Thursday, August 23, 2007

An Invitation

Ladies of JPBC I want to encourage you to attend with me the Women of Faith Conference. It will be an investment of time and monies that will pay back in inspiration, laughter and pure divine delight not to mention the fellowship between those ladies willing to go on the adventure. I have had the privledge to attend several of these conferences and am always glad I did. The stories I could tell! Let’s just say one said adventure involves tattoos, running out of gas, a found license plate and a “sign.” I know those fellow sojourners out there are having a time remembering our adventure with our Lord. This particular journey was a life changing event for my very good friend Erin. Maybe she will share on the comment page how God can use such an event to get our attention and our hearts by captivating us with His love. I will need to know very soon if you will be attending so please consider taking a ride with me and our Lord.

PS Erin, Jeanette, Donna if you want to attend with us you are more than welcome….

Just thinking....

Whew, what a busy summer. Today there are so many different and varied thoughts going on in this small brain of mine. First, today we took the kids to Discovery Place and was reminded again what an awesome genius our Creator God is! We saw the complexity of how our own human bodies work to the outlandish and colorful creatures of the deep and learned about the laws of nature that God put into place. I stand amazed at His power but also His creativity and yes some creatures cause me to wonder about His sense of humor and adventure. You, O El Elohim are the One and Only Creator God of all things seen and unseen! I give you glory.

Secondly, As I listened to the narrator of the IMAX show describe how the baby in the womb has hands that begin as webs then are “sculpted” into hands with fingers, I was struck with the choice of word he used, “sculpted.” Our Lord did just that, He personally put clay into His big and glorious yet tender and caring hands and sculpted each of us personally into His workmanship. We are His personal work of art. I am and you are a masterpiece! For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephes. 2:10

Thirdly, I have been thinking about 7 people lately especially two. On our Mission Trip to Altoona, PA we labored physically during the day in a major heat wave and then we did VBS during the evening hours. I have to confess after looking at the facts: 1) they had never done VBS before 2) their active membership was maybe 10 3) 3 other churches in the community were doing VBS the same week and 4) we were out of the Bible belt, I had doubts about the turnout. I prayed for God to send us kids. He did! The first night we only had one little girl, the second night we had 7! The next night we had 18! God is very good. We had 6 pray to receive Christ and I saw the Light come upon them. One young boy who had prayed to receive Christ brought his twin sister back the next night and said to me, “Will you tell that story about Jesus again because my sister doesn’t know that Jesus died for her sins?” Wow! A young girl named Chloe, who prayed to receive Christ, was so excited about her decision and I can only describe her as a sponge. She went home to tell her parents about her decision only to be told by them she wasn’t allowed to return. Woe! She has been on my mind. In fact I can’t control the tears flowing even now. I know this, I will see her again; but between now and then I pray for Chloe. Will you join me in praying for Chloe? The other person lying heavy on my heart is Doe. She was a member of the church and truly used by God as the instrument to bring children to the VBS. She hung around each night and just watched, listened and engaged us in conversation. She is a lovely young lady who found Christ later in life and is by all accounts sold out to Him. She told me that it was such a refreshment and encouragement just to be with all of us from JPBC. You see being a member of such a small church she doesn’t really have fellowship. She craves Christian friendships and Christian conversations. I can’t imagine her yearning and longing. I have been praying for Doe, will you join me in praying as well?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

How great is our God!

That all may see how great is our God!

Two young men changed forever because they heard the voice of God and responded with obedience and devotion.

All see how great is our God!

One young lady wanted so bad to hear the voice of God and she did. He opened her eyes to the way she had treated others and how it displeased Him and wanted more for her. She responded with I hear and will obey!

All see how great is our God!

Another young lady heard God say that the life of selflessness is for her and not the way of selfishness. She heard and she too responded with obedience.

All see how great is our God!

Yet another young lady went to her knees weeping no matter she was surrounded by 700 peers! She wanted to know for sure she was His. She wanted to walk with Him as her Lord. She arose in rededicated devotion and commitment to the Lover of her soul!

All see how great is our God!

Yet another young lady stood weeping in the midst of her peers wanting more of Him and less of her. She rededicated herself to Him. She arose with great joy that truly made her shine…she hasn’t stopped shining yet!

All see how great is our God!

Another young man confessed that He had been lax in his relationship with His God. He admitted that He hadn’t been reading His Word as he had wanted to. He recommitted to read with renewed passion!

All see how great is our God!

Yet another young man admitted He hadn’t followed the Lord in the ways He should. He recommitted to following Him closer than He had in the past.

All see how great is our God!

Another young man’s eyes were opened to how others were looking up to him and how he wanted to be a good example. He is also prayerfully considering God’s call. I’m praying for you!

All see how great is our God!

Two other young men had the time of their life. Their eyes were opened to God in ways they had never experienced before. I always saw smiles on their faces as they met each new and strange adventure!

