What Great-Grandpa Taught Us About Love

When Brynna was little she dragged the card table to the end of the driveway and put a “flowers for sale” sign on it.   She walked around the yard, picked flowers, and tied them together with purple yarn. Great-Grandpa showed up to buy some flowers.  He reached in his pocket, pulled out $20, and purchased a small bouquet of clover. And before he left he reached into his pocket again, pulled out $20, and he gave it to Taylor just for standing there and looking pretty.

Great-Grandpa passed away in April and then 8 weeks later Great-Grandma left us as well.  He was 94 and she was 91.  They were 4 weeks away from celebrating their 73rd wedding anniversary when Grandpa passed away.  It’s hard to imagine life without them. Great-Grandpa was always the life of the party and Great-Grandma was his sweet, quiet companion.  Right now we feel like our hearts have been ripped out.  A friend told me the other day that it doesn’t get easier it just gets different.  Yes, life is different now.  Two very special people are missing each time we have a family get-together.  Great-Grandma and Grandpa won’t be at anymore birthday parties or Christmas Eve breakfasts.  And it hurts. A lot.

We visited Great-Grandma the week before she passed away.  Brynna took me over to a cabinet in the dining room.  She smiled as she showed me the clover that Great-Grandpa had bought all those years ago.  He had taken his clover home and hung it from the handle of the cabinet.  The clover was special to him.  So special that he put it on display for everyone to see.  Brett was at Grandma and Grandpa’s house the day before Grandma’s funeral.  He saw the clover and he brought it home to Brynna.  He knew it was special. That dried up clover holds a memory that Brynna shared with Great-Grandpa.

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We went to church on Sunday.  I still felt numb from the funeral and just didn’t feel like being there.  During the worship service I couldn’t sing because I had a lump in my throat and tears trickling down my face.  I began to think about the high price that Great-Grandpa paid for that clover.  Why did he do that?  He paid a high price because he loved Brynna.  She was worth it.  And he saw Taylor standing beside Brynna and he gave her the same gift.  She didn’t do anything to earn it.  But he gave it to her anyway. Because he loved Taylor.  She was worth it.

The tears continued to flow down my cheeks as I realized that Great-Grandpa’s love is an earthly example of the love that Jesus has for each one of us.  He paid a high price for our sins by dying on the cross. Why did He do that?  He did it because He loves us.  We are worth it.  We don’t have to do anything to earn His love.  He gives it freely to each and every one of us.  All we have to do is accept His love and share His love with others.  That’s all that really matters.  Loving Jesus and loving others.

As we watched things leave Grandma & Grandpa’s house it made us pause and really think about life.  Things just really don’t matter.  We spend a lifetime accumulating things that we can’t take with us when we leave this earth.  The most important thing that we can leave behind is a legacy of love.  We can create memories that can be passed down through the generations.  Perhaps one day Brett and I will celebrate our 72nd wedding anniversary.  And we will gather around his Grandma & Grandpa’s table and Brett will tell our kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids about the time that Grandpa Jimmy paid $20 for clover.  And we’ll laugh and remember the greatest lesson that Grandpa ever taught us.  He taught us how to love.

 

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The Case Of The Missing Coats

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The insurance paper had the words “not medically necessary” printed on it.  Mikayla and Hope’s speech and occupational therapy will no longer be covered by insurance. I felt totally helpless.  What do we do now?  One person said we should do this.  Another person said we need to do that.  And another person said we need to do something else.  How do we decide where to go from here?  I’ve not slept much.  I’ve worried and I’ve cried.  I’ve wondered what God is doing. I’ve prayed and asked Him to direct our steps and to show us what’s next for our girls.

Right now we see two options.  We can move to the state where Brett works.  His commute would be shorter and more services would be available for our girls than we have in our state.  Or the girls can get the therapies they need if we enroll them in a school that’s 50 minutes from our house.  To be honest, neither option sounds very appealing to me.  I don’t really feel like relocating.  I’m not opposed to the school but I don’t like the fact that it’s 50 minutes away from our house.

I decided that I want to talk to someone who has worked at the school and I also want to talk to a parent whose child goes to the school.  A friend from church volunteered at the school several years ago.  We’ll be meeting with her soon and getting her thoughts on our situation.  But I don’t know anyone who has a child in the school.  But I do know God and I’ve prayed for Him to direct our steps to the right places and the right people.  Last night He directed my steps in a rather unique way.

