The Significance of 6! Jesus and Lego’s

There’s something very significant about turning 6! Who knew?!? I anticipated planning a party, buying supplies and singing “Happy Birthday” to our boy. What I didn’t know was that he would become a Christian and learn to build Lego sets alone.

Just a week before Hank’s 6th birthday we went through the Roman’s Road with him:

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation of everyone that believeth…” Romans 1:16

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God…” Romans 3:23

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans: 623

“But God commented his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Romans 10:9

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:13

As I read each verse and paused, looking up at Hank to see what he thought, he professed with his own words that he believed.

I have both joy and trepidation for my son. He will live the rest of his life with the perfect intercessor. He will have the Word of God to rely upon. But, he will also be guaranteed suffering by which the Lord will proof his faith like silver in the fire.

Dear Sweet Hank,

As your momma, I cannot be more proud of your acceptance, belief and confession of faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Don’t take it lightly, you will need your savior dearly at times of suffering and even in times of abounding joy. Your daddy momma and brother are here for you no matter what, to point you back to Jesus. I pray you will read the living Word of God and from it draw strength for the great purpose God has for you.

love,

Momma

On Hank’s 6th birthday, March 15th 2016, we went to Barnes and Noble bookstore and purchased The Action Bible so Hank can begin his daily discipline of reading the Word of God. I am proud of him.

IMG_20160315_142944_edit
Hank holding his new Bible on his 6th Birthday

The following Saturday, Hank had his birthday party as planned (despite my having recently recovered from pneumonia and three of us fighting head colds). He had a wonderful time celebrating with 10 of his good friends at the Dojo where he takes Karate. I must say I really enjoyed it too. There’s a cool joy that comes from watching your child having fun. It trumps almost every kind of joy I can think of (beside the Joy that comes from the Lord, that one wins hands down). Hank received wonderful gifts too. Among them were three lego sets.

Pardon my tangential backstory for a moment:

Several months ago, I asked Hank how he and I can connect more and he said he really likes building Lego sets with me. I took that seriously and decided I would purposely help him with his future sets. I want to do whatever I can to foster meaningful life giving relationship with my boys because I know the benefit will be more than I can measure with regards to their sense of assuredness in life. Plus, I really Super Duper love them and want to enjoy them as much as possible.

After the party we went home and started building legos. To my surprise, Hank was doing them all on his own! I was both excited for his new skill and nostalgic.

Have I missed my chance to build lego’s with him!?!?!

Thankfully, he still enjoyed me sitting by his side as I sat in awe of his ability to follow the instructions step-by-step to completion. I love him so much.

6 is significant! Hank has been maturing right before my eyes. I’ve seen him choose to be generous with his brother. When I ask him to do something, without complaint, he helps me (more and more often). He is becoming a light in this world as he learns more and more how to reflect Jesus.

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for the gift of faith. Thank you for bringing Hank to you. I am so very thankful that he will have you to rely upon all the days of his life. I pray Lord for his future family too. Please bless Hank as he grows. I pray he will one day marry a woman who loves you too and together they will see their children love and serve you. Thank you for the gift it is to be Hank’s momma. In you I am delighted and humbled. Amen.

Advertisements

If I was the Devil…

I just listened to this video today.  My heart is heavy for mankind.  We HAVE to get right with Jesus. Before you brush this off as one more Bible thumping, consider what I stand to gain by telling you, you need Jesus.  If I wanted to get for myself, if I were purely evil in motivation, so consumed by my own agenda

well

If I was the Devil…

I’d tell you your “Universe” talk and blatant disregard of God’s commands were good.  I’d support you and sit by smiling and watching.  I’d revel quietly in your agony.  I’d stand by and let you destroy yourself with your ‘new truth’ and your pride.  Then, when you were ruined, you couldn’t blame me because you did it to yourself.

Jesus the God of the Bible, is the way the truth and the life.  Not one of us will get to God except through Jesus.  I cannot omit this from my heart or withhold it from a world so desperately wallowing in filth and ignorance.  So many are completely blind to the perfect completed love of Jesus.  So many are striving for diety’s that do not exist or are constructs of Satan.

