Monday, September 28, 2009

Every Time I Press In

Friends, I have always marveled at the way God brings the perfect person or the perfect book or Scripture to my life in moments of need. As you know from previous post this week, I have been reading the amazing book "Life As We Want It....Life As We Are Given It".

It has been talking about the upheavals of life and how at the time it can feel as if a earthquake that blows any magnitude on the Richter scale has plummeted into your life.

This week is of no exception. I am not at liberty to divulge details at this time...I am just here to tell you that I will press on. I will allow the dust to settle and for the ruble left behind to wash away allowing God, in all His Glory, to replace the ashes that have seemed to suffocate me right now and turn them into a beauty that serves His purpose.

This truly is a large upheaval. I will not change my stance. I will hold firm to the convictions of my heart and not loose strength. In the silence I spend with God and hearing His voice, I can survive on that alone. I am a proud mother of three incredible children. They in them selves are proof of the beauty that God has brought into my life.

I am far from done. I am just getting started. I will do all that I can to glorify and press on ...and if I can do can do it to. Don't lose heart...don't give, just talk to God and He will hear your heart. To those few family members that are still in support, I thank you deeply with every fiber of my heart. To my friends who have tenderly held my hand the past few weeks, I am grateful. Again, your prayers are priceless and I am humbled to have you interceding for me!!

I love you all....
In His Grip....Stronger Than Ever!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Chapter 1