All see how great is our God!

God orchestrated events that led me to Sherry S. who after talking to her was led to compel Allen and Dena to take her for their “Track B”. God showed up (even when Allen slept through the alarm) and gave them affirmation and much wisdom to digest!

All see how great is our God!

God orchestrated over a year ago that we would have Rhett as our Bible study host. He also gave him the Scripture two weeks before (to memorize) that he would need to share with our group when I asked him to do so without any time to prepare….God had already prepared him! God used Him to let our girls know they were beautiful and “modest is hottest!”

All see how great is our God!

The New Sanctuary committee had a goal of $50,000 in pledges and change given. They received more than that.

All see how great is our God!

This morning I was sitting under my broom tree and God spoke in His still small voice….”I’m not done with you yet, not get up and eat for the journey before you is great. He provided the manna and I am full! Overflowing!

All see how great is our God!

Over and over in the OT God said I am doing this or that so that “you shall know that I am the LORD .” That is my prayer through the journey God has for JPBC. We may know He is LORD. That all we talk to may know He is LORD. That the world looking on may know that He is LORD. This is the reason this song rang true to my heart He wants all to see how great He is. Let us not be lax in our telling and sharing how great is our God as we take this journey to our “promised land.”

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Monday, June 11, 2007

You know how pastors always get on their sheep when they fight change? I had my own challenge today with change. This was the second year that the pastors conference had a special session for the wives. I love hearing my heroes preach, I have enjoyed sitting with my husband for a change so I had the spirit of resistance to attending the wives session. I am so glad I fought the mood!

I was blessed and challenged. The theme was Strength for the journey.

The afternoon session, we were all back together again. I was blessed to meet up with our good friends the Ryder's. The speakers, Dr. Michael Catt & Dr. James MacDonald were used by God to speak to my hungry heart.

The evening session was even better and my faith was challenged through God's messages by Dr. J. D. Grear, Dr. James Merritt & Dr. Johnny Hunt. All of this and the great music as well!!

I have been blessed and have so much to ponder, pray and confess.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

SBC Pastor's Conference: Sunday, June 7, 2007

I love the Pastor's conference! It has always been a highlight of my year. A time to be challenged and renewed in my calling. I am hoping that this year will be no different. Tonight was good. I was actually moved by the message in a particular song than any of the messages. The song was, "How Great is Our God." There is a line in the song that says, "That all may see our God is great." This is my prayer for Jackson Park Baptist Church that we as His people would see and know His greatness to the extent of abundant and lavish praise of Him that others would see and know our God is great.

This reminded me of our 2nd Ladies Night Out. The heart talk was taken from the prayer of Jesus for each of us. (John 17:20-26) That night I made a commitment that I would begin to pray in agreement with Jesus' own desires for us. I hope that you too will commit with me to pray for Jackson Park (or your church) in line with Jesus' own prayer. Below I have paraphrased what Jesus desired of us and the results He desires.

1. Make us one with each others
2. Make us one with Him
3. Make us perfect (complete)
4. This side of heaven we be where Jesus
5. Let us see Jesus' glory
5. Divine love be in us
6. Christ be in us

1. That the world will know He is God
2. That the world will know He loves them

The results of Jesus' prayer being answered in our lives as a corporate body is that the world will see and know our God is great! God is so good to remind us of our commitments. Before going to bed tonight I will pray and maybe someone out there will be praying with me and Jesus.

Saturday, June 9 ,2007

Before our journey to the 2007 Southern Baptist Pastor's Conference and Convention Jon and I were blessed with a visit from Chad, Amanda and Clay. What a joy and delight for Jon and I to watch our own son as a father. He is a wonderful dad! This week has been full of memories each of us having our own favorite. Jon's is probably playing kick-ball with Clay or watching him play in the sprinkler. Chad and Amanda's is most likely will be the time alone they had with each other. Mine is definitely the night I taught Clay to see lightning bug and catch them. We ended the evening swinging together on my front porch swing. We talked till it got really dark; that's how Clay described it. Memories are worth making and remembering.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Wrong Perceptions

How many times have we had the wrong perception of the circumstances surrounding us? How often do we swallow the lie that it’s all about us? In the midst of loss, pain and tribulation, what do we believe about God? Do you believe that there is no hope and God must be against you? Do we forget all the blessings that are and have been poured out all around us? Do we forget who He is? Do we forget who He is to us?

Yes loss and tribulations are hard; it hurts when we have losses. Grieving is good and it must be done, but we shouldn’t become dead in the land of the living. We can’t grow bitter and angry. We must not sulk and have pity parties. Why the LORD gives and takes away is beyond what my mind can wrap around. This I do know God NEVER takes away for our harm or defeat. There is more to this season of pain, loss or tribulation than we may know even if we can’t see it. If the enemy can keep us in the pit of despair we’ll never experience the good God wants to bring out of our losses; He does want to bring good out of our losses. He does and He will if we cooperate. We must get our eyes off of ourselves.

