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Seeking Sonshine

"Not all who wander are lost" – J.R.R. Tolkien

Month

December 2015

Thank you.

There are so many people to thank and I do not want to forget anyone. We realize you took time out of your own schedule to stop and pray for us, or do things for us, or think about us, and we are very grateful. 

From the beginning to the end, my parents. You were there, you drove, you prayed, you activated prayer chains, you updated people when I could not. Thank you so much for holding me up when I needed it. 

Same for Richard’s parents, and his nephew. They came all that way and took Ian with them so he would not have to be in the stressful environment anymore and have a place to sleep and be with family to comfort him. 

My aunts and uncle that drove immediately without question (even when a deer tried to stop her) and they prayed and sustained us. No words to say how much it ministered to us. 

Our pastor who drove and prayed over our daughter and with us. The beautiful balloons from our sweet cousins and the overnight prayer teams that formed for our little girl. 

Our amazing teacher and best friend who drove to check on our sweet girl and pray with her and us. 

A pledge sister from dear old Kappa Delta, that I had not seen in over 10 years brought us food, water, the best entertainment ever, (People and US Weekly mags for Mom), homemade Christmas candy with Christmas plates and all, toilet paper, and Kleenexes with lotion. A true sister. Sarah Beth, you touched my heart. AOT, love you girl.

Our best friends that brought us food, laughter, long hugs, prayers, tears, stories, and presents. You are amazing people. We are lucky to know you.

Then there were the heroes back home. The people who came over and cleaned our house and got it ready for us when we got back home. They immediately washed our clothes and cleaned our house and wrapped presents because they are amazing people who we couldn’t live without. It is an amazing thing to be a part of a family. 

The multiple church and school families and all of our friends and networks we have met you through regardless of our differences, thank you for praying for and/or thinking about us. We have, in the past, developed a bad habit of getting busy in our world and this has shown us how much we need other people in this life. We are so thankful and grateful for you. We may never get to thank you in person (although I hope someday we will!), but know we are passing it forward to others. 

Thank you. ❀️ The world needs more people like you. πŸ˜‡

  
We are grateful. ❀️

My Jesus Is Amazing

Let me tell you something that I just can’t hold back right now. Jesus is beyond all comprehension to me. He means what He says in His Word. He will meet your faith and blow you away. “You just won’t believe what my Jesus did for me.” I used to hear people say that all the time, but I never understood it. 

After the past few days, I understand it now. 

He saved my little girl. And this mama was eternally grateful before. But now, she is completely and totally surrendered. There is nothing more powerful than prayer. Except for a multitude of people lifting up prayers. It does what I have never experienced before and I will never be the same. 

  

  

I know there are times that it feels unfair why some prayers are answered and some are not. Some live and others don’t. I wish I knew the answers to this, but like I said before, Jesus is beyond all comprehension to me. Isaiah 55:9 tells us in the Children’s Bible that

The Lord says, β€œYour thoughts are not like my thoughts.

    Your ways are not like my ways.

9 Just as the heavens are higher than the earth,

    so are my ways higher than your ways.

    And my thoughts are higher than your thoughts.”

This is the sovereignty of God. What is that? Chip Ingram makes great points here: http://m.christianity.com/theology/what-does-the-phrase-god-is-sovereign-really-mean-11555729.html

We know that He is with us and He loves us and our kids more than we do. So who could take better care of them than someone who loves them infinitely better on a completely higher level than our God? This mama had a lot to learn about turning her kids over to the Lord and leaving them there with Him. 

But when she did, He gave them back to her. Complete. Faster. Better and more than I ever asked for.

I begged God for awhile, I will not lie. Begged to trade places. Begged to please keep my girl. Bargained and pleaded.  And then I realized that He knew all that. What He needed to see from me was my faith in Him. So I began to thank Him for what I believed He would do. I wanted to touch His hem. If I could just touch Him, she would be alright. If I could just talk to him like the Centurion, my daughter would be healed. If I would just believe in Him like Martha did when her brother was already dead for four days, yet Lord, I know what you still can do. Even now faith. It is not a coincidence that Joel Osteen preaches a message called this on our way to the hospital and told the story about Martha and Lazareus. He gives us hope in His Word. My job was to turn on the radio and receive it. My husband and I looked at each other and knew this message was for us. 

http://anointedmessagesnotes.blogspot.com/2014/10/even-now-faith-joel-osteen.html?m=1#.Vn1xh-xOKnM
We woke up early this morning at our house that our family had come in and prepared for us by wrapping our presents and cleaning it while we were at the hospital. Our kids had a wonderful time together and it had a brighter light this year. We were so thankful for Jesus being born today. Because he is our Healer, our Comforter, our Provider, and our Friend. He loves us so much. Happy Birthday Jesus. You are so amazing.

