Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Koinonia

In a daze I looked up to the sea of precious faces. As the nurses wheeled me out of the room I remember the touch of a sweet hand as there were more. They came, not that I should be surprised. At one of the scariest times in our lives they came to share our life. Over the course of the last few months so many came, some shared the breaking of bread, some shared prayers, some shared deep conversation, some simply came to just be. It's not about a fancy meal, it is about sharing life together, about fellowship, Koinonia(koy-hohn-ee'-ah)...

"Koinonia is a complex, rich and thoroughly fascinating Greek approach to building community. When Koinonia is present, the spirit of sharing and giving becomes tangible."-Wikipedia

All believers devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching, and to fellowship,and to the sharing in meals, and to prayer. Acts 2:47

I remember moving here craving relationship and friendship with like minded families. We wanted a community of friends who we could share life with. And we found it by reaching out, by following His calling to become community. We couldn't just look for community, we had to be community. It wasn't always comfortable, but I have learned that nudging to reach out to someone, that is His nudge. The world tells us it is about me, not we; about my time, not our time; about taking, not giving. The world teaches to hide behind, instead of opening our doors.

"Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think." Romans 12:2

We are called to share life with others, by the greatest example of community and fellowship there was.



"If I make you light-bearers, you don't think I am going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I'm putting you on a light stand. Now that I've put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand-shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven." Matthew 5: 15-16

Open your hearts, your doors, your lives. You will experience with essence of Him. You will experience koinonia. The joy, beauty and breathtaking sweetness of sharing life.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Our Garden

Over the last few months time spent with books, television, other past times gave way to time with scripture and in prayer. Many days those prayers were like shooting arrows straight to heaven, I spent the day shooting them only to feel like they boomeranged right back to me. Looking back it is so clear that God was answering so many of our prayers. Prayers for guidance, strength, wisdom with doctors, intervening with appointments, and friends to walk along with us. But at the same time it felt as if God was standing in an answer of silence to our big prayer. That Isaac would be healed. Then this week I had my aha moment~

"All prayers end in one of two places: the Red Sea where God does an incredible thing and changes the external; or Gethsemane, where He changes the internal." ~Walter Moore

God said to Moses: "Why cry out to me? Speak to the Israelites. Order them to get moving. Hold your staff high and stretch out your hand over the sea: Split the sea! The Israelites will walk through the sea on dry ground." Exodus 14: 15-16



He withdrew about a stone's throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, "Father if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. Luke 22: 41-44


When we hit our knees in prayer we don't know if our prayers are landing in the Red Sea or Gethsemane. Our family went from asking, begging, crying for Isaac to be healed, for our prayers to land in the Red Sea, to whispering our surrender "Thy will be done" and asking for Him to carry us through the Garden. We always stood in belief that God could heal Isaac. At the same time we stepped out in courage to pray for His will to be done. And even though Isaac is not with us now, that does not change that belief.
Through all of this we have learned that courage isn't a choice that we make. Courage is an act of obedience and trust. Just as Jesus obeyed and trusted his Father when he was praying in Gethsemane we pray for courage to do the same. Our prayer landed in Gethsemane and not only is God carrying us through the Garden, He was and still is changing us. I have asked myself if I would change the last few months if I could. And realized that isn't a question I can ask myself. He has confidence in His plans for our family, just as He does for yours. When you pray you don't know if God will take your prayers to the Red Sea or Gethsemane. But He will always carry you and He has faith in His ability to reveal His glory through you.



Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Story

Many of you have emailed asking about the bible that we read with Anastacia. The Jesus Storybook Bible hands down is the most amazing children's bible. I cannot sing the praises of it enough. Sally Lloyd-Jones creatively brings to life the stories of the bible while weaving God's love story and redemption for us in with each message. The illustrations by Jago are simply breathtaking and engage a busy little five year old.
We had been searching and praying for a bible that would draw Anastacia into The Story that God is pursuing us with. The story of Jesus, and how every story "whispers his name" throughout the bible. Anastacia was captivated the first time we read it and asks routinely to read it. She excitedly ends every story with Momma, I know who, it is Jesus! And if you have read this, then you are familiar with one way God spoke to our family through this bible. So there you have it:)


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Lead me on

My heart has been restless. I suppose it is to be expected after the last few months. It still caught me by surprise, to discover that I didn't just want, but needed more. The struggle continues to remind myself to rest in Him and that the more I need is Him. I need to stop, slow down. He will calm my heart. And I need to rejoice and be thankful in this moment. He is working in me. He will lead me.

"You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you." St. Augustine

After all isn't His deepest desire for me to follow where He leads and have a heart that believes He will use me.

The Lord says, "I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you." Psalm 32:8

If my heart trusts Him to be my guide and is open to Him leading me, He will. He will reveal the gifts He has placed in my heart for this life. I can come to Him daily and be restless for Him or I can be restless for this life. This life that won't fulfill. I am challenging myself to passionately pursue the one who made me for Himself. To pursue knowing Him intimately and resting in Him. As I do he will take my hand and lead me on the best path for me. He will take me from where I am to where He wants me to be.

Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty." John 6:35




Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Castle

"Mommy, What did Isaac feel like? Was he soft?"~A

"Yes, he was very soft."~M

"I wish I could have held him, did you get to hold him Mommy?"~A

"Only for a bit."~M

"Did you play with him? I wanted to play with him."~A

"No sweetheart, I didn't get to play with him."~M

"Did you give him a bath?"A

"No the nurses gave him a bath."~M

"You know we will be able to hold him in heaven and play with him."~M

"I know that mommy, that is why I can't wait to go to heaven someday."~A

"Mommy will all of us be in heaven?"~A

"Yes, we will all be in heaven."~M

"Alex too?"~A

"Yes, Alex too."~M

"I think he will be a crazy dog in heaven, just like he is crazy here."~A

"Are there houses in heaven?"~A

"I think, maybe there are houses."~M

"Well I know God has a castle, mommy. That is where he and the angels live. His castle is white and the angels are white and God shines like lightening. Except you can touch him. You can't bother the angels when they are working mommy, but you can always bother God. When we go to heaven God makes everything. Even the wings of the angels. Isaac lives there with him. He has a really tiny bed for Isaac and he takes really good care of him."~A

"When we die we get to go to heaven, right Mommy?"~A

And just like that one simple conversation with my five year old breathed life into my tired soul. The unwavering, steadfast, breathtaking faith she has. We get to go to heaven. We have the privilege of going to live with our Savior. The one who was perfect and sinless who willingly died for us to save us from our sins. He defeated death and we get to live with Him forever.

"And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." John 14:3


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Behind the scenes

Coincidence???

Fluke???

Random???

At the beginning of this journey perhaps those were the thoughts that went through my head. Recently I have been spending time in the old testament and was reminded of Esther a Jewish girl used to save her people. God worked behind the scenes in Esther's life for her to be chosen as Queen at exactly the right time to save her people from mass genocide.
"What's more, who can say but that you have been elevated to the palace for just such a time as this?" Esther 4:14
Esther reminds me that whatever we are going through to be encouraged because God is working. Looking back, time after time His hand has been evident at work in our lives. He was in control even when the circumstances surrounding us seemed to indicate otherwise. Isaac's diagnosis was not a surprise to God. Our life may have changed, but it did not change God.

Behind the scenes He arranged appointments~
I hadn't seen my OB for over a month I had been in with so many specialists. Vividly I remember having a conversation on a Friday afternoon about canceling an appointment I had with her that coming Monday morning. After all I had just spent two weeks in appointments with specialists and had 12 hours of ultrasounds. I didn't cancel. At 5 pm that same Friday I received this call from St. Louis telling me Isaac was "incompatible with life" and he had a "fatal fetal anomaly" recommending to terminate the pregnancy. Head spinning I remember telling the doctor we had hope in Jesus, thinking to myself God could heal our baby. Monday morning I walked in and she was the FIRST doctor to hug me, treat me as a person, telling me we would be okay and she would walk through this with us. She shared that same hope.

Behind the scenes He encouraged~
That same Friday, Amos "ran" into our friend Casey who was reconnecting with an out of town friend over lunch. What Amos didn't know at the time was that Kevin "happened" to have walked a very similar path as ours several years ago. At 5 pm that very day we received the call that we would be walking through the same valley. Days later God used Kevin and his story to influence, encourage, and inspire us.

Behind the scenes He placed people in our life~
We have received so much love from friends and family as well as complete strangers. They have brought us meals, cleaned our home, mowed our lawn, encouraged us through gifts, prayers, emails, and cards. Nurses and our doctor who prayed with us are now friends. And He sent all of them at exactly the right moment.

Take courage because He is at work in your life. Stop. Sit. Reflect. And you to will begin to see glimpses of how He is weaving your story together for His goodness. Even in the tough times. Keep hoping, keep believing because He is working behind your scenes.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Tonight

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands." Psalm 19:1

Tonight walking between the pink sunset and glowing full moon, I remembered.

Seven months ago we found out He blessed us with a new life.

Three months ago we found out we may have to give him back.

One month ago we were barely hanging on after finding out Isaac was with Jesus.

Thank you for the reminder today sweet friend that our story is still His story and every day is a gift from God. Thank you Lord for allowing us to be part of Isaac's story.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11







Thursday, August 11, 2011

Seasons

Tonight I was cleaning some stuff out of our refrigerator while attempting to figure out how to cook dinner. (That is how amazing all of our friends and family have been, I forgot how to cook.) I noticed that the expiration date on several of the items was the middle of May. And it hit me, that is how my life has felt lately. How on earth did I go from May to the middle of August? We have been walking through life in a fog the last few months and I am starting to wake up. Or what I should say is He has carried me through life the last few months. Despite the fact in the last three days I have been on the roller coaster of emotions celebrating 14 years of marriage, sending my baby to Kindergarten, and picking out a headstone for my son, I am trying to learn to give thanks to God for where I am right now. This season that we are enduring has a purpose beyond what I can see or feel. And even when I can't see the ending I have to have the courage to continue to walk trusting Him to direct my way.
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it." Isaiah 30:21





Though our life is changing, God's love never changes and He is always faithful. I continue to remind myself how He is faithful, even when we are walking in the wilderness.

