Monday, May 1, 2017

It is Well With My Soul

The first year of Bethany’s anniversary was fast approaching. I had told myself a million times I was ready, I was better, I was healed. Grief has a funny way of knocking you down and blindsiding your emotions in ways you never really see coming. I had become all too good at playing the game of telling everyone I was perfectly content and at peace with God’s decision.

The fate of my emotional state held true  when I stood in church that Sunday Morning. We had begun singing the song, It is Well With my soul. As the music softly played, Bro. Andy asked the most profound question. He said:
“Can you sing the words and mean it? I mean, TRULY mean it. Can you stand here today and truly mean that It is well in your soul. If not, don’t sing. Make peace with God, right here, right now, until you can without a shadow of a doubt sing, It IS WELL WITH MY SOUL.”

My body began to tremble as my hands clung tighter to the pew. Tears streamed down my face as my mouth felt bolted shut. I felt as though I was sobbing without control as my heart cried out to Jesus.

Oh, how I wanted it to be Well with my Soul. I wanted to release the hurt and anger I was holding on too. I wanted to fall to my knees and beg my Savior to give my little girl back and to take back the last year of my life.  I wanted to wake up from the nightmare I had endured. The only problem was it was no nightmare; it was my reality. My little girl had died. She was NOT going to come back.


My hands gripped tighter to the pew and I wanted to run as far away as I could…

And then, like only my Savior can do. My tears faded away and my mouth began to sing. A peace flooded over me and I honestly knew I would be ok. I ached for my little girl in a way I never dreamed was possible and yet, thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, It is well with my soul.

Sometimes my heart begins to race as Bethany’s birthday approaches. Some years I am fine, and others, not so much. As I sat in church this past Sunday, I could feel my emotions rolling back and forth like an out of control rollercoaster. As we stood to sing the invitation, I look up to see the words, It is Well With my Soul. Tears began to roll down my face without control. I quickly found myself facedown at the alter crying out to God. I miss her. I loved her.

My heart will always long for my sweet girl. With every passing year I will wonder what she would have looked like or could have been, but I will never doubt for one second that my Savior has not carried me through the Storm. He has taught me what it means to dance in the rain and see the light through the darkness. He has taught me that no matter what may come, no matter my lot, when sorrows like sea billows roll, it is Well with my Soul! Praise God, It is Well with My Soul!

And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, shall keep your hearts, your minds through Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:7.
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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Take up your Cross...

“May I help you?”

“No thanks, I got it!”

These words seem to haunt me tonight as they run over and over again in my mind like a broken record. Four simple words and yet the weight they carry is so much more…

May I help you seems like such a simple request. You see, I go to Publix too often to count. They ALWAYS, and I mean ALWAYS say, May I help you? They offer to take my grocciers to the car if I have 3 bags or 30, they still WANT to help! My problem seems to be too many to count.

Children Arguing…


I rarely say yes. I’m in a hurry or my kids are fighting. I always feel like a burden or that I can easily do it myself, so why should I let them help me?

Tonight my youngest son got upset with me when I tried to help him with his hair. “I’m not a baby mom, I CAN DO IT!” Ugh, those words stung like a bee. I could feel my children growing up way too fast and the need for mama fading even faster. As I walked away with tears in my eyes, I could feel that extra tug on my heart. It was about that time my boy came running in and jumped on the bed. “You forgot to give me our good night kisses mom.” Ahhh, there you have it. He did still want me; he was just growing up.

As I laid down in bed, I began to wonder how often God has prompted my heart, “Let me help, just take my hand, I’ve got this.” I then began to wonder how often I had pushed God away.
“No thanks, I got it!”

I often feel as though the weight of the world has fallen at my feet and yet I forget that it doesn’t have to be my burden to carry.

Simon was forced to carry the cross for Jesus. He truly carried the weight of the world on the cross.

I can only imagine how Simon must have felt when the Guards grabbed him and forced him to take the cross. What must have gone through his mind. Fear? Confusion? Anger?

Then, to look into the eyes of the Messiah. He was beaten, brutally beaten and exhausted beyond means. Was this really him? He stayed humbled, focused and ignored the crowds. 

Simon watched and followed the Messiah as the crowd mocked, yelled and ridiculed Him. I can only imagine what Simon was thinking as he swallowed his pride, took up his cross and began to follow His Savior.

I can imagine that Simon had no clue the impact of that moment in time, but he knew his life would be changed forever.  

The weight of the world had truly fallen at Simon’s feet and yet he was following the one who can truly take every burden straight to the cross. It was never his burden to carry, he was simply called to be obedient.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. Matthew 16:24

That moment at the cross might have changed Simon’s life, but it forever changed mine.
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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

But WHY God?