  
Photo Credits:

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=images&cd=&ved=0ahUKEwjinIGlu_fJAhUB5mMKHbGRBsUQjB0IBQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.pinterest.com%2Fpin%2F127719339407270275%2F&psig=AFQjCNE8gp86yH8ghPPgPvE5V3-Ja9rHhw&ust=1451148410061618&rct=j

The Right Kind of Approval

Why do I care so much what others think about me sometimes? There is a balance between truly caring about others and letting them drive your thoughts, actions and true meaning behind why you do things for others. Because it is the right thing to do? Or because they will like me? I struggle with this. I truly want to do what is right. But I also want people to like me. I don’t like conflict and I have a heart of service. However, the enemy uses this and twists it to become deceitful when it becomes self serving and not about serving others.

  

It’s hard for my personality to truly not care what anyone thinks of me, only Christ. It is something that I have to consciously work at finding the balance between being at peace with everyone as far as I go, and making sure that I do not let the approval of others be a stand in for my stamp of approval for myself. And a replacement for my approval from God. Easier said than done. 

I can tell why it is so important to take time out to spend with God alone, usually at the beginning. This time of year is BUSY. And if the enemy cannot have our souls, he can make them busy. There is no time for anything. And I realize that I fell in that busy trap again. But guess who will help us out?

  
The Counselor. When you need someone to talk to.

Prince of Peace. When you are tired of anxiety ruling your heart.

Teacher. When you need wisdom.

Savior. When you need rescued. (See above illustration πŸ˜„πŸ˜‡)

Light of the World. When you need joy. ❀️

Emmanuel. When you need to know He knows your pain. 

Lord. When you realize you need Him. You just have to seek, whatever that feels or looks like at the time.

This is who was born for us. Merry Christmas. ❀️
Photo Credits:

what true love does

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=images&cd=&ved=0ahUKEwj87pnw1-7JAhUGKCYKHXOxBwkQjB0IBQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.pinterest.com%2Fpin%2F108227197272278664%2F&psig=AFQjCNFGHFdb6CaQIIYyxK2URADEmvPcLA&ust=1450846860187995&rct=j

Attitude Avenue

Do you ever find yourself saying the same things over and over again? Sometimes it is to my children (usually about their laundry or backpacks). A lot of the time, it is also to myself. I don’t need to buy this, or eat this, or insert whatever here. It is frustrating to be on repeat. It is maddening when it feels like no one is listening to you. Worse… No one cares enough about what you’re saying enough to listen to you. Mama is not fond of this at all. No way!! Someone is gonna hear about something. Usually does not end up pleasant but productive. The task gets done but the heart is out of check. “Just do it so she will shut up,” is not really the service heart mindset I was going for. I want my kids to do things, sure, but I am more interested in the why behind them than the fact they can produce an action. Nothing angers these parents more than a bad attitude and an eye roll. 😑

  
I have to confess that I am one of those parents who use this special wonderful season to my parenting advantage. Yep, the naughty list. Now, neither of my kids can seem to recall a year that they have ever been on it or never received anything but a lump of coal; however it apparently terrifies them. My daughter started crying onstage during her church Christmas program that I was directing, because she thought she was going to be on the naughty list. Seriously? So while the other children are praising Jesus and thanking Him for coming to Earth, my child is stressing about a fictional list and that she might not get toys. Sigh. Parenting fail. So. I wanted to make sure she knew that Christmas is not about lists but about Jesus. Yes, she knows this, my 4 year old assures me. Okay… Why were you crying onstage? “My cat died.” “In May,” I replied. “Oh. I don’t know, then.” Okay. Well, are you sure that you know the real meaning of Christmas? “YES, it’s Jesus’ birthday!” Do you realize what that means?

Do we really realize what that means? Sometimes, we need a reminder. It can help our attitudes when they need a makeover, because mine needs it a LOT. It means that our Savior was born for us so we can be free from addictions and compulsions and our sins that weigh us down. He came so we don’t have to live in fear, hurt or regret anymore. He came to Earth to live as a human so He knows our pains and sufferings on a personal level. He came. This still matters, even thousands of years later.

It matters when my attitude stinks and I am not the mom she needs me to be because my attitude gets in my way. She forgives me and shows me a model for how Christ forgives me too. Which is a pretty fast and humbling fix to any mama pride problems I may have been experiencing at the time. It still matters when we remember they are still children who need a balanced mixture of love, discipline and teaching. But, they cannot hear us without love. We cannot reach them if we don’t love them like Jesus loves us; so we need to learn and experience that love for ourselves!

