Monday, March 31, 2014

The Missing Children

My children love to play outside. They both were riding their dirt bikes today while I was getting dressed, I could hear the buzz of the motors going though the forest.  Our bedroom windows face the main area they were bombing around in, so every now and then I'd check on them. After being in the basement for a few minutes, I came back upstairs and realized it was eerily quiet. I couldn't hear their bikes. I couldn't hear them talking. I couldn't hear anything at all.
I hurried outside, looked around, nothing. I started to call their names, nothing. I ran to the back of the house, still calling, nothing. By this time, panic was starting to set in a little bit. I went up to the main road, still nothing. I sent a text to my husband, then called him. I was feeling afraid. I haven't lost my children before, and never in the forest. I had all kinds of thoughts rush through my mind of what may have happened. It was impossible to settle them down, I just kept calling out to God and to my husband to please do something! It felt like an eternity as I scanned the forest, talked to my husband, plead with God. I witnessed flashes of fear, and felt a million feelings. Just as I was thinking of gathering a posse; I turned to see my daughter run towards me.
I ran towards her and grabbed her with exuberance, and held her tightly, she may not have been able to breathe. I was so happy and relieved to see her. Still, I could not stop crying. I asked her where her brother was and she explained that he was in the barbed wire. We ran into the forest.
My husband in the meantime was on his way home. He clearly recognized my panic, and dropped everything at work to come home. I had stayed on the phone with him until we reached my son, who was not actually caught in the barbed wire, but was working to get his bike out of the wire. I pulled my son into my arms as well and vehemently expressed my love for him and how pleased I was to see him safe.
I've thought a lot about my experience today. It was very emotional and scary. But, this was really small compared to what some mothers have experienced. Sometimes, their children do not come back, they are truly lost. Many children never come home. The heart wrenching pain that this must cause is unthinkable.
When I was in the depth of my experience I kept calling out to God. I was saying "Oh God, Oh God!"  I didn't know what else to say, I just needed Him to hear my plea and find my children. "Oh, God!"  I thought of a verse that I have often read in 1 Peter 1:2

Not one is missing, not one forgotten.
God the Father has His eye on each of you, and has
determined by the work of the Spirit to keep you 
obedient through the sacrifice of Jesus.
May everything good from God be yours!

God knows where every child is. He knew today where my children were the entire time. He heard my frantic cry "Oh God, oh God!"  His eye never left them or me, not once. Sometimes it feels different. Sometimes it feels forgotten. I think for the children that do not come back, it would be very hard to believe that no one is missing or forgotten. My heart is crying for those mothers, I am calling out, "Oh God, oh God! You have said not one is missing, not one is forgotten. Your eye is on each one and Your Spirit will keep them. Jesus Say it Again to all the mothers with the missing children!"

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Losses Restored

It's after midnight and I am still awake. I had a long and busy day. For most of the day, I played with my grandson, he is a busy little boy. My house is a maze of toys right now strung throughout the halls.
I drove my kids to Zips today so they could have a milkshake. It's their favorite place to go. I've never had a milkshake at Zips, but they tell me they are good! It was raining outside, and cold. I feel cold in the Spring, and look forward to Summer. Yet, I am thankful for all of the rain because it provides a wealth of green and beauty for the summer.
I thought about the losses I've experienced in my life today, and I know there have been many. I thought about the stillborn babies, the miscarriages, the shattered dreams, and felt so very thankful for what I've been blessed with.
I have lost six babies. And now, when I watch others experience the same pain I feel empathy for them. It is a deep, heart wrenching pain. It is a lonely pain. It feels lonely because there's nothing to do or say to make it go away. It takes time, love, and prayer.
When a child is lost, the entire family suffers. The deepest pain is in the soul of the mother, she has lost a part of herself, and everything about her life, her body, her thoughts, is different in a flash. The father grieves for the pain of his wife and his child. He cannot fix it. He cannot understand it. Grandparents, siblings, and friends grieve for the child they waited for and already loved so deeply.
I do not know why God allows some things to go from our lives, but He does. I am not sure why  some go down certain paths. But, I do know, that if I walk that path with Him, He will turn it into beauty.  He already has done that for me. I do not feel the severe pain from those losses now; I am able to reach out to others in their pain. In fact, I am able to think about moments of those times, and feel a sweetness. I know God's presence was with me all the way. That is restoration.
I love this verse in Isaiah 61:3

To grant those who mourn in Zion, 
giving them a garland instead of ashes, 
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting.
So they will be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.

Jesus, this is Your promise and I believe you. Garlands, gladness, and praise for your glory! Say That Again!