From the bottom of my heart I emplor you to get right with Jesus.  Lay it all at his feet and seek Him for what He comnands is good.  Every other compass will not sustain you, will not fulfill you.

God SPOKE all of creation into existence.  What evil has God ever caused you?  Search your heart, why do you hold your hurts against your creator?  Take it all to him, he can handle it.

It is Finished.

Dear Jesus,

I pray for those who wander lost, especially those who think they’ve found their way without you.  I pray for your protection and peace.  Please rescue our nation.  Amen.

My First Devotional, The Secret

Today I am sharing with you the very first devotional I have written.  May God meet you right where you are today.  ❤

True Hope Comes from Christ’s Strength

We don’t muster it ourselves.

We have probably all heard someone say, “I can do all things through Christ.” But do we know the verse that precedes that? What about the words that complete the phrase “I can do all things through Christ”?

Philippians 4:12-13 says,
“I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”

Paul is writing to the Philippians from his jail cell. Imagine what he may have been experiencing? Isolation. Hunger. Pain. Sickness. And Hope!?!

When we think of Hope, can we imagine the type of Hope Paul experienced? Think of a way that you desperately need Jesus, a way that you just aren’t enough. There is hope.

I had a pancreas tumor removed in 2012. I went from being told “you’re young and healthy” to 115 pounds & wrecked by illness. I remember looking in the mirror and not recognizing myself. My doctors were at a loss. I cried out begging God for deliverance. For better circumstances. My Mom, in her wisdom said to have Faith when you cannot see. I remember the fight I had inside my body during those months of agony. Never before had I experienced my flesh at war with me and yet God seemed to keep me there. Not healing me, not letting me die. It was a hard truth to face. During that time and even to this day, I have many very dear Bible verses. God is faithful. Philippians 4:12-13 means SO much to me. I hung on every word of verse 12. When everything was stripped away, all my earthly strength and comfort, I finally intimately knew the secret of facing such things. I have been a Christian as long as I can remember. The secret isn’t becoming a Christian. The secret is Hope. The Hope of the Bible, the steadfast kind that comes when we know God sustains us and gives us strength despite all odds.

As you can see, I am still here. God has granted me partial deliverance from my physical sufferings. I can see the gift it is to remember. I look at my surgery scars and still feel pain. Because I know the secret that Paul speaks of I have Hope. Not the fleeting kind we think of when we say, “I hope tomorrow is sunny.”

Paul’s words are not a self-help statement or some type of trite pep talk. Paul is telling us of the everlasting, eternal, deep, rich, vibrant, redeeming Hope; hope in Jesus’ perfect strength.

Dear Jesus,
Help us to rest in your word. To experience your deep HOPE through the truths you teach us. Jesus, help us to lay our fears at your feet and know that we can even suffer well like Paul by knowing your steadfastness. Lord, you strengthen us, you sustain us. Jesus, because of your strength we can face all things both wonderful and tragic. Amen.

A Mother’s Love

Educated or so I thought
Asked a million questions
Questions I haven’t sought
Need I answer them?
Again and Again?
To a future man who doesn’t know
the complexities of why businesses come or go.
When this pupil becomes distraught
I the momma must enter a battle that’s already fought.
Silently my heart cries out
His words so strong
Inwardly I ask, “God what’s gone wrong?”
Rest in me, I hear so clear.
Rest in me, my dear.
Slowing down I pull into a parking spot.
Out I step.
Out my eldest boy does too.
Kneeling down to his height.
I ask why I am seeing such a sight.
He pleads for no consequence.
God’s love in my heart I give grace instead.
Sadly, I know his heart is a wreck.
Silent prayers he never hears.
While I hold back motherly tears.
The Lord’s love for us might be like this.
While we whirl out of control.
He’s quiet, heart heavy.
He knows what we need before we think we’re ready.
Rest in Him, I know I must.
In God’s sovereign love I can trust.
I trust you Jesus to always keep this treasure in your care.
Because I know that you were there.
Please grow him to be strong in faith and write on in his heart what you speak.
May he be a man of character, gentle, humble and meek.
I pray he leads many.
I pray he leads well even when there aren’t any.
Please strengthen my heavy heart to know
You are trustworthy.
So endure these heart breaking moments I must.
Knowing one day the fruit will bear.
Knowing you, Lord, will be there.