Looking at two Biblical figures will show how wrong our perspectives can be. Job and Naomi both thought that God was against them. Yet in Naomi’s life God is up to something huge! He’s up to opening the way for the Gentiles to know His salvation. He’s up to providing the way for man to be reconciled to Almighty God. This is world changing and life transforming stuff. It’s all about the LORD”S Christ. She thought that God was against her when in fact He was very much for her and had a great future and hope not only for her but for all of us.

Then there was Job. He too began to believe that life as he had known it was all but over. He thought that God was against him as well when in fact God was using him as an example for faith God Himself had chosen Job to show Satan that our faith can be steadfast in the midst of tribulations. Job’s faith in His Redeemer that he knew he would see face to face is a beacon of strength for us. Job showed us that we are to love our God not because of what He gives or can give but because He is God.

What are your circumstances at this very moment? Are you feeling like God is against you? Are you feeling hopeless and without a future? I have encouragement for you today. Those feelings are all based on a lie! Don’t allow the enemy to lead you to defeat and steal your joy. The Lord is never against His children. He always works towards our best interest. He is our Father; therefore He never operates apart from His Fatherly love for us. Remember you are apart of something that is bigger than yourself. Cooperate with the flow of His hand and witness amazing things unfold.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Home Sick

Have you ever been there? Away from your home, enjoying the time you are away, yet an inner yearning to be home. Here I am in this very strange place. I was not made for this place. It is a place that beckons me to be one with it. This place constantly reminds me of who I was and seduces me to believe I am home when I am not. No matter how many say, "You have a home here," my heart cries out, "It can't be so!"

Have you ever been in a crowed place and found yourself lonely? Have you ever had that strange feeling that something wasn't right but for the life of you couldn't figure out what it was? What about a time when everything was absolutely all in its place and good only to find your heart aching and you don't know why? My answer to all the above is a loud, "Yes!"

Since I met God and Jon I have lived in several different cities other than my hometown of Dallas, TX. Some were: Virginia Beach, VA; Wilmington, DE; Wake Forest, Roxboro & Greensboro, NC; Nigeria, Africa; Johnstown, PA; El Paso, TX and now in Kannapolis, NC. Places that I loved. Each place had its own unique qualities that captivated me over and over again. I thank God for each of these special places. El Paso had the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen. I was told that the sunrises were just as pretty; I told them that I would take their word for it. Nigeria had the most awesome display of lightning. Johnstown had glorious snow and the mountains would blaze with the brilliant reds, oranges and yellows. Wilmington had rolling hills and great museums. North Carolina has back roads & miles of trees. Now in Kannapolis God has blessed me (for now) a great table at a wonderful window that has a birdfeeder and tree right outside the window. I have seen Blue Jays, Blue Birds, Cardinals, Woodpeckers, Pigeons, Owl, Hawks, Wrens and others. Again, each of these places has great beauty and blessings not to mention the memories made at each place. Each has brought beautiful friendships. Yet, I never felt like I was home. You may be thinking that I never felt at home because my home is Dallas and that is where all your family is. I do get homesick for my family but never for Dallas. After being away for so long it feels less and less like it once did, home.

So what does my heart ache for and why? I was not created for this place. As the Psalmist cried out in Psalm 84:2 (NKJV) My soul longs, yes, even faints, For the courts of the Lord; My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. I long for the day when I will see Him face to face. I dream of the wedding feast when I will be standing by His side as His glorious Bride. I know that when I'm feeling out of place that it's because He is reminding me I was made for Him and another place. I believe that those strange feelings are His whisper that He longs for me to be with Him as well. You see God is the one that placed that longing in me to begin with. Look at Eccles. 3:11b (NKJV) He has put eternity in their hearts. Does God long for us? John 14:2-3 (NKJV) In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. [3] And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

I mentioned earlier that I do get homesick for my family. I truly love my Mom, Dad, Sisters, Brother-in-love and nephews. I do have the privilege of calling and even emailing them from time to time. Yet we all know it isn't quite the same thrill as seeing them face to face and embracing them. This is true for us here this side of heaven as well. We have the great privilege of talking to Him and reading His love letter and responding with our own devotion. Still I can only imagine as good as my time with Him is this side of glory what it will be like to wrap my arms around His big beautiful neck and kiss His glorious hands and feet. I can't imagine the thrill it will be to take His big hand into mine and we take our first of many walks trough the field of daisies. I yearn to get out my lengthy list of questions as "God and woman at table set down." Even so Lord Jesus come now; I am all Yours!

Saturday, February 17, 2007


In light of the upcoming events for the women at JPBC I wanted to repost this blog on mentoring.