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Valleys

 Today is the first day of Spring break. My children are excited. We have plans for some fun things. I know it will be good. Our morning crashed in on us with unfriendly news making our first day different than we had expected. Again, I am reminded that life is full of unknowns. I am not in control of anything, and I am not meant to be. Sometimes I am met with joyful surprises, other times the surprises are painful and bent with grief.
Throughout today I continually reminded myself that God promised me a life of purpose, and with that purpose, there is pain. This is true not only for me, but for all His children. Suffering is part of the plan. When I watch my own children suffer, it rips my heart out. I don't want to see them have to walk through any valleys, yet the valleys cannot be avoided. The valleys mature them and grow them into stronger characters with Godly purpose. The Valleys enable them to give hope to others.Yet, I still want to shield them from the pain.
Today, was a valley. A crashing surprise. A suffering that I have faith God will take and turn into good, somehow. He will find a way to use this pain for His glory, I've seen Him work in this way, so I believe He will do it again.
There's always comfort in Psalms and I turn there often. This time I turned to Psalms 139:7

Is there anyplace I can go to avoid Your Spirit?
to be out of Your sight?
If I climb to the sky, You're there!
If I flew on morning's wings
to the far western horizon,
you'd find me in a minute+
You're already there waiting!
Then I said to myself, "Oh, He even sees me in the dark,
at night I'm immersed in the Light!"
It's a fact: darkness isn't dark to you; night and day, darkness and light,
they're all the same to you.

Jesus, Say That Again, You take the valleys and make them into something good for Your glory!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Vulnerable Day

Today was a people day.This morning I met with a friend early, and we had good conversation. I don't meet for coffee anymore, because I quit drinking coffee months ago. It's been weird to not have coffee, because I truly believed it was something that I would never give up. Occasionally, I think about having some, but I haven't yet.
I was challenged today emotionally. I felt tired. And, when I am tired it makes everything seem bigger and a little more twisted. My heart felt very vulnerable, and as I admitted that to some of my friends today, it felt scary. I have built some walls around my heart again, because my heart has been hurt.
 Today as friends prayed over me I knew God was speaking. I was blessed. The pressing of my heart against the heart of Jesus was a refuge to my soul.

Trust in Him at all times, O people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us
Psalms 62:8

Late this afternoon, our son had his parent/student conference. He is in sixth grade, and he did a great job leading. He is so grown up, and he's doing great in school. Both my husband and I are so proud of him. 
And now, it is evening. I feel like being alone. I need rest and time with Jesus. It is Spring break, so I will be getting some of that. Praise God for breaks and time for restoration. I am praying for restoration in my brokenness, wisdom upon my lips, courage in my heart, truth within every gap, courage within my heart, discernment deeply rooted, and the power of His Spirit to be like wild fire within and around me.
Jesus, I continue to come before Your Throne and Say That Again to You!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Confidence

For the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught. Proverbs 3:26

This is the verse I focused on this morning. Then, I moved on to more versus about confidence like the one in Hebrews 10: 35:

Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 

It seems to me that everything comes back to God. When I am able to sacrifice my self-confidence to Him, He steps in. Then, with His confidence I walk by faith each day, pressing into Him believing that He will do what He has promised me He said He would do. I will accomplish all that He said I will accomplish, because He said so, and His confidence lives within me, and He has promised that He will keep my foot from being caught!

Sometimes, I feel caught up in obstacles along the way. I can choose to press on, knowing the reward will be great. This is a very busy season for me right now, God has opened many doors that I have been praying about; it's exciting to me. It's also a little overwhelming to me. It has challenged my faith on some levels too, and my need for confidence. I have yearned for more time alone, to press into God and hear His direction. I have longed for extra support on the vision I see, and felt like God is moving me towards something even bigger.

I may not ever know exactly what the bigger picture is, but I know there is one, and God is asking me speak into it. I know I cannot do it, so I have to trust and believe that He will be my confidence and then He will speak through me. He will love through me, and I will be His vessel. I choose to obey Him and say yes.

Jesus. I Say That Again, be my Confidence now and everyday!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Book

This morning I saw an article on Face Book about a children's book that I use to read to my children. The book is about a mother that always sneaks into her sons room and rocks him after he is asleep at night. She continues to do this even after he is an adult and move away from home.  Some people find the book creepy, but the article told the back story on why the author wrote the book. His wife had experienced a stillbirth and he wrote the book in memory of his lost child. It was very touching.
One of my sons especially loved this book, and I read it to him a lot. One day when he was reading the book to his child he sent me a text telling me how much he loved me and his fond memory of me reading to him. It made me cry.
The love of a mother holding her child at any age is never creepy, at least I don't think so. It is tender and heart felt. It is the way God holds me deep within His heart, all the time. He sings over me, just like the song in the book "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always...."  And, it meant so much to me that day when my son recognized the love I felt through reading him a book like that. He wants his own child to know that too.
Jesus, thank you for your love. It is forever and it is good. It is in your heart and it lives in me. I am captured in Your Hands forever. Say That Again!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Compassion