  

This is what we should focus on as we begin a new year. A year full of hope and trusting in God like never before. Even when I have no idea how this story is going to go, it is just letting go of the pen and finally letting someone write it who is a multi award winning author. But for some reason, I get opinions on how my chapters should be, but it’s time to accept the sovereignty of my God. Either I believe or I don’t. I choose to believe. I choose hope. He promises us hope and wisdom. Sounds good to me. β€οΈπŸ‘πŸ‘

Photo Credits:

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=images&cd=&ved=0ahUKEwjt7cqyheTJAhUD12MKHfMuDWYQjB0IBQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fbehappy.me%2Fshchedrina%2Fwe-dont-see-things-as-they-are-we-see-them-as-we-are-139644&psig=AFQjCNF1atPlo6H7RR_oLqMcjAzpZbqS-A&ust=1450481090139274&rct=j

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=images&cd=&ved=0ahUKEwjU5qzDhOTJAhUP4WMKHbJjAPoQjB0IBQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Ftimefortheholidays.net%2Fthe-first-noel-lyrics-and-sheet-music%2F&psig=AFQjCNEMADpbl9lNcCjZYrKN0mKCG29sMg&ust=1450480883573257&rct=j

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=images&cd=&ved=0ahUKEwjqyc_x7ubJAhVQ8GMKHQR1AyAQjB0IBQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.heidipitman.com%2F2014%2F06%2Fan-inch-of-inspiration-scripture-on-love%2F&psig=AFQjCNHAS7U4547g6koQi-U3heeTlaKhQA&ust=1450578139223314&rct=j

Heavenly Healing

There is something about a healing. It can be little or remarkable, and it is the moment that the first rays of confirmational hope begin to shine in on your soul. You can close your eyes and begin to feel a renewal that is exciting and welcomed. It could be physical, after a major surgery that is an answer to many people’s prayers; or a spiritual healing and you realize that you were never forgotten or being passed over. It just wasn’t the right time yet. But now it is.

  

I love studying personality tests and seeing what people’s results are. I find it is extremely helpful to learn how to understand someone better, and helps relationships heal. (Understanding is surprisingly helpful! πŸ˜„) I tested as a Sanguine-Melancholy blend (opposite, so life can get very interesting in my head!) and I researched Biblical temperaments similar to mine. King David was thought to be a San-Mel and he wrote a lot of Psalms. He had many times that he experienced healing, and was able to capture some of the most beautiful scripture ever written. (But I may be a bit biased πŸ˜‰) It is in Psalm 30.

         Joy Comes with the Morning

A Psalm of David. A song at the dedication of the temple.

30 I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up

 and have not let my foes rejoice over me.

2 O Lord my God, I cried to you for help,

    and you have healed me.

3 O Lord, you have brought up my soul from Sheol;

    you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.[a]

4 Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints,

    and give thanks to his holy name.[b]

5 For his anger is but for a moment,

    and his favor is for a lifetime.[c]

Weeping may tarry for the night,

    but joy comes with the morning.

6 As for me, I said in my prosperity,

    β€œI shall never be moved.”

7 By your favor, O Lord,

    you made my mountain stand strong;

you hid your face;

    I was dismayed.

8 To you, O Lord, I cry,

    and to the Lord I plead for mercy:

9 β€œWhat profit is there in my death,[d]

    if I go down to the pit?[e]

Will the dust praise you?

    Will it tell of your faithfulness?

10 Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me!

    O Lord, be my helper!”

11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;

    you have loosed my sackcloth

    and clothed me with gladness,

12 that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.

    O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!

That is pretty awesome. I mean, the guy knew something about redemption and showed us how to give thanks for it pretty well… Another great story of healing is the faith of the Centurion in Matthew 8:5-13. A Centurion basically goes to Jesus and asks him to heal his servant because he’s sick. Jesus is cool with that, so He asks the Centurion if He wants Him to ride along. The Centurion says in verse 8 in The Children’s Bible because it is what I have and like now: πŸ˜„

The officer answered, β€œLord, I am not good enough for you to come into my house. All you need to do is command that my servant be healed, and he will be healed. 9 I myself am a man under the authority of other men. And I have soldiers under my command. I tell one soldier, β€˜Go,’ and he goes. I tell another soldier, β€˜Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, β€˜Do this,’ and my servant obeys me.

10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. He said to those who were with him, β€œI tell you the truth. This man has more faith than any other person I have found, even in Israel.”