The Beauty God Brings from Life's Upheavals
BY ~ Ken Gire
Chapter One
Upheavals. Just the thought of that word made my heart skip a beat. Then, he added the words terrifying and life and I knew that this wasn't going to be an easy chapter to dissect and "take in". If you didn't read my unusually LONG post from yesterday, this book is about, well, it's just as the title states. "Life As We Would Want It...Life As We Are Given It".
Throughout this chapter you feel the raw emotion of the stories he tells. Families that have suffered loss of children, friends & in some stories, entire villages. Losses through disease, natural disasters, freak accidents. It's truly a chapter that brought many tears not just to my eyes, but tears that spilled over onto the pages that I read.
There is so much about life that we do not know. We haven't a clue what tomorrow, next week, next month, or the next years might entail. Will there be upheavals? Will there be just one incident that shakes our lives and changes us forever? Will there be a season, however long or short, that leaves us wondering where we went wrong for all of these things to happen to us?
For our family immediate and extended, we have suffered great loss in many areas. We all have been shaken to our core at one time or another. As I look at my parents and how they traveled through these dark times, I noticed that they were more emotionally and spiritually prepared than I ever was. As I tenderly gaze at my brother's family picture, I see an underlying strength that lives within them that even now may not be totally revealing to them. I know them though, I know of their deep relationship and passion for God and all His people! Then I close my eyes and try to think of what people would say of me if asked where they saw me at in my relationship with God during these never ending vallies??? I can tell you that I know I did not at the time have the faith or relationship with God that I should have. Instead of spending prior years building a fortress in which I could run, I wasted that time on selfish desires and worldly matters that in no way prepared me for what was ahead. I wish I had spent time in His word, in His house, in His presence....I wish I knew more about God BEFORE these things happened rather than learning so much about His goodness AFTER!!!
In uncertain times, times of great terrifying upheavals of life, the ones that are filled with loss and corruption of our "before lives"... I agree with Ken Gire when he said that "at times he wishes he didn't believe in God because if we took God out of the picture, we wouldn't take the upheavals so personally. And though the upheavals might still destroy the landscapes of our lives, at least they wouldn't kick up any cosmic dust so that we spend a lot of time wandering in its haze, disoriented and trying to make some kind of sense of it." It would, as Ken says, "be so much easier to just say that the world is filled with randomness and chaos and bad things happen to all of us, and we should just enjoy what we can of life, thanking our "lucky stars" that bad things don't happen to us more often than they do."
I know after two miscarriages, my fundamental faith that was instilled in me through my parents and friends, saved me in many ways. But DURING the pain of losing my babies I would spend days upon days in tearful wonder of what I did to deserve this. What did I do wrong God? Why me? Why my babies? It was an emotional roller coaster of pendulum swings from the top where I felt God's control, to the depths of the valley where I questioned and was angry, shaking my fist at God. After all...God is love and if he is a loving do these things happen??? And more selfishly, why do they happen to me?
We can all get crazy lost in questioning God and His perfect will for our lives. I wonder too what beauty could possibly come out of the tragedies that we have faced in the last 4 years. It also leaves me with an intermittent wonder of what upheavals might become of tomorrow and how long they would last. But I'm going to try a new approach to this crazy life of mine. I want to get closer to God. Closer than I've ever been before. I want to know Him and His word so that when the unspeakable happens, my fortress or refuge IS in Him and not in someone or something. I want to run and hide in Him and know that I know that I know He is with me and in His wings I will find shelter.
Psalm 46:1-11 shows us the truth of God's character. He is our refuge and strength and ever present help in time of trouble. He is in control and has got to have our trust or we will fail at any attempt to try to survive and see what beauty He produces out of the ashes. In times of upheaval, "Be still, and know that I am God".
That's all He is asking that we still. And that to someone like me can be asking a great deal. But to be still and rest in Him is the origination of a strength to endure. We need to, at times, "cease striving" for the answers to our innumerable questions.
Wendell Berry writes in a poem of his what happens when we are still:
The mind that comes to rest is tended
In ways that it cannot intend;
Is borne, preserved, and comprehended
By what it cannot comprehend.
Ken Gire writes: "What we are asked to listen to in times of upheaval is the voice of the Great Artist Himself, who will one day bring, out of the upheavals in this world, a new heaven and a new earth. And He IS in the process of bringing, out of the upheavals in our life, a new heaven and a new earth within us as well."
Be still. Be silent. Find strength to endure in Him. Drown out the inner voices that the enemy so persistently and loudly scrams at us to weaken our ability to sit in silence for The One who heals and restores. Satan will stop at all cost to cause us to doubt, and in some cases cease to believe, that He, THE ALMIGHTY GOD, DOES IN FACT LOVE US!
We, as a family, have been in an incredible time of upheaval. It feels as if we live on a fault line, where earthquakes or tremors occur every day. It is discipline that keeps me at least trying to force myself back to His promise that He would never leave me or forsake me. I know that He has not based my life on a national seismic hazard mapping project thrust upon us by God. I know that there is nothing we can or can't do to prevent further quakes and the magnitude that they can withhold. I also, however, know that God does take the ashes and turn them into something beautiful. I know that as long as I abide in Him, He will protect me and that His perfect will shall be carried out. It doesn't mean that I don't hurt deeply or like Job, ask God why....It just means that at the end of this brief time here on earth....God is going to reveal to me the most majestic picture painted by The Artist of my life.
In His Grip~ And HOLDING ON!!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Life As We Would Want It... Life As We Are Given It

Ken Gire has always been one of my favorite authors. His honest realistic approach coupled with the Living Truth of God's Word has allowed me to see things from God's perspective. He in no way acts like he is a god, but rather is so relevant in his interpretation of God's Word and the promises within those Scriptures.He deeply feels each word he writes and has a true passionate concern for all of us to live life in God's peace and presence.

The first book of his that I read was "The North Face of God". It fell across my journey in the depths of grief over the sudden and tragic loss of my nephew on November 3, 2008. It is a great, great book and I highly recommend it. In short, short synopses of the book, he gently reveals to us that though we may feel as if God is cold and unaware of our hurt, pain, or loss, he is actually protecting us from that in which our eyes here on earth, nor our minds, could possible make sense of.

Isaiah 55:8
"For your thoughts are not My thoughts
neither your ways are My ways." Declares the Lord.