I have been in ministry for 26 years. I'm going to confess that for all those years I have seen very little of Titus II operating within the local church. I haven't seen older men teaching and encouraging the younger men in the ways of LORD nor have I seen younger women teaching and training younger women. I can only count one who sought to mentor me intentionally, an older woman whose name was Carolyn Badry. One of the greatest things she ever did for me was to challenge me to read. What Happens When Women Pray, by Evelyn Christensen. She even loaned me her copy! At another time, maybe I'll share how that alone impacted my life and created miraculous events that still awe me to this day. I'm not saying that there weren't others that I learned from. There were a few, but what I learned from them I learned at a distance, by watching.

I personally didn't grow up in a Christian home. I was completely clueless when it cam to parenting and marriage in general much less in the ways of God. I fumbled and stumbled throughout. I learned too much the hard way. Oh, how I longed for someone to come along and walk with me, teaching, training and encouraging me. Listen, I know now that there was no one that would have had all the answers or would have been perfect. That wasn't what I needed or even wanted. I needed someone who loved the LORD and His Word so that it overflowed to me. Someone who knew Him longer and deeper than myself and who would share a few tips along the journey.

I wonder how many other women were looking for the same things. I also wonder if the ways of God had been practiced within the Church, if we'd have the problems we have today reaching out to the younger generations. I wonder if the divorce rate would be what it is today in the Church if Titus II were applied. What I have seen in most churches is a caretaker mentality, (just take care of ME!) Not at all the picture Christ gave us for the Church.

Ephes. 4:15-16 (NKJV)

…but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head--Christ-- from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

Every one of us must be doing our share in edifying the body of Christ. A lot of the talking I’ve heard has been full of everything but love; critical, slanderous, malicious or empty and shallow. We are all called to continue to grow in Christ; and to do our part in helping others grow in Christ.

We have seen that we are all called to love the Church through edifying the Body. We have also seen that God specifically has told us to whom and what we women are to speak in love. We share Woman to Woman and Man to Man. I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to figure out the wisdom in doing this God’s way. God also gave us some starting points:

Titus 2:3-5 (NKJV)

…teachers of good things -- that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands…

The question that comes next is how. Sometimes I am so overwhelmed with love for the Lord that I can’t contain myself. I love how He loves me. I love how He knows me. As I was reading Titus II again He whispered two different verses to me. At first I responded with, “okay, Lord I will look at those later.” Then I realized He was still teaching me about Titus II. Read the following passages and then I’ll share what the Lord was saying to me.

Matthew 28:19-20 (NKJV)

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen

Deut. 6:6-9; 20-25 (NKJV)

"And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

"When your son asks you in time to come, saying, 'What is the meaning of the testimonies, the statutes, and the judgments which the Lord our God has commanded you?' then you shall say to your son: 'We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, and the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand; and the Lord showed signs and wonders before our eyes, great and severe, against Egypt, Pharaoh, and all his household. Then He brought us out from there, that He might bring us in, to give us the land of which He swore to our fathers. And the Lord commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that He might preserve us alive, as it is this day. Then it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to observe all these commandments before the Lord our God, as He has commanded us.'

The Lord was saying that we make things much harder than they need to be. In the great commission He says that we are to, “Go.” Now a more accurate translation is, as you go. As we go we are to make disciples and teach them how to obey. As we go we are to intentionally share our faith and then continue to share our faith in discipling. In the Deuteronomy passage we see it in reference to parenting, in our case think spiritual parenting or mentoring if you prefer. We intentionally look for the opportunity to share with love as we are sitting, walking, etc. My mentor Carolyn Badry didn’t walk up to me one day and say, “I want to mentor you” or, “I want to teach you a few things.” She invited me into her home and just talked. She shared books with me that had meant something to her and helped her to grow in the Lord. She prayed with me when she knew there was a need. She encouraged me to exercise my gift that I didn’t even know I had; by asking me to teach her class. She edified me and I am forever grateful.

I see three steps in Deuteronomy. Step one: We love the Lord and His Word so much that we become one with Him and His Word that it over flows from us so that others notice it. We can’t share opinions or lead in wrong paths we must know, live and share His truth. Step Two: We intentionally look for the opportunities to share with younger women and we do so diligently. Step Three: When we are asked questions we willingly share our own experiences and encounters with the Lord, the victories and the failures. All we do, we do out of sincere and genuine love for them and our precious Lord and Savior Jesus the LORD’S Christ.

I have challenged the older to seek out the younger but you who are young in the ways of LORD, newly married or a young parent can seek out the older, wiser woman. I recently had a young woman who God has challenged to lead the women of her church to email me and ask me to mentor her and give her guidance. How thrilling for me!