Jesus was amazed at this guy’s faith. That is what can get God’s attention. Our faith and our perseverance to believe. When it doesn’t look good and the outcome isn’t what you wanted. Or what you would have planned. We must press into our God when our feelings want to do the opposite. The best way? I am a rather stubborn person at times (and apparently a feeler), so I have to decide. Then make myself. (Thus, interesting battles in my head during this part of the plan) Sometimes it is easy and sometimes it feels impossible. Why?  Because I forget about all the times that God has healed me…even when I wasn’t begging for it. 

I found a journal from three years ago from my quiet times with Jesus. I turned the pages and began to feel those dogged gone heated tears spring up in my eyes as I re-read all the little miracles and big things (eye surgery) that changed me piece by piece over the years. How could I forget? I am so glad I wrote them down. I highly encourage anyone to keep a prayer and or quiet time journal/log. It is such a healing all over again to remember all those times God heard you and answered your prayers. Gratitude makes a healing and a heart complete. Jesus healed 10 lepers in Luke 17:11. But He completely restored only the one who came back to give Him his grateful sobs of thank you for changing my life forever. And what sweeter sound is that to anyone’s ears? ❀️

  
Photo Credits:

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=images&cd=&ved=0ahUKEwjknpGtoNPJAhXEYiYKHb5VBywQjB0IBQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.colourbox.com%2Fimage%2Fmisty-dawn-in-the-forest-with-sun-rays-image-1708357&psig=AFQjCNEvwe8OgcXdQZWeEu-sLU8xRaV1kg&ust=1449904223599122&rct=j

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=images&cd=&ved=0ahUKEwjB_8m0otPJAhWKQSYKHRMMAVQQjB0IBQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Ftgffoundation.com%2Fhealing%2F&psig=AFQjCNGfjvqBwZ0VlFNK3Qq1rvw91pT80Q&ust=1449904781836985&rct=j

Plant the Seed

Storms are funny things. They can bring much needed nourishment to the land or they can destroy it completely; mutilating the landscape to an unrecognizable state. These storms can be in physical in nature or emotional as well. The ones that are emotional are harder to see to people on the outside, but they rage within us until they (or we) reach a breaking point. 

  
Storms can sometimes last only a day or so but the effects can last for years or even a lifetime. You lose your job and can’t find work so finances spiral out of control. Depression and heaviness make everyday life difficult to enjoy and not by choice. Tensions are high and so are tempers. Or maybe there is no one around when you need them most. The enemy loves to prey on people in storms. It’s cruel, wicked, and some of his favorite targets.  “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 He loves to bring his friends Anxiety, Worry, Anger, Fear and Self Pity to create a perfect storm for each person and it is a potent combination made just for you. How thoughtful, right? 😑 

It is easy to fall into this thinking, especially if our mind is on our circumstances and how we are going to try and fix our problems. (Speaking from experience) I can get so consumed with trying to find a solution that I start to doubt God will do anything for me. Not that He can. That He will. Now who does that sound like? I would never let my kids even talk that way or let them think that way for a second. So why do I? Hmmmmm….. This faith walk truly is a journey. And I am going to be really honest and say that sometimes it gets really frustrating. Storms roll in and there is too much debris left that hasn’t been cleaned up from the last one that marched through. I stand in a mess and the land is, well, parched. “What do you want me to do, God? What is the answer? What am I supposed to do?”

Plant the seed. “Huh?”

Plant the seed. 

I heard a story today. One that I had never heard before. It’s in Genesis, Chapter 26. Isaac, Abraham and Sarah’s (our take charge gal pal from a few weeks ago) promised son. There is a famine in the land and so Isaac decides to do what his dad did. Go to Egypt. But God tells him to stay and sow seeds and He will bless him. Isaac did and God blessed him a hundredfold. Not just a little bit. And you know Isaac had to be thinking ummmm, God? There is a famine? You gonna send some rain…..no… Okay…. Scripture doesn’t say anything about a special rain cloud over his crops or anything like that. However, he and his servants dug wells and hit water so many times, that this article I found suggested irrigation was the source of the blessing; which I found interesting because I believe that God can use anything! http://www.garycarpenter.org/teach1.html

So.

Plant the seed. Whatever it is. If it is a dream, don’t give up! If it is a goal, do it! (I am talking to myself here, as well!) Talk to or bless that person God has put on your heart or mind. Be there for that person who doesn’t have anyone else to talk to. You might be the only Jesus they will ever see, hear or experience this side of heaven. πŸ˜„πŸ˜‡β€οΈ

Photo Credits:

37 crazy pictures of storms from around the world

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