Saturday, May 22, 2010

Friday, May 21, 2010

A Call To Worship In The Valley

Below is a short note I wrote to a few friends on facebook....and I wanted to share it with those of you that aren't on facebook or might have missed it. This season has been long and difficult...but I've found my footing and the "quit" mentality that I've been shouldering for months is starting to fade. Thank you so much for the love and prayers that you each have selflessly given and the cards, postcards, emails, and phone calls....I've cherished each one. I'm sure the difficult days are not over...but I'm going to do my best to put the past behind me,embrace the life that I now have, and press on! I love you all!!!!

One of my all time favorite books was discovered shortly after one of the most tragic events in my life. It's an amazing book of trusting in the goodness and faithfulness of God during times of great sorrow or unrest. It's written by Matt and Beth Redman ~ "Blessed Be Your Name". You have more than likely heard the song that Matt so amazingly wrote that encourages the worshiper to bless the Name of God during every season of life. (I'll attach the Lyrics at the end of this note)

As I picked up this book again today, it fell open to Chapter 5 ~ "You Give and Take Away". This so appropriately encompasses the entire nature of the season of life that I am in.

God has given so much to me through my three children, my great parents, my amazing brother & his family, and wonderful friends. God also has allowed other relationships to fade away or end abruptly.

The pain of relationships ended, as in my marriage, has at times left me paralyzed in sadness and grief. My flesh over rode what in my heart and mind knew to be true about the reasons God allows these things to happen. I found myself reacting in ways that were not of God and what He would have me to do. I started to once again walk in the wilderness without the armor of His protection.

I'm thankful that He relentlessly pursued my heart again and gently drew me back to His presence and the foot of the cross where I found myself in repentance for wondering and joy in His grace and mercy that covers my life.

In this 5th chapter of this book, there are several phrases and statements that struck my heart as to be such great truth of who our God is during times in life where people or "things" are lost. I deeply desire to share these with you my precious friends. There are several of us that continue on in our journey in the valley and several more that know others who find themselves in the midst of pain that, if I were to only read this for myself, would be selfish on my part. So, please allow me to share with you these amazing words that Matt and Beth so realistically penned for us to read.

~ "Oh that God would bring us to the place that even when the familiar and the comfortable fall away beneath us, STILL we are found with an undying song of trust flowing from our lips and from our lives"

~ "The last section of the song "Blessed Be Your Name" comes straight from the story of Job. In what has to be one of the most intense stories in the whole of Scripture, Job is stripped of everything precious to him and suffers much hardship. Toward the beginning of his ordeal, he finds a way to the place of praise, falling to the ground in worship and crying out: 'The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord' (Job 1:21, NASB)
This resounding line is a challenge for every worshipper. A CALL TO TRUST DEEPLY IN THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD, SHAPING OUR LIVES BASED NOT ON THE TEMPORARY THINGS OF THE EARTH BUT ON THE ETERNAL KING OF HEAVEN. For devotion to STAND THE TEST OF TIME and ENDURE THROUGH EVERY SEASON of the soul, it CANNOT be based on the ever-changing circumstances of our lives-IT MUST HAVE ITS FOUNDATION ON THE NEVER-CHANGING WORTH OF GOD. (all emphasis mine)

~ (William Cowper was a great poet in the eighteenth century. He wrote many amazing hymns of praise. He was able to pen such amazing expressions of worship from a heart that carried much sadness...this next phrase that caught my heart is about his life)

".....But the most amazing thing of all about this hymn is that Cowper suffered with manic depression-something that he'd been plagued by for many years and that doctors in his day had little comprehension of. How incredible that he could write such a powerful hymn wrapped around the theme of sovereignty of God while living day by day under such a dark cloud!

~Yes, there are some things we will never understand while we walk upon this earth. There comes a time when we simply have to submit to the mystery.

~Sometimes, as we stand there in the midst of our pain and confusion, all we can do is submit to the mystery-knowing that He who gives and takes away is infinitely wiser and more loving than we could ever fathom.

~We stand on the unshakable hope of all that is to come - for our present suffering, as real and as awful as it may be, will be NOTHING in comparison with the glory that will be revealed in us (when we join Him in heaven)
.....Romans 8:18 says "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us"

~Somehow, this pain, which thunders violently in the very cores of our beings, will be but a mere whisper when compared with the radiance and satisfaction to one day be bestowed upon us. It's good news from a distant land, the glimmering haze of a bright hope to come. And yet it is not escapism - for though this hope will be fully unveiled to us on that day, even now we can live in Christ, and He in us. ***WE WALK ON: SORROWFUL, YET ALWAYS REJOICING; PERPLEXED, BUT NEVER IN DESPAIR; AT TIMES HAVING NOTHING AND YET POSSESSING EVERYTHING.