I would love to hear your thoughts on Titus II. Maybe those of you who have mentored would like to share ways you have intentionally mentored others.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Lessons from Clay

Jon (P-Paw) and I (MeMaw) had the joy and delight to spend a week with our grandson Clay. He is the most adorable and charming 2-year old. If you question me just ask those who had him in nursery. I believe he stole the show or maybe controlled the show. When we walked into the nursery room, Clay was looking up at Madison and pointed to her and then a chair and said, “Sit.” To my surprise Madison sat. Clay then backed up and began tossing the ball to Madison. Definitely a “D” personality. Donna told me that he would just begin to laugh and Kendra would ask him, “What is so funny?” His response, “I do not know.” Sometimes we just need to rejoice with laughter.

Clay loves to pray! At first he didn’t want to hold hands and pray at the table…it wasn’t the praying he objected to just the holding of hands. He soon caught on though and would hold out his hands and say, “Pray now.” This happened numerous times during our meals. Now what do you say to that, “No Clay, we have already prayed?” Of course not so we prayed often during our meals. What caught my attention was how often his mind would think of praying and how often mine didn’t. I want God to be on my mind like praying was on Clays.

One day while traveling in the car I was entertaining Clay by playing with his feet. To my surprise he grabbed my hand and said, “Pray.” I prayed. Then Clay said, “No MeMaw, P-Paw pray.” P-Paw prayed. Then as I continued to play with his feet, he said, “MeMaw pray for Clay’s feet.” So MeMaw prayed for Clay’s feet, “God guide His steps and keep him from going places that could be harmful, God keep them physically safe from stings, and hurtful objects, Guide His steps to You, Lord. A while later, Clay continued to chatter away and I sarcastically said, I think we need to pray for Clay’s mouth. Clay with great excitement held out his hand and said, “MeMaw pray for Clay’s mouth.” With humility and shame I prayed, “God please give Clay wisdom to say words that are kind and helpful to people and not hurtful. Help Clay to speak with kindness; saying ‘thank-you’, ‘your welcome’ and ‘excuse me’ (like he did at Chic-Fil-A to the cow that bumped his chair); Amen.” Clay excitedly responds, “AMEN.”

How often moms are you praying for your children and grandchildren? Are you praying for their feet, eyes, mouths and hands? What kind of blessing would be placed on your children to hear your prayers for them. Take a lesson from Clay, pray often. Also, remember Deut. 6 and intentionally seek out opportunities to pray for all things.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Jesus my High Priest and Refuge

Don’t you love the Old Testament? I have learned an important lesson with the study of the Old Testament. Where the Old Testament deals with the physical it is for us a lesson in the spiritual. For example, today I was reading from Joshua 20 and found where God had provided a City of Refuge for those who had accidentally killed someone. They still had to take responsibility for their actions and there were still consequences they would pay, nevertheless they had a place they could run to for safety. When they arrived at the city of refuge they were to stand at the gate and state their case. I can imagine it would be something like this. “I have killed a man.” “I wish I hadn’t, wish I could take it all back, but I can’t.” “I am so sorry for what I have done.” “Please, help me.” At this time the elders of the city were to allow the killer (sinner) in for refuge. It was a safe place to stay until he was ultimately pardoned and set free. When did that occur? Ah, here you will see the beauty come together for you and I on this side of the Old Testament. He was ultimately pardoned and set free to go “home” when the high priest at the time died.

Ponder with me.

What was God doing? He was foreshadowing His Son, our High Priest!

We are all guilty of sin. All were born into sin; it is our nature. For those of us who experience Godly sorrow over our sin, accept responsibility for our sin and by faith accept the invitation to travel to the “City of Refuge,” we find just that refuge. Jesus Christ is our Refuge!

As I was reading I thought of two other ways that Jesus has provided a refuge for me this side of heaven. First, He gave me a church, a church family to be exact. As that killer (sinner) walked around that city you know who he met? That’s right; others just like him seeking refuge. It is a wonderful thing to be a part of a church family; a “city” of other sinners saved by a Refuge. Our church family is to be a refuge, a place where we love and help one another. I am so thankful to be apart of Jackson Park Baptist Church, they have loved and welcomed me as one of them. Second, the other refuge is His Holy Spirit. When I stay within the boundaries He has set up for me I am safe from my enemy’s attacks.

Because our High Priest died on our behalf we are free to go home. This isn’t just any home it is the home we were created for. It is a home that our High Priest is waiting to welcome us to with open arms. I probably won’t make it into His arms; I imagine I will be a complete mess at the bottom of His feet. So as we see the day approaching let’s be found encouraging each other in the knowledge that we are getting closer to our ultimate pardon; when we can go home and be completely free from the presence of sin! Hallelujah!

Take time to ponder with me today all the marvelous acts of our great and mighty God!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Bragging on God!