I grew to at least trying to trust in God's purpose in our loss, from totally thinking that He was crazy and that nothing could ever make sense of this nor would the God that I know allow such a thing. Friends, it goes so much further than what we know. I have no more answers today than I did last week, last month, or last year. I am merely finding my way into peace with what has transpired and thanking God every day for His patience to endure His pursuit of my heart. I am stubborn, strong willed, and can tend to think that my way of thinking is the right way to think... but sadly, I have been proven wrong more times than I would like to admit. (OTHER than the fact that The University of Oklahoma is part of the Promise Land and produces great athletes and great citizens of this great country....BOOMER SOONER!!!) :0)

I urge you, I highly recommend to you, that if you are at a spot in your journey of life and you are wondering where God is pick up a copy of "The North Face of God". I can promise that He is there with you, He is not asking for you to do anything but allow Him into the pain of your heart where He will heal whats broken and fill you with peace...a peace that surpasses all understanding. He is there through Scripture, through church families, and through numerous conferences, magazines, and books. Ken Gire pens some of the most life changing publications I have read ~ and trust me, my bookshelf is full! I hate "obscure" reading right now. I want to read something that leaves an indellable impression in my heart that will inspire me in my daily journey while here on earth. What I "want" to do and what I actually "do" though still needs great attention for I am far, far, far from where I should be.(Romans 7:19-20 For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.)

The book that I just recently picked up of his is just as incredible to me. On the heels of "The North Face" I stumbled upon "Life As We Would Want It, Life As We Are Given It" (The Beauty God Brings From Life's Upheavals). For me personally, reading the first of these two books helped greatly extend the healing process and this book feels to me like the next step up. I am FINALLY starting to understand our place in this broken world and when He is given the opportunity & we move aside, what God WILL do. We have to open ourselves to Him for healing. There is no one person on this earth that can fill your heart 100% of the time with 100% satisfaction guarantee. (the only thing I've seen recently with that guarantee was an infomercial for Life Alert "Help I've fallen and I can't get up....anyway, just sayin!.....for my facebook peeps!)

I have just recently started this book, but I feel a strong passion and direction from God to share it...journal things on this blog because I believe that there is at least one person out there who feels so abandoned by something or someone that they need hope...and hope in anything other than God will leave you feeling even more empty. PLEASE, trust me on this!!! I know this much to be fact, not observation!! I would not be here today, literally, if it wasn't for the grace of God and His mercy and endless love.

So, today, Thursday, September 24, 2009, I want to share a part of the Prologue. I say just a "part" but if you know me, I'll probably be writing the entire prologue. I just feel exceptionally moved to help someone. So Lord, as I begin to share the works of this great author, touch the lives of those who read it and God, in ways only you can create, allow this to cross the eyes of someone who is in dire need of knowing You and Your merciful and gracious love.
He has made everything beautiful in its time.
Ecclesiastes 3:11

Thou who wouldst see the lovely and the wild
mingled in harmony on Nature's face,
Ascend our rocky mountains.

William Cullen Bryant
From His Poem
"Monument Mountain"

~Page 3~

When we draw close to Nature, reaching out to it for clues to our existence, Nature takes our hands and fills them with the fertile loam of our humanity, reminding us that from the earth we were taken and to the earth we will return.
It's humbling to realize for us who have been given dominion over Nature how limited that dominion is. We can light candles, but we can't hold back the night. We can prepare for storms, but we can't prevent them. We can't stop the rains in times of flood or start them in times of drought. We can't shorten winter or lengthen spring.

~Page 4~

In Nature we are confronted with the limits of our dominion. Nowhere are those limits so obvious as in the way mountains are formed. When sheer formations of rock are suddenly thrust through the surface of the earth, we are helpless to stop it. Helpless to control either its duration or its devastation.

We are just as helpless when some tragedy devastates us. Like the death of a child. (Lord, help me to continue) Or the diagnosis of cancer. The prodigal who runs away from home. Or the partner who walks away from the marriage. The sudden disability from a wreck. Or the sobering dismissal from work. (Now, I can honestly say that 5 out of the 6 of these life changing situations Mr. Gire described have intersected with my life at some point WITHIN the last 6 years....)