It was 37 degrees when I pulled into the church parking lot.  I pulled up to the door and let the girls out so that they wouldn’t have to walk in the cold.  I didn’t want to mess with putting their coats on since they only needed to take 3 steps to get inside.  I told them I would bring their coats in with me so they would have them for our walk back out to the van after church.  I parked the van.  I grabbed the coats and my purse and walked into church.

As worship service was getting ready to start I took my coat off and I put it on the seat next to me. Wait a minute.  Where are the girls coats?  Oh great.  I left them in the restroom.  I ran to the restroom.  No coats.  I went to their classroom.  Maybe the girls were carrying them and I just don’t remember.  Nope. No coats in the classroom either.  I walked up and down the hallways.  No coats anywhere.  I saw Amanda and Kathy standing at the check-in station;  I asked them if anyone had turned in a couple of coats.  They said no one had.  Amanda told me to go into the worship service and relax.  They would find the coats for me.

I went into the service.  I began to sing but I wasn’t able to relax.  There’s nothing in this world that makes me crazier than not being able to find something. Amanda and Kathy had enough to take care of without having to look for my girls coats.  So I prayed.  I asked God to help them find the coats quickly.  And then I heard a still small voice that said “You didn’t bring them in……they’re still in the van.”  I grabbed my keys and I went out to the van.  Sure enough both coats were in Mikayla’s seat.  I realized what had happened.  I parked the van, opened the hatch, and grabbed the coats. And then I noticed I’d done a terrible job of parking.  I was way too far away from that line and way too close to that one.  So I put the coats in Mikayla’s seat, got back in the van, and straightened up my bad parking job.  Then I got out of the van, forgot to grab the coats, and went into church.  The case of the missing coats was solved.

I was feeling like a complete fool as I walked towards the kids classes.  But I had to let the ladies know that they could stop looking for the coats.  I found Kathy and I told her that I hadn’t actually brought the coats into the building.  We laughed about my brain malfunction.  I told her that I hadn’t been sleeping much.  She asked me why I hadn’t been sleeping.  I told her that we’re needing to make decisions about Mikayla & Hope’s future.  I told her that sending them to a school almost an hour from our house may be the only way they can get the therapies they need.  She told me that she has a friend whose daughter will soon graduate from the same school.  She’s sure she would be glad to talk to me about the school.  Ok, Lord.  This whole missing coat fiasco makes sense now.  I went back into the worship service just in time to sing the last half of the last song.  And all I could think about was how good God is.  He directs my steps no matter what.  Even during a moment when I felt like a complete fool He directed my steps towards Kathy.  He knew that Kathy had a friend who can help me.

I learned a valuable lesson last night.  Searching for the answers to our girls futures is much like searching for their missing coats.   I ran all over the church trying to find their coats but I couldn’t find them.  It was when I stopped and asked God for His help that the coats were found.  I can run all over this earth searching for services, therapists, and schools and not find them.  But if I just stop and ask God to help me He will answer.  He delights in every detail of our lives.  He even delights in me during those moments when I’m looking for something that was never lost.

Just Like Taylor

I was feeling a little depressed as I was standing in worship service at church.  Is there more for our family than what we’re experiencing? More than just struggling through each day and hoping that the next day will be better?  More for Brett? More for me?  More for all of our girls?  More joy? More peace? As all of these questions were floating around in my head God took me back to the year 1999.

Taylor was our only child and she was almost 3 years old.  One day she marched up to Brett  and she said “Daddy, I want a dollhouse for Christmas.  And I want ALL of the stuff that goes in the dollhouse…..or I will cry!!!!”  She was very assertive and clear about what she wanted.

So Brett and I went to Toys R Us.  We put the Fisher-Price dollhouse in the cart and then Brett did what I knew he was going to do.  Yep.  He cleaned off the shelves. If it went with the dollhouse it went in the cart.  I asked the question that the gal who takes care of the budget is supposed to ask.  “Are you sure that we need to get everything that goes with the dollhouse?  Could we just start with a mommy, a daddy, a daughter, and a couple of sets of furniture?  Her birthday is 6 weeks after Christmas. We can come back and get more later, right?”

Nope.  Daddy wasn’t going to mess this up.  She asked for EVERYTHING that goes in the dollhouse. So she’s going to get EVERYTHING that goes in the dollhouse. Forget the budget.  Daddy’s love for his little girl was more important than the budget.  There were no tears on Christmas morning.  Daddy had done his job well.