My day was really good. Fur Ball and I stayed home all day; it was quiet. I spent most of my morning reading my Bible, and writing in my journal. The word I am focusing on right now is compassion. 
I think to be a truly compassionate person, one must understand the compassion of Jesus. And, to be a compassionate person, I think too that I need to integrate that compassion of Jesus into my life, so that His compassion becomes my own. So, as I read through my Bible today, I also began to pray that the compassion of Jesus would flow through me.
There have been times in my life that I have believed my actions to be compassionate, but in reality, I don't think they really were. Not the compassion of Jesus anyway. Compassion is an action, not just a feeling. Compassion moves my faith forward, and builds my heart into wise strength and discerning love.
As I paged through my Bible this morning I was blown away by the depth of compassion my God has for me! He has always had for His people! He does not withhold His compassion from me!

You, O Lord, will not with hold Your compassion from me, your loving kindness and your truth will continually preserve me. Psalms 40:11

Just as my God does not with hold His loving kindness and His compassion from me, I too desire to treat my fellow man exactly the same way. I need the compassion of Jesus to flow through me and to preserve me, so I will continually live in His truth. 
Jesus Say that Again!

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Trust Journey

Trust is big for me, and I've been reading about it in my Bible the last few weeks. I know that when a trust has been broken; it takes a long time for that wound to heal. Sometimes I have wanted to simply will myself to just trust again after being hurt, but I have found that I cannot. I have to continually bring the broken pieces to God and tell him what is going on inside my heart, and wait for him to put me back together. I take steps forward, and then steps back. I continue to ask him to chisel away at any walls of protection I have built, and slowly the wound heals.

I see that in my effort to protect myself there is often silence. The walls around me have closed my mouth from being vulnerable, because I do not trust. Silence is not always golden. Silence, I think, can be hurtful. It can be salt to more wounds. I have to ask myself, "What am I afraid of?"

One of the trust verses I read in the Bible answered that for me:

When I get really afraid
I come to you in trust.
I'm proud to praise God;
fearless now, I trust in God.
What can mere mortals do?
Psalms 56:3

Sometimes I am afraid of what man will do or I'm afraid of the pain someone else could inflict upon my heart. Sometimes I am afraid they won't keep their word. Sometimes, I'm afraid to take the risk of getting my heart ripped apart. 

But then, I have to come back to this verse and God is telling me that if I trust in him, man will not have this kind of power over me. I can bring all my pain to him, and he will put all the broken pieces back together and make me whole. Maybe I will not trust in the same way, but I will step forward in his love and trust again because there is no fear in his love. 

I will continue to ask Jesus to put his trust and his love in me. I want him to Say That Again to me, "What can mere mortals do?" 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Pulling of my Heart

Last Thursday I volunteered at a training for human trafficking. This is a topic I have been reading about for sometime now, and it is not pretty. The training I went to was for law enforcement and hoteliers. Both law enforcement and hoteliers need to learn to work together to stop human traffickers, so this was imperative in bringing awareness to what they should look for.
For me, it was also informative, but very exhausting. by the time I arrived home that evening I felt as if there was nothing left to give. I was so thankful for my own children, and my own life, yet felt such a grief for the lives of so many missing children that are trafficked.
The next day when I awoke, I was still tired and couldn't stop thinking about some of the stories of the girls that had been trafficked. My heart felt heavy and I wanted to cry. I asked God to shine light on this horrible darkness, and lead me in his direction. But, I felt very sad.
My husband and I had a day planned together, so it was not a good time for me to feel sad! We went out for breakfast after dropping our kids off at school, and he asked me about the training. But, I didn't want to talk about it. I wanted to curl up in a ball and go to sleep. We ate our breakfast, and then we drove back to the safety of our home. The entire time I was praying to God for a lifting of the sorrow I was feeling.
We napped when we got home, and it was wonderful. When I woke up, there was such relief. Throughout the day, I continued to think about the training, and God would bring a verse I recently read in Luke to mind:

Don't be upset, just trust me and everything will be alright. Luke 8:50

It is easy to trust when things are good, but when it is difficult to explain the tragedy, the cruelty, the loss, the slavery, then trusting becomes a much bigger challenge. When a mother looses her child to a pimp and cannot find her because she has been taken and sold, trusting God is no easy task. 
When I think of the love of Jesus and the calling he has given me, sometimes I feel afraid. How will I be able to walk into the places he has called me? He is telling me to not be upset, but to trust him, yet this is upsetting! This is not alright! I know that he loves me and he rescues and he sends me out to rescue and show compassion and bring his love. Oh, how I need to trust that through it all it will be alright!
Jesus, Say That Again, it will be alright!