Upheavals come suddenly, unexpectedly, and often catastrophically. Whenever they come, however they come, they forever ALTER THE SETTLED TERRAIN THAT ONCE WAS OUR LIFE. (emphasis mine) Embedded within us are physical, spiritual, and psychological layers that make up our interior landscape. When upheavals come, they alter every layer with varying degrees of destruction that SOMETIMES TAKE A LIFETIME TO UNEARTH. (again, emphasis mine)
~page 5~

Imagine for a minute that YOU are the landscape. The upheaval thrusts itself mercilessly through the very center of who you are. The abrading of granite. The crumbling of limestone. The crashing boulders as they tumble down around you, shattering to pieces. You feel all of that, every grinding moment of it. Your stomach drops, your head spins, and you watch in helpless horror as the innermost parts of your life lie on the surface, exposed to the elements.

The deafening noise is the sound of the upheaval as it forces its way through every stratified layer that lies within you. Your body, mind, emotions, all these layers are displaced. They are folded or pushed upward or thrust over each other. The social layers of your life are shaken. And the spiritual layers that once seemed such bedrock certainties, they're shaken too.
~Page 6~

Who of us can survive the shock and aftershocks of such earth-shaking experiences? Who of us has the strength to sift through the emotional rubble of the resulting devastation? Who of us has the courage to face the future where other upheavals may await us?

Meanwhile, where is God in all of this? Didn't He see the upheaval coming? Couldn't He have prevented it? Or at least warned us of it?

Much of the way pressure within the earth thrusts rock formations through its crust to create mountains, the seismic pressure of these unanswered questions create sudden and sometimes terrifying upheavals in our faith.

~Page 7~

To this bare and broken rock, God comes.
There the weathering grace of God begins its work, wearing granite into soil, planting windblown seeds into barren slopes, bringing life out of lifelessness, beauty out of ugliness.

Season after season, the work continues.

In time, God turns the most terrifying of eruptions into the most majestic of mountains, the most tragic of earthquakes into the most idyllic of landscapes.
That is the unrelenting work of heaven, to make everything beautiful in its time.

And then...the book begins. I believe, because I have read in Scriptures, that God is already with us before tragedy strikes, and He is there with us as it unfolds, and I KNOW He is there holding us when everything around us seems to be falling at our feet and the pain is too much to bear.

We are such a culture of quick fixes. (Look at Obama...never mind...I'm not going there...didn't vote for him, but his entire "change" oriented campaign was not portrayed in unraveling at the speed it is, creating with it monumental difficulties for us, the average American family and the children that will reap the harvest, or lack of, in the future...whew...that's for another time) We want so much for God to take the pain away RIGHT NOW. Sometimes He does and other times, HIS will is to walk with us a little longer in our sorrow so that through the valley, as we walk hand in hand with Him, He can become more intimately real in our hearts and lives. "everything is beautiful in its time" The Scriptures never promise us how long the journey will take...they promise us of the grace, mercy and love that God showers endlessly on those who seek Him and allow Him to be their most intense of desires in life.

I recently have gone through a time of great pain or severe reality check as to where we are as a family. Daren lost his job 7 months ago as most of you know and I think I just turned my head from the true and ugly reality of what was unfolding before us. We are a family of 5 who are maintaining our living through less than $1000 a month from unemployment and through the kindness of Daren's mom allowing us to move into her home and share it with us. My parents have helped provide with school for Kory. But more importantly, there are our prayer warriors that cover and love us....they are a picture of the feathers on the wings of God that we find shelter in.

I don't have any idea what tomorrow holds and I can't change a thing about what happened yesterday, but I can stop TODAY to remind myself that this life is not to be lived the way I want it to be, but as God has carefully orchestrated with every second of my life in mind. I choose to believe that He is with us and has been with us over the past three years as we have been thrust into seasons that without Him, we would have never survived to tell. He has carried us....even when we doubted where He was...He held us even more tightly in the palm of His hand and it is in looking back at those times I truly and honestly can say that I do only see One set of Footprints...
In His Grip and So Thankful for His Love~