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As my mind returned back to the worship service I knew what God was telling me “Yes, I have more for you.  But are you expecting more? Are you asking for more? Or are you acting like you did that day in Toys R Us?  Do you think just a few things are enough?  Do you not realize that I want to give you so much more than you can even imagine? Maybe you should be more like Taylor.  Maybe you should march up to me, your heavenly Daddy,  and let Me know what you want.

I started to ask God for more for our family.  One thing I began to believe for is that God is going to take Mikayla and Hope farther than anyone ever dreamed possible. The very next week we found out our insurance will no longer be paying for their therapies.  I felt like the rug had been pulled out from under me.  The day the therapists talked to me about it I got really upset.  I mean go home and crawl into bed and cry all night upset.  Without insurance to help pay for their therapies the future seems pretty cloudy.  Our girls love their therapists and they feel like a part of our family.  The thought of starting over again with new therapists makes me sick to my stomach.

I began to do what I do best.  I worried.  I googled for an answer.  I ate chocolate.  I didn’t sleep for a week.  I asked God why.  I worried some more.  And all of those things were a complete waste of time.  Well, except for eating the chocolate.  That was time well spent.  But then it occurred to me that God was probably looking at me and thinking “Are you going to ask me? I want to give good gifts to those who ask.”  Why do I worry, google, question, and go without sleep before I ask God to give me wisdom?

Brett read a devotion to our family at supper a few nights ago.  It said that we need to stop asking God why and start asking Him what now?  And so I’ve started asking God “What now?”  He will show us what we’re supposed to do.  Do I like what we’re going through?  No.  Do I understand what God’s doing right now? No.  Do I wish the girls could stay with their current therapists?  Definitely.  Am I scared out of my mind?  Unfortunately, yes.  But we are starting a journey to find a new place where the girls can get the help that they need.  I don’t know what the future holds.  But I do know this.  God will never leave us and He will never forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6).  He wants to lavish His love on us (1 John 3:1) just like Brett lavished his love on  Taylor.   I will trust Him.  I will believe.  And I will ask for everything He wants me to have.  Just like Taylor.

Though my eyes cannot see every single step
And my heart feels unsure again
I’ll remember the strength of your love, oh God
I’ll hold onto the peace you bring 

 

 

I’m Accepted by The One Who Matters Most

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Rejection.  I don’t like that word.  I don’t like how I feel when that word happens to me.  But rejection happens.  No one gets through life without experiencing it.  Rejection comes in many different ways. You’re the last one picked every single time.  You cried because you weren’t invited to the party.  You didn’t make the team.  Your best friend announced that she didn’t want to be your friend anymore. Maybe your mom or dad walked out of your life and never  came back.  Or a boyfriend said that he didn’t want you anymore because a new girl had caught his eye.  Your husband said the wrong thing and you felt rejected.  He had no idea what he said. And you had no idea why he didn’t know what he said.  Or maybe your spouse walked out of your life without any warning.  Your child has grown up and never comes to see you. Rejection hits us all and it can knock our feet out from under us.

The only thing worse than being rejected is watching your child be rejected.  If you have a special needs child you are most likely too familiar with rejection.  You want your child to feel loved and accepted. But she may be laughed at or even ignored.  You desperately want her to have a friend.  But she doesn’t.   One of your biggest dreams in life is that your child will be invited to a party.  But it hasn’t happened yet.  You secretly wish that people would talk to your child instead of ignoring her.  You wish the strangers in front of you in line wouldn’t stare and give dirty looks while your child is having a meltdown.  It would be a dream if you ever heard the words “I’m not in a hurry.  Please, go in front of me.”

I recently spent a long, miserable day feeling rejected.  A few days later a song came to my mind.  My husband sang this song at our church in the early 1990’s.

I’m Accepted by Degarmo & Key

I may not be rich
Don’t wear fashion clothes
Don’t live in a mansion
Don’t have much that shows
Never won a contest in popularity
Don’t have much to offer
But Jesus still loves me
I’m accepted, accepted
I’m accepted by the One who matters most

Never set a record in sports agility
Never was magnetic in personality
That don’t really matter
I’ll do the best I can
‘Cause there’s a God above me
Who loves me like I am
I’m accepted, accepted
I’m accepted by the One who matters most

If you think you’re a loser
When you fail it seems at everything you do
Just remember there’s a Savior
And you are worth enough
He gave His life for you
I’m accepted, accepted
I’m accepted by the One who matters most

As I was listening to this song I was thinking about kids with special needs.  Many of them will not win a popularity contest.  They probably won’t set a record in sports or have a magnetic personality.  Many people will look at them and they will think that they don’t have much to offer.  But Jesus looks at them and He knows that they have a lot to offer.  He accepts them exactly as they are.  He accepts all of us exactly as we are.  It doesn’t matter what we can or can’t do.  It doesn’t matter what we’ve ever done. We’re all accepted by the One who matters most.  All of us were worth enough that He gave His life for us.