~The road to our final destination WILL INDEED BE MARKED WITH SUFFERING. Jesus is looking for worshippers who will CHOOSE Him EVEN IN THE MIDST of their pain. A people with a cry of "Blessed Be Your Name" RESONATING in the depths of their souls. And no matter how painful life becomes, He will SURELY BE WORTH THE STRUGGLE"

(And now for my thoughts...for what they are worth) :0)

This book, along with the Scriptures in the Bible, is a map to the hidden treasure of a peace that surpasses understanding during the painful and often devastating times in our lives that leave us feeling as though the wind has been knocked out of us and the rug violently ripped out from under our feet. The challenge, to praise Him, to trust Him, to keep our hearts open to Him while not fully understanding or possessing all the answers to His reasons for such dark times.

I have allowed the past 3 years to dictate my worship and trust in God. Not in the way God would want it...but in the way I wanted....I could not find a way to worship God or trust in His ways. I could (and still don't) understand how valley after valley continued to detour me on my journey to a closer relationship with Him. My goal…to praise Him in the storm and praise Him in the calm!

Will it be easy? No! I'm sure dark days will still find their ways into the path of my life. It's my choice from here on out to praise Him and trust Him...have faith in what I cannot see with my earthly eyes. But, there are good days right now as well….I shall hold on to those days…embrace them with a heart that desires to walk in joy!!

I continue to be blessed by my friends here on FaceBook. As I continue to press on through this valley, I will in time, share more about this journey and how so many of you have saved me in times of deep depression. I am forever blessed that God has brought many of you back into my life. I’m blessed for the new friends that I have made.

In His Grip~

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

"Sometimes He Calms The Storm"

Terrifying Night

It's been awhile since I've taken time to sit and post anything on this blog of mine. There was a time that I would post at least once a day. I was IN LOVE with life and all that made it up.

These days, it's been more difficult to find the good. I'll update more on my own journey later...hopefully. I know many of you have wondered and sent sweet messages asking for updates on how to pray ~ so I'll do my best to post on that later.

But for now, I want to post on the horrific weather that rolled through Norman last night ~ leaving me breathless at times ~ terrified at others ~ and just worried beyond comprehension.

I'd like to start by thanking my neighbors, Melissa and Tom. They came over with their little guy River (he's almost 3 and just the most precious little guy! The kids LOVE to play with him and having them as neighbors has become such a blessing!!)

Our local news had started "warning" us on Saturday that Monday would be filled with a severe weather outbreak. I didn't think much of it....that is until Monday late morning when they issued a tornado watch for most of our state that was in effect until 10:00 p.m. Still, I wasn't worried at this point.

Then all of a sudden, local programing was interrupted by our local news. Large dangerous storms started to form in Northern Oklahoma. If I recall correctly, by 2:00 there were reports of 3-4 tornado's in the North Central portions of our state. Within an hour, they began reporting on storms firing up at rapid speed just west of the Oklahoma City metro area. Tornado's warning popped up for Oklahoma City, Moore, Del City, Midwest City, and several other towns. Baseball and softball size hail with straight line winds in excess of 100 mph were approaching the area in which my parents live.

This is when my nerves started to increase and worry set in. Within 30 minutes, storms just west of Norman, where I live, blew up into major storms with multiple tornado's ~ headed our way. Around 4:30, the tornado sirens began to blow and the skies grew angry.Power went out and so we were left uninformed of what was going on....

Major circulation passed right over my house and was headed in the direction of where the kids are at Grandma's when they are with their Daddy. I started to call....and call....and call....and answer....I was so fearful and had no idea what was going on at all. All I knew to do was pray that the kids would be okay.
Our local news channel 4 has a helicopter that covers stories and I knew something bad was going on when it flew over and suddenly began to hoover just by where the kids were. Again...I called and called and answer. Finally, Daren picked the phone up and told me that they were in the closet. I could hear the kids crying in the background and my heart broke. I wanted to be with them. I'm a mommy...protecting my children is what I do. It's who I am.

So, with no power, no way to know what was going on...I jumped in my car and headed that way to see if they were okay. These next few pictures are pictures of the entrance to Gayle's house and some of 48th Street that her house is located off of......

So, I thank God that the kids are safe and okay. I'm anxious for them to get back home to Mommy!!
Thank You everyone for your prayers and love. It truly means the world to me...sometimes when times are's hard to pray...and knowing that so many of you are interceding for me really really means so much!! I love each of you!!!

In His Grip~