The following is a long summary of the events in Brian and Laura Mitchell's journey with God. It is worth the reading.
The Lord has been so good to us! He is always faithful despite the way we are...even when we sometimes lose our focus on him, he remains faithful. This year has been a roller-coaster and the only reason i am here writing this is because of the grace of God. In June, Brian was in the hospital for 2 weeks for shingles which lead to meningitis and then he had his gallbladder taken out. During this stay, his liver started to swell b/c of all the medication he was given to control the meningitis and shingles. He suffers from genetic high cholesterol and triglycerides so he has to take medication for this daily in order to control it. Because of the aggravated liver situation, they had to discontinue all his meds to let the liver rest. He came home and 5 days later, I had my gallbladder removed. I had been having problems with it for a while and was progressively worsening. I was feeling so bad that i went ahead and scheduled the surgery as soon as he was out of the hospital. I laid in bed and recovered for 4 full days which was very difficult for me. I am not one to stay in bed and do nothing for more than 1 know, every now and then we all need to relax and rest for a day. More than one day, is too much for me. Well, even though i am a nurse, i don't follow doctor's orders very well when it comes to me but now i know the Lord was preparing me for what was to follow which was the reason i actually followed doctor's orders (directed to my health) for probably the first time in my life...coincidence? you say, GODincidence! He knew that I needed to be physically ready for what was to come. 5 days after my surgery, we had a family night and watched movies and spent quality time with the kids. The following morning, Brian went to have blood drawn for lab work so that he could be put back on his meds the next day. Brian began to feel bad in the afternoon and he went to bed early b/c he felt a little under the weather. The next day, on July 7th, he woke up feeling awful and with alot of abdominal pain and chest pain. I called his doctor as soon as they were open and he told me to immediately take him to the hospital as his blood work results showed his cholesterol and triglycerides were extremely high. The highest he had ever seen! At the emergency room, he was diagnosed with pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) as a result of his high cholesterol and triglycerides. Things very quickly started to spiral down....he was admitted to the intermediate care unit and 12 hours later he was in ICU as his health was very rapidly declining. He was in so much pain that they couldn't control it with the high doses of pain medications they were giving him and he became so dehydrated on that first day that they could not correct it fast enough. He was going into shock as his heart rate was very high and his blood pressure dropping. His lungs failed and they had to put him on a ventilator. In less than 48 hours, he went from spending time with us at home, having fun and enjoying life to being in ICU on life support. His kidneys later failed and the next morning on July 9th, the ICU doctor told me he only had hours to prepare myself for the reality that he was not going to make it to see the next day. Of course i was in extreme shock! I couldn't believe what was happening. My first action was that I prayed and asked the Lord not take the love of my life, the father of our children away yet. I knew he would be in a much better place, but I couldn't come to terms with it. I begged him not to take him. In my own selfish nature, I didn't want to lose brian even though he would be in a much better place...right there with our Lord. I later began to pray that His will be done in Brian's life. If it is his will that brian be in glory with him, then how could I not want that to be done? I prayed and prayed and asked God for his will to be done even though I knew and He knew that I still wanted Brian here on earth with us, that I would accept whatever his plans were because I knew that God would be guiding me every step of the way. Well, the doctor was wrong. Brian lived to see the next day. The rest of the medical team would talk to me and tell me to pray and pray and pray because God was the only one that could save him and give him life. I would respond by telling them that i was already doing that and that we had many others praying as well. They responded by saying, "keep it up and do not stop praying!" For the next 5 days, he was severely critical. But the Lord had given me peace and I knew that he was going to make it through. I would read His word and I kept being led to Psalms 46:10..."Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." Suddenly, his condition worsened even more...he developed blood clots in his legs and 2 traveled into his right lung. One clot in the lung is enough to kill you even if you are healthy. Here brian is...critically ill already in lung failure and still has 2 clots in one lung. They could not give him blood thinners to dissolve the clots because his pancreas was hemorrhaging and he could bleed to death. All we could do was sit and wait and pray that the lungs would not dislodge from where they were. Things looked very, very grim. A poor prognosis and nothing could be done to treat it. This was it...he wasn't going to make it. We all continued praying and I kept being led to Psalms 46:10. "Be still and know that I am God." I'm starting to go nuts here ya know?! I'm asking God, "Lord, you told me he was going to be okay and make it through this. What did I not understand?" Still, all I heard was...."Be still and KNOW that I am God." The next few days were very touch and go. Infections came and went, he had a total of 8 blood transfusions, they had to insert a feeding tube and became insulin dependent when he wasn't even a diabetic. They had to insert a tracheostomy because he was going to be on a ventilator long-term because his lungs would not respond. Some improvements in certain areas and worse in others until finally after 3 weeks in ICU, things started to look better. He was improving and they moved him out of ICU after 4 weeks there. He was unable to breathe on his own, unable to stand, unable to walk, unable to speak, unable to eat and had lost 50 lbs! He was transferred to a rehab hospital still on the ventilator where they had planned on him being there at least 1 month. His admission criteria to the rehab hospital was to be re-evaluated in 1 month for a longer inpatient stay. On Monday, August 7th, he was admitted to the rehab hospital. The respiratory therapists began to wean him off the ventilator and he was breathing on his own by Tuesday! They expected his tracheostomy to last several weeks until he would be able to breathe without it. On Wednesday, the tracheostomy was removed and was told it would take about 1-2 weeks to heal. His would was healed 2 days later!!!! Praise GOD! On Tuesday, physical therapy came and began their services and began teaching him to walk again with them completely supporting his weight. They expected him to walk on his own with a cane in approx. 3weeks. On Friday, 3 days later, he was completely walking on his own unassisted! Praise the Lord!! He was eating, talking, walking and breathing all on his own in 3 days! His rehab stay was expected to be at least 6-8 weeks and he was discharged one week after he was admitted there! Praise the Lord! God is so good! All the staff was amazed at how great he was doing and they saw the miracle happen right before their eyes! Brian came home and about one month later was diagnosed with pancreatic pseudocysts that had developed. He had surgery on Sept. 25th to remove the pseudocysts that were in his abdomen. The surgeon had said there was somewhere around 8-9 of them. He was in the hospital for 6 weeks because his abdomen was left open to heal from the inside out due to the complex surgery he had. While there, he developed an abscess (large pocket of pus) in his abdomen. The infection cleared up and was eventually discharged home. He came home once again on Oct. 28th and what a joyful reunion it was! I have had to pack his open wound every day, sometimes twice a day to allow the abscess and drainage to drain and the fact that it never became infected again is in itself a miracle!!! He was home for Thanksgiving and we had so much to be thankful for!! In Brian, we have a true miracle!! He was home for Christmas and we had the best Christmas ever. The Lord has been so good to us! His mercy is everlasting! Even though we are sinners, he still remains faithful to us! This summer when Brian was in ICU so very ill, my clothes dryer broke for the 4th time and as I was leaving to go shopping for a new one, not knowing how I could afford it with Brian not having been at work for 6 weeks already, my cousin called me and was bringing over her 5 year old dryer that had never had a single problem for me to have. She had recently purchased a new one just because she had gotten such a great deal on it and had her old dryer sitting in her garage. Her husband and her came over and set it up while I was at the hospital with Brian. What an awesome GOD! My sister took time off work to become my children's second mommy as I was at the hospital all day with Brian so ill! My parents, family, Brian's dad and step-mom, friends and church family were all there to support me and bring me dinner, pray for me and Brian, bring the kids and my sister dinner, and just to be there for us all! I was so amazed at how I felt God's love surround me through so many wonderful and caring people! Pam, i'm talking people from church that I never expected....those of little faith at the business know who I'm talking about. They were ALL there at one point or another. I know that this event has brought the church family together and I just hope and pray that they see and are able to learn through this how amazing and faithful God truly is!! Our financial situation hasn't even been an issue, all praise to Jehovah Jireh! Brian would earn twice my salary and I haven't had to ask anyone for anything because when I begin to worry when finances are dwindling, he sends us a financial blessing in some form or another!! I cannot even begin to put into words how I feel! How blessed we are and how good our Lord is to us!! We have all just been in awe of his works and his glory!!