Last Sunday we attended 2nd service at our church.  When I brought the girls into their class, the 1st service class was ending and there was music playing. The kids were playing and dancing around.  I was mesmerized by what I saw.  The man who was teaching the class was dancing with a sweet little girl who has special needs.  And he was smiling down on her as they danced.  It was a beautiful moment that I was privileged to witness.  I still get tears in my eyes as I am typing this.  That sweet little girl is accepted by the One who matters most.  And she’s accepted by a man who understands God’s love.  He took a few moments out of his life and made a difference in her life.  And it was beautiful.

The next time we’re standing in a line and someone shoots us one of those “you need to control your kid” dirty looks, I’m going to remember that She’s accepted by the One who matters most.

The next time someone steps out of a long line because they don’t possess the patience that our girls require, I’ll remember that She’s accepted by the One who matters most. 

The next time our girls are overlooked or ignored I’ll remember that They’re accepted by the One who matters most.

The next time people are staring at us because they don’t understand why our life looks different than their life looks, I’ll remember that We’re accepted by the One who matters most.

And even when I encounter people who are unkind and intolerant, I’ll remember a man dancing with one of God’s little princesses.  And it will remind me that God creates beautiful moments  when special kids are loved by special people.  Those beautiful moments are what carry me through the next moments that might not be so beautiful.

 

 

 

I’m Fresh Out of Amazing

I’m fresh out of amazing.  That was the sentence that I read in a book called Hope for the Weary Mom. I sometimes feel fresh out of amazing by 9 a.m.  I always feel fresh out of amazing by 9 p.m.  I feel it when there are dirty dishes all over my kitchen.  I feel it when I cook something and it doesn’t taste quite right.  I feel it when I have no energy left to read the girls a book at the end of the day.  I feel it when I’m searching for the piece of chocolate that is hidden in my closet.  And I feel it when I can’t put two thoughts in a row to have a conversation with my handsome man.  Yep.  I’m fresh out of amazing. Brady_Bunch_Carol_Alice_bionicdisco When I was a kid I loved watching the Brady Bunch.  Carol Brady was always full of amazing.  She had 6 kids to keep track of and she made it look easy.  She never raised her voice.  She was always smiling and she never looked tired.  Every family crisis could be solved in 30 minutes.  When I grow up, I’m going to be just like Carol Brady.  Yes, I am.

Well, one of those things happened.  I grew up.  But I’m nothing like Carol Brady.  I’ve figured out the secret to why Carol Brady was so full of amazing.  Alice is what made Carol Brady amazing.  Alice was her full-time housekeeper and chef.  I don’t know of even one mom who has a full-time Alice living in her house.  I could totally change my name to Carol if I had a full-time chef and maid living with us.

I think most of us moms feel like we are fresh out of amazing.  We seem to think that what makes us amazing is a list of things that we are able to accomplish. We think we are amazing if our kids are well-behaved.  We think we are amazing if our house is completely clean and dinner came out of the oven instead of out of a bag.  The more we are able to do the more amazing we are.  Can I let you in on a little secret?  We aren’t amazing because of anything that we do.  A friend reminded me this week of what truly makes a mom amazing.  A mom is amazing because God has placed within her the ability to love like He loves.  God’s love never ends.  His love never gives up.  And He has created moms to love just like He loves.  A mom’s love never ends.  A mom’s love never gives up.

A mom can wake up in the morning thinking about how hard yesterday was.  She doesn’t feel like facing another day.  She secretly thinks that she can’t do it anymore.  But she sits up, she puts her feet on the floor, and she starts another day.  It is the love deep within her for her children that makes her keep going.  Her love for her children never ends.

A mom may hear the words “below average” or “disabled ” to describe her child.   She can’t seem to escape it because a professional actually took the time to write it down on paper.  It’s real and she can’t do anything to change it.  But the love that she has for her child reminds her that her child is fearfully and wonderfully made by God (Psalm 139:14).  God doesn’t think any of His children are below average.  He believes that all of His children are wonderful.