Hope ~ By; Beth Moore

I've grown old enough to know
That fairies don't have tails
That good men often suffer
While evil men prevail.
I've tried to find that white frame house
With matching picket fences
But found instead black picket signs
And hatred's thorny fences.
I've lived enough to see
The innocent maligned
And I've concluded fairness is
A rarity to find.
I've seen the noble dreams of man
Be in an instant shattered
I sigh to see another woman
Used and bruised and battered.
I've seen shots of tiny orphans
As rulers rise and fall
I've stood by stricken parents
And caskets way too small.
I've abandoned childish notions
That life is like pretend
I've tossed paper to the ground and sobbed
"When will this madness end?"
But I've never grown up quite enough
To leave my hope behind
I'll think I've turned my back on hope
Then bump into the kind
Of Gentle Traveller sent to bind
My wounded faith with love
Who sets my feet upon a Rock
And my mind on things above.
Then I find myself still hoping
Old folks won't be left alone
And can't seem to quit believing
Daddy's still might move back home.
And that an orphan might just find
A reason to survive
And parents of the missing
Might just find their son alive.
No, I've never grown up quite enough
To scorn sweet signs of Spring
Nor can I help but think a tree
Is happy with a swing.
And you must pardon if I hope
The Pearl of Heaven's Gate
Is the treasure I've adored
And longed to celebrate.
I Hope to hug the ones I've loved
And jump on cotton clouds
Where angels sing His holiness
And saints can laugh out loud.
Some bedtime tales are worth the tell-
May one be quickly due
Let Gabriel groom that great white horse
And board Faithful and True.
So let this world's prince mock and scorn
My hope is not ashamed
For in the King of kingdom's grand
My Hope has found a Name.
Written and Published by:
Beth Moore ~ Things Pondered
From the Heart of a Lesser Woman

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Hello sweet friends and precious family!! Your tender notes of support and love have drawn to me a strength that I needed to be reminded is in me through God! Tears of joy fell as I read each have all touched my heart.

When I mentioned the restructure of our family, it might have come across wrong and poor choice of words on my part. It's more like and extreme makeover. Getting rid of the old ways and embarking on new communication and unity that is for our children and their well being.

I won't lie and say we are fine. Any marriage that has undergone what we have over the past 3 years would be tested to the limits, ours is no exception. (to add injury to insult...the alternator when out on the Taurus...)

So, I just wanted to ease the minds of those in concern. I've got to go and wrangle the girls.... I love each of you!!!

In His Grip!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Time To Change Perspectives....

I look at the date of my last blog entry, has it really been almost 2 weeks? It feels, in some regards, like it's been two days. But, on the flip side a feeling of eternity comes to mind.

I believe in my heart that for the most part, I've had nothing positive to share in this blog. The valley ever deepens and it seems as if we aren't even at the bottom of it yet. I've cut a great deal of my communication off from my mentors and friends who had so gently but firmly redirected my steps back to walking in sync with God and living my life in faith of what HE has in store and not what my own eyes see. So many of those precious mentors and friends I fear would feel as if my effort to continue my walk was loosing it's fire, passion, & heart filled desire to finally once and for all...stay the course and fight the good fight.

I hear people reminding me of Job's life....and I can relate. I hear people telling me again of Paul's life with a thorn in his side....and I can relate. But have I picked up the Word for guidance and for strength to endure? No! Why? I have no idea!!

I have been so deeply drawn to Sheila Walsh and her books! As of today, there isn't a single emotional valley or season that she has walked in that I can't identify with on a very personal level. Her victory over her depression and my three precious children is what keeps me here every day. It's a discipline for my mind to keep it focused on the good in myself and the promise that God would never in a million years trade me in for another. I am at the end of myself and I think that is the best place to open my eyes and see the start of Him.

I pray for strength to endure the next few months as our lives as a family is restructured to a new form. I pray for patience and peace to rule my heart. I pray for the lives of those who have so graciously and endlessly poured into me that they would experience the blessings that can only flow from the hands of God. I pray for my children, that they not be affected more than they have been by this and that God would keep them out of the valley and in His protection until I can stand again feeling honored that I am a mommy. I feel so blessed to be entrusted to raise these three lives

So, friends and family, I return to you again to ask you for your coveted prayers and for just a small amount of continued patience with me. Many of you have traveled this roller coaster life with me and your loyalty to me is far more appreciated and valued than what I could express here right now. I honor you though ~ and I know in the future, God is going to provide the perfect platform for me to openly thank you each.