He is my strength...
"I love you , Lord; you are my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. I called on the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and he saved me from my enemies." Psalm 18:1-3

He always hears me...
"God keeps an eye on his friends, his ears pick up every moan and groan." Psalm 34:15

He always loves me...
"And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow-not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below-indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8: 38-39

He will never leave me...
"Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." Hebrews 13:5

He keeps His promises...
"He will keep his agreement forever; he will keep his promises always." Psalm 105:8

He delights in my details...
"The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives." Psalm 37:23

My prayer of late has been for God to direct my path. I will do the walking, if He will just plant my feet in the right direction. I have learned enough in the last few months to believe that it is more than coincidence that I learned the story of a family near us today. There are stories that you hear, the ones that make you drop to your knees for strangers. A mutual friend told us of a family, living in our same town, that just started walking a path that is so very similar to ours. If you could please allow this precious family in your prayers tonight. Prayers for His strength, comfort and peace to surround and carry them. Love you all!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

8-9-97

14 years ago right about now we were doing this...



For better and worse, in the joy and sorrow you have been there. In your wise, gentle, patient way you are my rock. You are just "good." God blessed me with you and I love you more today than ever.

"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God." 1 John 4:7

Friday, August 5, 2011

Foundation...

So many of you have said that our faith is such an inspiration. I never want to give the illusion that our faith is so strong we have just sailed through the last few months. Because that is so far from the case. Looking back it wasn't too long ago that our faith seemed "routine." If I really would have stopped and examined myself I would have seen I had more faith in myself, in my own self-sufficiency than I did in God. After all, don't we live in a "buck up", "pick yourself up by your bootstraps" society. Why does faith even matter if we can fill the void ourselves. So often faith seems to get lost by the enticements of this world. Enticement of approval, recognition, money, and "stuff." And that is where we were, lost, in a frantic neverending quest to fill the void in our lives.

"Aim at heaven and you get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither." C.S. Lewis

Do you ever feel like something is missing in your life? We were in a state of continual discontent. The noise of this world was drowning out any whisper from heaven. In our chase to fill the void, what we were finding out is that what we craved was not of this earth. We turned our gaze to heaven and saw glimpses of what we desired. Even if I haven't felt His touch, I can look back and see it. The friend who called at "just the right time," encouragement from strangers, hugs from my daughter, nurses and doctors who prayed.

"The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It's our handle on what we can't see." Hebrews 11:1

In a matter of a few weeks our faith went from routine, to what we clung to with every fiber of our being. When you are left gasping for breath, knocked to your knees, will what you have placed your faith in put your feet on the ground each morning? I can spend my time chasing my doubts and questions. Or I can choose to have the courage to look upward as Anastacia does. The unwavering, breathtaking, simple faith of a child...
Anastacia~ "Momma I just waved to Isaac."
Me~ "hmmm, really?"
Anastacia~ "He was waving at me from heaven. Momma, I miss Isaac. I can't wait to see him again."

"Mark this. Unless you accept God's kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you'll never get in." Mark 10:15


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Spirit.Heart.Soul.

It is funny how one single phone call can change everything. Our hearts were shattered into to a million jagged, broken, pieces. And from the beginning you were there. Each and every single one of you. And then more of you came, so many we don't even know except through the link of this digital age. Friends, moms, dads, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, doctors, nurses, pastors, and those who were once strangers that are now forever bonded to us.
"But Ruth replied, 'Don't ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God." Ruth 1:16
You became our Ruth, you planted your feet and said "I am there."
He gave us you.
You shared our burdens, our grief and sought God on our behalf.
You lifted our spirits, filled our hearts, and touched our souls.
You encouraged us and wrapped us in your arms.

"A friend loves at all times, and is born, as is a brother for adversity." Proverbs 17:17

Friends and family who drove hundreds of miles to simply wrap us in your arms...
Our doctor who was the first to treat me as a person and not a patient, who said "I am here, you are family now..."
Families in the middle of their own sorrow and grief, who found a way to share ours and reach out...
Nurses who prayed with tears in their eyes...
Strangers, who now are friends, that hit the floor on their knees on our behalf...
Friends and family who were content to come to us and just be...
Moms, friends, and strangers who reached out through email, cards, messages, your words lift us up...
You filled our refrigerator, manicured our lawn, and cleaned our home, and we feel your love...
You have loved on our sweet precious girl and for that we are eternally grateful...

You spoke life into our tired souls. The beauty, grace and unconditional love you have poured into our family continues to take my breath away. He will forever bind us together. Thank you for showing the world how we are called to love one another. Our hope is for God to bless all of you with friends who love, weep, pray, and remind you of the beauty of fellowship.

"There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends." John 15:13


~The One Thousand Gifts

#1 Friendship