Saved By God’s Provision – Our Experience With Broadside Collision

Just before Valentine’s day this year we had our usual weekly church small group meeting.  This time it was a dark and rainy Wednesday evening. Bart arrived home from work especially tired.  He decided to stay home with our younger boy, Gideon, while Hank and I went to group.

We celebrated Valentine’s day a little early at our small group with a white elephant gift exchange.  I brought an unopened bag of whole-bean coffee and we received a starter kit and a cute little blue betta fish.

After group, Hank and I loaded our things into our new 2009 VW Jetta.  Hank climbed into his car seat which was positioned behind my drivers’ side seat and I secured his seatbelts.  Then I placed our new betta fish (who was in a small plastic cup at the time) into the center console cup holder.  Away we went heading home around 9:40pm.  All seemed fine except for being a particularly dreary evening.  Having been a few weeks into a great workout routine I felt alert and well.  Hank sat quietly in his seat and we drove home.  The radio was off, my phone was stowed away safely in my purse.  It was calm and I was driving very cautiously.  (I have a very low platelet count, so I am ALWAYS cautious driving because if I get in an accident I could bleed to death.)  I came to the intersection where we usually turn to go home.  I stopped in the turn lane, signalled and when the road appeared clear proceeded to turn left.  Once fully into the intersection something very unexpected and bizarre happened…

I heard a loud sound like metal bending and immediately we began spinning in circles.  By the time the car stopped we had flown off the side of the road (God is so good) and safely up a berm.  I was horrified and immediately put the car in park and turned off the engine.  I called 911 and looked in front of me to read the license plate off the other car to the officer on the other line.  I remember so clearly that my headlights illuminated their car but there was no light shining back at me.

They didn’t have their headlights on!

I never saw them coming.  I never heard a thing until the hit.  No skidding.  No horn.

Nothing then WHAM!

As soon as I got off the phone with 911 I realized Hank was in the back seat crying hysterically.  My heart sunk, I was horrified.  My precious baby boy.  I turned around and saw he was safely surrounded by his car seat and didn’t even have a scratch.  I started consoling him then realized I was completely soaked in betta fish water.  Our new pet had flew out of the car and his cup shattered around me.  Then I saw the passenger side of our car smashed in, the side curtain airbags deployed and glass all over.

Adrenaline pumping and in horror of what had just happened I called Bart to come get us.  We wound up being there for an hour while the police took their reports.  Praise God, Hank seemed ok and was able to go home and go to bed.  While my mother-in-law stayed home with our boys, Bart drove me to the emergency room.  There I learned I had a concussion and severe whiplash.  I couldn’t control my head.  That is a very strange feeling!

I received a shot of morphine to ease the already severe pain and was discharged with instructions to follow-up with my doctor.

I don’t know what your experience has been with serious car accidents but up until February 12, 2014 I had none.  At the time of impact the other driver was going at least 45 miles per hour!

Here’s our Jetta after the accident before it went to the junk yard.

Passenger side of Car-1Passenger side of Car-2

All that damage and we walked away from it alive!

VW Jetta’s are Safe!

Dear Jesus, thank you for protecting us.  Thank you that Bart wasn’t driving and Gideon wasn’t in the car.  If that were the case (as it usually would be on a Wednesday night) Gideon and I would have been on the side of impact.  Jesus, I believe it is in your sovereignty that Gideon and I didn’t die that night.  Praise and honor and glory be to you, our mighty king.  Amen.

Why I Hate Teasing

Proverbs 26:18-19 says, “Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death is the man who deceives his neighbor and says, “I am only joking!”

I hate teasing.

The big kicker for me is how teasing is a bitter knife masquerading as “good fun”.

“Oh get a sense of humor.”

“Don’t be so sensitive.”

“When I said you are no good at that, I was just teasing.”

Maybe it’s because teasing is manipulative.  Yeah, that’s part of it for sure.