There was once a girl who dreamed of a big family.   A family where kids ran around with laughter and giggles and warmth filled the entire home. Love would radiate from the inside out. The husband would adore his wife with such adoration and life would be invincible.

This dream seemed so obtainable, so possible. This young and naive little girl lived in a world, where although she knew heartache existed, she believed that love could overcome anything.

The dream quickly faded when this girl too quickly grew up and realized that we are not as invincible as she had hoped.

Heartache gives no warning and too often no reason. Pain comes like a thief in the night to steal our joy and cripple our entire world.

You see, we want to be invincible. We want to believe it would never happen to us. The broken friendship, failing marriage, rebellious children or the life gone too soon.

The heartache happens and we are often left standing with the questions and brokenness and nothing seems to make sense.

We cling to the why. We need to know why. If we knew why something had happen or gone wrong then somehow and someway it would make us feel better, give us a reason to understand.

I can remember waiting for days, weeks after Bethany had died for her autopsy report. I needed and craved the answers to her death. I begged God to help me understand why my little girl had to die. The phone rang and my heart was not prepared to hear what I heard…

“The results where normal. Nothing was wrong. It was simply a sudden death.”

I was angry and mad. That was not good enough. I needed more. I could deal with a birth defect, I could understand that my daughter was sick, but to take her for no reason. This I did not understand.

For weeks I became bitter and even angrier with God. I had nothing to cling to anymore, no reason to heal or move on.

Over time God began to tug on my heart. Pulling me closer and closer. I soon began to see that my story was not over. I would never get the answer to why she had to go, but yet, I would see her again. This world is not my forever home.

God had to teach me that it is not always about why something has happened, but about what is going to happen. The heartache we go through can destroy us literally from the inside out. We have to make the choice to believe that it does not define us and our story is not over.

I still believe that love can overcome anything, and even more so when that love comes from a God who promises to turn our sorrows into joy. What will tomorrow hold? Bitterness and anger or hope for a better tomorrow. 

The Lord says, “Forget what happened before, and do not think about the past. Look at the new thing I am going to do. It is already happening. Don’t you see it? Isaiah 43:18-19
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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The "Perfect" Church?!?!

            I find myself doubting so much today. My self-esteem, motherhood, being a wife, teacher; really everything.

I look at the world around me and my heart simply hurts. I hurt for my children and I hurt for what has become.

I wonder where love and kindness for one another has gone. Do any of us even care anymore? Are we so wrapped up in making things perfect or right for our cause that we are forgetting the most important cause of all…? To Love and bring others to Him.

1 Corinthians 13 says, 
If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it;[a] but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.

I recently passed a church and the name simply struck me. It was called, “The Perfect Church.” 

Now, I know nothing about this specific church and their reason for its name; however, it made me think.

We are the “church”. We are the hands and feet of Jesus. The church is sooooooo much more than a building or the name plastered on the outside for others to see. The church resides in the heart of every person willing to be what we were called to be.

 I get it. I SO GET IT! 

Inside the walls of the church it can be easier to be what God has called us to be. We can love and have compassion and understanding because we are with likeminded people. So what happens when we leave that building? Or better yet, people leave the “church” because they still are not getting that all-encompassing love and forgiveness that we are called to give.

We lose our since of security. We forget how to love those who are different or need Jesus more than ever.  We lose track of those that are truly hurting and crying out for help. We become stagnant and complacent. And sadly, we forget how to be the hands of Jesus to our enemies; those who are often desperately seeking to fill a void. 

Matthew 5:44 says, But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!

We are called to love our enemies. There is no exception or reading between the lines. We are called to PRAY and pray hard. We are called to love and love ALL!

…but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.

I was not put here to judge others. Believe me, I disagree with SO much of what people do sometimes, but my job is still to LOVE. Love like it hurts. Love till they feel it.

Perfect is a word that has never sat well with me. I struggle with wanting perfection in an imperfect world. I make unrealistic expectations and then struggle to understand why things fall apart and where the perfection went.

The truth is, there is truly no greater gift than to love. Love can calm an aching heart and show forgiveness and kindness to the most unlikely souls.

My doubting heart finds rest in knowing that yes, I fail daily. I get it wrong more than I choose to admit. But the failures of this life lead us to love and encourage others. Lift others up and be the light this dark world is so desperately crying out for. 

I pray we can remember that perfect is so far from existence while on this Earth, but yet I hope I can teach my children to look past the walls of the building itself and be the church we are called to be. Be the hands and feet of Jesus without hesitation.

Love with no restrictions!
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