The world tells a mom that her child is different.  Her child is labeled because she didn’t pass a certain test.  Kids this age are able to do all of these things but since your child can’t….well, she’s just different. But what the world doesn’t see is all of the slow and steady progress that her child has made.  The world didn’t have a front row seat to watch all of the times that her child didn’t give up when something was hard.  But she did.  And she smiles because she knows that her child is learning perseverance.  The world certainly needs more people with the character quality of perseverance.

Yes her child is different.  She giggles endlessly at something that most people don’t even notice.  A butterfly makes her giggle and smile as she runs around the yard with her net saying “I need to catch him”.  Flying a kite is one of the most exciting things that she has ever done.  Days when the wind isn’t blowing just aren’t as much fun.  Animals are the best thing that God ever created.  Especially flamingos and dolphins and peacocks and cats and dogs and caterpillars and birds and……well just all of them are wonderful.  Our girls have helped me to see things that I couldn’t see before. They have shown me how much joy there is in the simple things of life.  Yes, our girls are different.  Different is wonderful.

Moms have something so much better than a full-time Alice that makes them amazing.  God certainly knew what He was doing when He placed His love inside of His children.  When we feel like we are fresh out of amazing the truth is that we are totally full of His amazing.  We are full of His amazing love that goes on and on.

photo credit:  http://chrystalevanshurst.com/     .

Shining the Light on the Dark Places

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The light above our bathroom sink is supposed to have 3 light bulbs in it.  But it only had 1 light bulb.  Brett had the bright idea that maybe we should actually use 3 light bulbs.  So he stopped on his way home from work and bought some.  The next day I was fixing my hair and I very quickly decided that I didn’t like these new light bulbs.  Well, would you look at that.  Look at all of those gray hairs.  I knew I had some but thank you dear hubby for illuminating them for me.  Wow.  Look at the circles under my eyes.  I had no idea that I looked this old and tired.  Maybe if our two turtles would go to sleep before 11 p.m. I would look a little younger.   The back of the light bulb package said “light that lets you see every detail”.  Ain’t that the truth.

Light bulbs illuminate our outward appearance and sometimes it just isn’t very pretty.   Not long ago God shone His light on my heart and it wasn’t very pretty.   It was as if He chose to shine 3 lights on my heart and I suddenly saw that dark place that I didn’t realize was still there.  God’s light is a light that lets you see every detail.

They were walking towards me and my stomach started doing flip flops.  I suddenly wished I could be invisible.  I didn’t want to talk to them.  Maybe they won’t see me.  Oh, that would be so nice.   What if they come up to me and start talking?  What am I going to say?

It’s funny how places bring back memories.  This room had so many good memories and this room had a few bad memories.  At this moment the bad memories were flooding my mind.

Remember when you were standing right over there and one of them said you used to look like a good mom?  Remember how that felt like a knife going through your heart?

Remember when they ……..

And then they……

And I still can’t believe that they…..

All this inner struggle was going on as they were still walking towards me.  And then I heard someone say my name. The sound of my name was coming from the opposite direction.  Oh, thank goodness.  I was saved.  It was a friend who I hadn’t seen in a while and we chatted for a few minutes. When we got done talking, I glanced up and they were gone. I was relieved.

Then I was confused.  I honestly thought that I had forgiven them.  But if I had forgiven them, then why did my stomach do flip flops when I saw them?  and why didn’t I want to talk to them?  God gently said “You haven’t totally forgiven them.  We still have a little work to do.

Ok, Lord.  What do I do now?  How do I totally forgive them? And this was the answer that He gave me.  Pray for those who hurt you (Luke 6:28).  Really?  That’s the answer?  That sounds really hard.  But I’ll do it because I want that dark place in my heart to be gone.  And so I began praying for them.  I believe that as I pray for them I will begin to love them.  I Corinthians 13:5 says that love keeps no record of wrongs.  I believe that as my heart is filled with love for them,  I will no longer keep a record of wrongs.  God will be with me on this path to total forgiveness.  I know with His help it is possible to love those who have hurt me.

God revealed something else to me through my experience with our new light bulbs.  I was thinking about Mikayla & Hope’s future.  Right now we don’t know what God’s plans and purposes are for them.  The one thing that I know is that He does have a plan and He does have a purpose for each of them (Jeremiah 29:11).   And that is enough for me to know right now.  It’s as if there is 1 light bulb shining right now.  There’s enough light to give us hope that God has a plan for them  But I believe that one day He is going to shine 3 light bulbs on them and all of a sudden we are going to see more clearly what His plans and purposes are for their lives.  He will show us every detail that He has planned for them.  And it will be good.