Did you really mean “you are no good (at that)” in “good fun”? What REALLY possesses someone to say such critical things of another?

I also find it interesting how teasing can come from anywhere.  It’s like Satan has tricked us into believing we are saying something in fun, all the while we are actually helping drive the knife in the hearers heart.  Blaming them.

What’s worse!?!  If the receiver of such teasing doesn’t play along then they’re still to blame because they “can’t take a joke”.  In truth, they don’t like to bear the brunt of another persons’ evil heart.

Luke 6:45 says, “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”

A lot of the time, teasing, is just advanced bullying.  As if you have graduated the minor leagues and joined up with the majors.  I can enjoy a good joke just as well as the next person, but, I cannot advocate this form of bullying.

Think about it, you see something in someone that has a shard of truth to it and expound upon it to a degree that is hurtful but just ridiculous enough to evade rebuke.

Wow.

So as we all go about our hectic holidays, preparing for all that will fill the next few weeks, please prepare your heart to speak in kindness to one another.

James 3:5 says, “So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!”

And, if you want to tell a joke, make sure it’s not “funny” at the recipients’ expense.

Dear Jesus, you say that the tongue is dangerous and we underestimate this truth.  Please stop us before we utter hurtful words to one another especially under the guise of humor.  Please keep us fixed on you this holiday season and clean our hearts so that your glory would pour out of us.  Amen.

Oh Santa I Try to be good, Mix-It-Up Monday’s

This Christmas when I get coal, I will send out invites to our winter barbecue.  With that said here’s my letter to Santa:

Dear Santa,

I try to be a good momma

I try to be a good homemaker

I try to be a good cook

I try to be a good business owner

I try to be a good boogie wiper

I try to be a good wife

I try to be a good friend

I try to be a good diaper changer

I try to be a good discipliner

I try to be a good sister

I try to be a good Christian

I try to be a good cleaner

I try to be a good dresser

I try to be a good organizer

I try to be a good saint

But so far I’m really just good at:

Making my boys cry simultaneously because I said no

Making my boys cry simultaneously because I said yes

&

Making my boys cry simultaneously because I decided to remain silent, calm and carry on.

p.s.  You probably already know this but USPS will allow you to ship my coal with a flat rate box to save you money, since I imagine I will be getting extra this year. 😉

sincerely,

One Bad A** Momma

Dear Jesus,

I am so thankful that I can depend on you and point the boys to you.  I am so thankful that Christmas is really about you!  I am so grateful that the little years, though tough, are precious and fleeting.  Thank you for keeping me humble and blessing me abundantly. Amen.

God’s Economy, Abundant Grace

Malachi 3:10 says,

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”

I love this verse!  It tells us so much about God’s character.  I especially love his command to test him in this.  I am confident test does not imply doubt but faith that when we pour out what He has given us, He will fill our cup to overflowing.

But what if I’m afraid?

Joshua 1:9 says,

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

But what if I’m suffering?

John 11:3-4 says,

“”Lord, he whom you love is ill.”  But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death.  It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.””

I experienced extreme even horrific suffering.

When nothing was left I so clearly saw God’s love.

He wants us to be completely filled by HIM.

Over the past year of recovery and even through the worst of the suffering, God has given me grace abundantly.

Why?  Why would God who needs and lacks nothing do everything for me?

“For the Glory…”

God has been glorifying himself eternally.  When He blesses me, I enjoy Him, and glorify Him.

In God’s economy he pours out blessing so much that we cannot possibly store it.  I imagine endless water pouring out and going absolutely everywhere.

This is God’s Grace.

Currently, God has brought closeness in my relationship with my sister, Charity that we have not had in at least 15 years.

Glory be to God!

God has brought my platelet count up to normal.

Glory be to God!

God has blessed us with a newer car (and a rare find at that!).

Glory be to God!

God has given my sister Charity a daughter born on our mother’s birthday!

Glory be to God!

God has given my Mom a job just 10 minutes away from us, not states away!

Glory be to God!

God has brought a friend of mine’s sister to salvation.  One whom she prayed for endlessly for years.

Glory be to God!