I love all of you!!! I miss you all immensely!!

In His Grip~

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Season Is Here....

Well, as if this will shock any of you....Sunday afternoon, my son started to feel a little "under the weather". Sunday night he ran a fever...low grade...low 100's, and just grumpy. Monday, the gates opened and he was sick. Sick by every meaning of the word.

His temperature hit it's high mark at 104.6 accompanied by "bad head" (headache) and tummy ache. He started to do the entire throwing up and throwing down thing. Concerned with everything that seems to be circulating here in Norman, I took him to urgent care Tuesday morning. After and hour wait and him continually throwing up, we were taken back to an exam room, where the Dr. came in, looked at him and said "we can't help him here. He needs to go to the emergency room". So much for that hour... so they got our referral formed filled out and sent us on our way.

We arrived at the E.R. and suprisingly taken back immediately. They ran some test and found that he had a strain of the H1N1 virus. Opting for conservative care, they chose to give him some oral zofran (nausea medication) and then a popsicle to see if he could hold that down. He did and they sent us home by 4:00 p.m.

Later that night, his temperature was still hoovering in the high 103 to 104's. To add insult to injury, he started to throw up blood. I guess all the wrenching "irritated" his espophogas and caused bleeding. I took him back to the E.R. where they went ahead and admitted him to the third floor. (this process took 3 hours). He did really well with most of it until they came to stick him with an I.V.

His nurse was great!! Ann loved on him and got it the first try. He wasn't happy though, but she won his heart back with a few new cars. They let me ride on the bed with him up to his room and trust me...from there, it was all tears and crying all night long. Daren showed up a little after 1 a.m. to bring some things I needed and when he left, the poor little guy cried and cried. Finally at abou 4:00 a.m. they gave him another nausea medication that helped him relax a little and he slept from 5:00 a.m. to about 7:30 a.m.

Upon waking, he managed to eat 1/2 of a popsicle and then by lunch time, they had let him have some "real" food and I believe that's when he started to make his "come back". The Dr. returned Wednesday night and discharged us to come home.

It's been another long week. They all seem to be these days. But, I have hope for a brighter with less drama and more joy. Good things come to those who wait...and I am doing my best to not allow my heart to become jaded or cynical in all the negativity that surrounds me.

Thank you to everyone who sent notes and calls to wish him well. Thank you also most importantly for your prayers! We covet those and adore them dearly! I feel blessed to have such a great support system of friends!!

Much love to all!!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

~ Homesick ~

There are days where the struggles still get the best of me and I become weak in my walk, in my faith, that anything good could ever come out of something so tragic that crosses the path of life and takes it away too soon. Too soon by our terms, but certainly according to the Word of God, in His perfect time. "Perfect time"... how can something that's supposed to be so perfect hurt so much...cause the heart to bleed pain and suffering? And if it is so perfect, why doesn't the gut wrenching pain and "wind knocked out of ya" feeling go away or at least fade... Can't that be a trade off for those left to feel the depths of loss?

I still, 10 months later, have more questions than ever been given answers. I don't know any more "why's" or "because" than I did, nor do I see this knowledge being revealed. I still don't know how to do this, how to grieve, in a way that honor's God. As this song says, and the one true fact that we have to hold on to (and sometimes just having something to hold on to is enough to put one foot in front of the other....)is that "In Christ there are no goodbye's; In Christ there is no end" So we are supposed to find a way to hold on to Jesus with all that we have until we see Major again, and live moment by moment....but I think it's alright with God that we live a little homesick for Him...for Heaven...for a life unknownst to pain...

Help me Lord, cause I don't understand Your ways,
The reason why I wonder if I'll ever know....
but even if You showed me, the hurt would be the same
because I'm still here, so far away from home...

I close my eyes, and I see your face
if homes where my heart is, then I'm outta place
Lord, won't you give me strength to make it through somehow
I've never been more homesick than now

In Christ there are NO goodbyes,
In Christ there is NO end,
So I'll hold on to Jesus with all that I have
to see you again, to see you again....