 For I know the plans that I have for you, says the Lord,

plans for peace and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11

You want me to start a blog? Are you kidding me!

It was the year 1976 and nervous children gathered in Mrs. Lankford’s kindergarten class for the very first time.  Kindergarten was only a half day back then.  There was enough time to be introduced to the Letter People, hear a story, meet a few new friends, and then get back on the little yellow school bus. Kids went home from that first day of school and told their parents that there was a girl in the class who couldn’t talk.  That little girl was me.

I was painfully shy.  Mrs. Lankford only heard me utter two words the entire year that I was in her class. We had an assignment to cut pictures out of a magazine and bring them to class.  Mrs. Lankford thought my pictures were wonderful and she asked me what magazine I had found them in.  I whispered the words “Sesame Street” into her ear.

Fast forward to 5th grade.  The teacher gave an assignment that left my knees shaking.  Each student had to memorize a poem and recite it to the class.  Memorizing the poem was easy, but I did not want to recite it in front of the class.  I was really hoping that I would get a stomach bug and I would get out of it.  No such luck.  I remember getting up and reciting the poem and feeling as if I could vomit at any moment.

Fast forward to Senior English.  The teacher announced that it was time to start giving speeches.  Didn’t I just do that 7 years ago?  Why-oh-why can’t I get a stomach bug, strep throat, or a migraine so I can get out of this?  Of course, I woke up perfectly healthy.  I was actually going to have to do this.  I walked to the front of the class, lifted my papers up,  and began my speech.  My hands were visibly shaking. They were shaking so much that I was having trouble reading my speech.  It seemed like an eternity, but I finally got to the last line.  As I walked back to my desk, the teacher commented that I seemed so calm and I had done a wonderful job.  I’m pretty sure that she saw my hands shaking, but she chose to compliment my efforts rather than criticize my delivery.

Public speaking has always been my enemy.  All year I’ve felt like I was supposed to start this blog.  But fear kept creeping in.  It whispered in my ear “You know you’re not good at speaking.  You really aren’t qualified to do something like that.”

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I’m pretty sure that Moses and I have the same personality type.  The Lord asked Moses to go and bring the Israelites out of Egypt.  Moses asked “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”  (Exodus 3:11-12).  He obviously didn’t feel qualified to do what the Lord was asking him to do.  When I first felt as if the Lord was asking me to start this blog, I questioned Him as well.  I asked Him “You want me to bring encouragement to other families when I’m a complete mess myself? Are you kidding me?  How is that even possible?”  The Lord’s response to Moses was “I will be with you”.   He is with me also.  I can’t do this without Him.      

Moses said “Oh Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant, I am slow of speech and tongue.”   The Lord said to him “Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” (Exodus 4:10-12).  I have also reminded the Lord that public speaking is not my strength. “Don’t you remember kindergarten, 5th grade, and my Senior year of high school, Lord?  I can just picture Him smiling and saying “Oh, Tricia, stop thinking so much and just go.  I will teach you what to say.”

Christine Caine

Christine Caine

God doesn’t always choose the person who looks qualified for the job.  I can’t help but think about I Samuel 16:7.  It says For the Lord does not see as man sees;  for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”  If you look at my outward appearance I certainly don’t look qualified. My knees and my hands shake when I speak.  But the Lord looks at my heart. He sees that my heart breaks every time our two upside down turtles struggle with something that is easy for other kids. He sees me when my heart is ugly and I’m angry because life just doesn’t look like I pictured it.  He sees that my heart aches for others who feel the same things that I feel.  He sees all that is going on in my heart and He wants to heal me. He sees others who are lonely, angry, broken-hearted and disillusioned and He wants them to be healed too. I believe that this blog has been born so that all of us who are struggling could find each other. The Lord never meant for us to be alone.  He wants us to encourage one another. He wants us to bring light to someone’s darkness and to bring joy to someone’s sorrow.

As I end this first post, fear is starting to whisper in my ear again.  My knees are shaking, and I feel a bit nauseous.  Our pastor told me that sometimes you have to run over the fear instead of hoping that it will go away.  I’ve waited all year for the fear of starting a blog to go away, and it never has.  So I’m choosing to push the publish button to this post and run over my fear.  I trust the Lord will bring hope, healing and encouragement to all who read the words that He gives me.