Eight years ago I prayed for a Mars Hill Church Tacoma.

Mars Hill Church Tacoma will open this coming December.

Glory be to God!

God didn’t just give us any church but the biggest stinkin’ church in Tacoma.

Glory be to God!

It needs hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs.

God has brought the money, we are almost at the goal.

Glory be to God!

Dear Jesus, thank you for your abundant grace!  Thank you for pouring out to us.  Thank you that we can find real joy in your glory. Amen.

When God Flips The Bird- Platelet Update

A little over a week ago, I cut my middle finger while preparing dinner.  My immediate thought was, “Oh great.  Now I’m going to bleed for three days.  How will I sew for my business?”  I finished making dinner and while eating realized there was no more blood.  Then after finishing the dishes, still no blood!

As some of you know, I have extensive clotting in my liver as a lasting complication from pancreas surgery last year.  Well, those clots stop blood flow from my spleen to my liver.  The resulting back-up of blood into my spleen means my spleen is enlarged and my platelets are way low (a clotting factor in your blood).

Or were…

My liver is still huge and the constant pressure of my ribs is hard to tolerate.

But

I cannot feel my spleen.  And I’m clotting normally (as I found out cutting my middle finger).  So, friends, we are witnessing God’s healing.

Last September, a nurses aid told me she had a dream about me in which God told her He would heal me and she placed her right hand over her upper right abdomen and said, “here”.

Since then, I have seen the ongoing complications as a call to faith.  Well, this is God moving.  Not even a year later and my spleen is no longer painful or swollen.  And thank you Jesus, my platelets are up!

I also think it’s worth noting that God allowed me to cut my middle finger to announce to me that He is healing me.  Seems to me that He is sending a little “memo” to the enemy.

Thank you for your prayers!  I will be writing you in the future to tell you of God’s complete healing.

Dear Jesus, thank you for your sovereignty and being fully good.  I appreciate your abundant love and attention to every detail of our lives.  Please sustain my faith as I await your complete healing.  To you be the glory.  Amen.

August 4th Celebration & Why To Suffer And Serve Well

 August 4th, 2012 I nearly died from blood loss.  In the months that followed God showed up in big ways sending His gracious gifts through so many people.  Some we know well, some we have barely met.

August 4th, 2013 is now a day we will celebrate each year because it marks the anniversary of God moving mountains and pouring out abundant grace upon us.  Only a year after hemorrhage, I am strong and enjoying life.  It was only fitting that we celebrate the blessing many were to us.  The servant hearted should be celebrated, they are a crown radiating God’s glory.

Here are some pictures compliments of Mary Bingham, from our celebration:

 running hank people milling about joyful Hank

Paul and Hank :)

Paul and Hank 🙂

Hank and Logan in sandbox

Left to Right: Paul,Mary,Boe,Judy,Logan,Max,Susanne,Bart,Erica,Hank,Janae,Declan,Si,Avery,Rachel and Ben.

Left to Right: Paul,Mary,Boe,Judy,Logan,Max,Susanne,Bart,Erica,Hank,Janae,Declan,Si,Avery,Rachel and Ben.

 Several people could not make this celebration, so you get the idea…

God’s provision is sufficient!

Here are the two verses we shared with the group as we thanked them for their service and honor to Jesus:

John 11:3-4, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.”  But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death.  It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”

All of you who served us through the 50 plus days I spent in the hospital last year, you were “for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified..”

Thank you!

As Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 and I feel pertains since my portal vein is still completely occluded by clots and my liver is very large,

“But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Friends, we are in the mighty care of the sovereign King, Jesus!

I also wanted to tell you that we received the August publication of the Puget Sound Blood Bank’s newsletter, The Benefactor.  We are overjoyed to have our story on the front page.  I will never personally get to thank the 21 or so people who saved my life through blood donation but this comes pretty close! 🙂

The Benefactor, Puget Sound Blood Center

At this time it is not yet on-line but here’s a picture of the cover:

Puget Sound Blood Bank Publication

Dear Jesus, thank YOU and please abundantly bless your servant hearted.  Thank you for your grace and love.  Thank you for everything. Amen.