Brian will be having surgery once again on Saturday, January 5th, as he developed a new pseudocyst and that abscess continues to fill with fluid but it still remains without infection...Praise the Lord!! The surgeon will remove the abscess and pseudocyst, Lord willing. We pray that Brian will come through the surgery well but above all, we pray that God's will be done in Brian's life, whatever that may be. We are so grateful for his blessings for they are many. We have enjoyed each other, the kids and our own little family like we nerve have before. We had taken so many things for granted and we praise God that we are able to look at life a little differently now. We are much happier people and we live to enjoy each day because we really don't know how many days we have left here on earth. Most importantly, we live for Him, because it is because of Him that we are all here. We love to serve God in any way we can, even more so now after this ordeal because we want everyone to know that He still does perform miracles!! We knew it all along but now the world can know it too! When time permits later, remind me down the way, and I'll write you about my "being blameless" situation. I miss your blogs and can't wait til your next one. I'm glad that the Lord has sent you all to your new home and new place of ministry. I will continue praying for you both and I thank God for you as you have shown me his awesome love in a different light than what I knew and I thank you for being his willing and loving servant! God bless you!
Love you,

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I'm Still Here!

Greetings from the great city of Kannapolis! Many of you may have thought I had fallen off the face of the earth. I have been very busy with working long hours right up till we left Dallas then driving in the rain all the way to New York.

