acts 2

Often times I hear people wish that they knew what God wanted them to do… that they feel that God’s answers are cryptic or that answers to prayer take so long.  I know that I have felt that way.  “God, can we move home now?” … *chirp* … … *chirp* … 

But other times I feel that God is answering in LOUD, CLEAR messages.  It’s me that’s distracted or stubborn or lazy or selfish.  That’s not the answer I wanted so I’ll just ignore it until I think I hear what I want.  How many of us have done that? 

Right now I’m somewhere between the two.  Everywhere I turn I’m studying Acts (specifically chapter 2), fellowship with community, evangelism, generous giving…  I hear that loud and clear.  But, exactly what am I supposed to do?  I know that I am supposed to make some changes (BIG changes I think).  Part of me wants to wait until my hubby is on the same page (he’s only a page or two away) but I think perhaps that’s the coward’s way.  Part of me wants to row and let God steer but I am afraid.  Hmmm… that’s interesting.  I think, perhaps, it’s not failure that I’m really afraid of… I think it’s the fear of unchartered waters ahead. 

I’m sitting here for a little while… swirling in the water… waiting for direction that isn’t going to come until I start rowing… waiting for the courage to dip the oars into the water… nervous yet excited…


The end of the week

Whew.  This has been a week.  A long week.  It’s had its low points and its high points. 

There’s been stuff going on that I’ve kept very private.  Stuff I still don’t want to talk about other than to say that someday I’m going to look back on this week and say, “That was the turning point.”  Sorry to be so mysterious but I wanted to document this week so when I look back through my archives I can say, “Yes, yes it was the turning point.”  I am such an optimist.  Hmm.  Maybe it’s not so I can look back in a few years but so that I can look back next week and be reminded to hang in there.

In other, not so mysterious, news…  I went to a women’s lock-in last night at church.  I had only planned to stay until midnight but I got sucked into the fun and stayed until 4:30 a.m.  Pictionary was a blast…  Did some kung-fu poses while enjoying the paraffin wax mitts…  Had some yummy food…  Played around with some digi-scrapping…  Came home to sleep in my own warm, comfy bed… Was able to sleep in this morning because my sweet hubby kept the kids out of the house… Woke up to smell dinner cooking in the crockpot…  All I need now is a massage… Oh, wait, got one of those last night too!  Maybe it’s a peppermint mocha that I need…  😉