What a great joy to spend a day with Grant in his place! I am so proud of him. When I saw his apartment, his very clean and stylish room and then the organized closet; I had to make sure it was my son, Grant. His roommate Kenny said that Grant gets on to him when he leaves things out. This is the same child that brought terror to my heart when I broke down and made him clean his room. I knew I would have 6 loads of laundry to do and a quarter of them would be folded still! I am reminded that nothing is impossible with the LORD. Grant's roommate (Kenny) is 26 and has an 18 month old child and a step daughter who is 6. He has recently been divorced from his wife and seeking full custody of his son. He found his wife doing drugs and is very concerned for his child. Kenny brought his children over while we were visiting and Destiny and KJ immediately began looking for Matt (Grant). I was very proud of Grant and his attention to these two. He has often watched them for Kenny when he has had to go to work. I have no doubt that Grant will be a wonderful father to my five granddaughters!

After I helped Grant put away all the stuff we brought him we left for Virginia. We arrived at Chad's and Amanda's on the 24th; exhausted.

Amanda has made her little apartment a wonderful and cozy home. She and Chad made us a good breakfast and a wonderful Christmas day lunch with all the trimmings. Of course the center of attention was Clay. He has great personality and is very smart. Memaw watched him as he took a bubble bath and he squirted her with water. He laughed and laughed and so did Memaw. On Christmas morning he had unwrapped two presents and opened the third to find a toy to play in the bubble bath. That was it for the day. He wanted to stop and take a bubble bath. "Clay, wants to take a bubble bath." I have included a picture of Clay pleading with his daddy, "Pleaseeeee Daddy." "Clay want to take a bubble bath." "Pleaseeee" Needless to say we had a wonderful time with Clay. And am so very grateful to God for bringing us so much closer to him. They are planning to come the last week in January for a visit.

We left Virginia on the 26th headed to our new home in Kannapolis. We had found out the day before Christmas that we would not be able to get into the parsonage as quickly as we thought. The church in their graciousness were very busy cleaning, painting and steaming the carpets. We found ourselves staying at a hotel for several days and nights. You can imagine our anxiousness to settle down somewhere. Our truck came on the 29th about fours hours late. We did a great many people who showed up to help and we thought we would do it in two days but you know Jon it was all finished within a few hours. All the boxes were left in the garage but the furniture was all in place.

The church had already voted to sell the parsonage. We love the neighborhood so much that we are going to attempt to buy. There is a Dr. and his family directly behind us. They greeted us with banana nut bread. across the side street from us is a Pastor of the Presbyterian church and his family. He and his oder son helped us unload. His gracious wife brought us milk. cereal and juice. We have also met another neighbor who told us we would need a switch for all the kids in the neighborhood. There are bookoos of kids running around. We love the neighborhood! I really like the outside of the parsonage as well. I have a great deck and a front porch; something I have always longed for. The inside is a bit choppy and needs cosmetic updating. I'm up for the challenge and Jon and I have made some plans for what we would do to the house if we can afford to buy the home. We are praying that we can. I really don't want to move again. Jon mentioned all our boxes are unpacked? Ask him who unpacked them.

Grant and Anneen arrived about an hour before the truck arrived. Poor guy didn't even get out of this move. They were able to stay a week with us. During the day Grant drove me on to get every box unpacked. He was making sure he had all his stuff. During the night we played on average three games a night. Grant and I both love playing games so we were having the time of our lives. I regret that I wasn't set up to cook more and do more special things with them both; but they'll be back this summer. We were able to celebrate Grant's birthday with him this year. I made him his traditional cake with lit candles and a song. We spend the day at the big mall and then went out to Red Lobster and treated Grant to his favorite Crab Legs. He and Anneen left on the 6th at 4:30am...just like his dad. I miss him already.

So here I sit in my Holy of Holies; the only room that is completely a mess. My bookshelves didn't take the trip too well so they wound up in the garage for storage. Jon is going to build me new shelves so in the meantime they are stacked up against a wall. So here I sit. Transition is hard. Jon of course has moved right into his office, having meetings, preaching and teaching. So here I sit. I am so very thankful for my God's deliverance and His gracious provision. I truly see GREAT things ahead for Jackson Park. Here I sit. Do you get the feeling that it is hard for me to sit? I'm about to explode. I wanna teach so bad I literally have an ache. I want to shout and declare the goodness of my God so bad, I can hardly contain myself. Here I sit, contained. God has been so active in my journey through the desert and then the valley. I have learned much. At times He was overwhelming me with all I needed to learn. Yet, here I sit. Even as I type (off the cuff) I am overflowing with love for Him and the desire that all would know HE IS ALIVE! Yes, here I sit....but I am not sitting alone. In the LORD's field of daisy's there is a small table where we sit across from one another. He breaks His bread and shares it with me. I am full yet wanting more. This is not my imagination nor am I day dreaming, He is alive. I sit with Him and I am satisfied.

From our time together today, I know that He is sending me out that eyes may be opened. He wants people to 1.) RECEIVE....His forgiveness, Himself 2.) GIVE UP.....their rights to themselves and 3.) others. Please pray for me to know when, where and how.