Construction Zone Ahead

Riding down the highway today on our way to my daughters appointment with the lung specialist, we had to enter into aconstruction zone. Seeing as how I am down in my back right now, I’m only able to endure the ride in the car, not able to drive so my eyes were able to wander around aimlessly at my surroundings. We have been dealing with so much in our lives right now that my mind is truly all over the place but one place I try to keep steering it no matter what, is on God and His awesome wonders and works. His faithfulness is so true and unending and our hearts know this but if we’re not careful the enemy will lead our mind into a desert where there he wants it to stay. So as I am looking around and noticing all the construction signs along side of the road, I see….

Construction Zone Ahead: As I see this sign I thought it was kind of obvious. You see all the evidence all around that there is just a big huge mess all around. No organization, and just stuff everywhere. But it hit me, my life is definitely in a construction zone right now! There is absolutely no organization in my life with all that’s going on and there’s just “stuff” everywhere that seems to throw me out of balance. I’m a neat organized person that pays attention to details and likes everything in its place nice and neatly, and I know that my Father is truly laughing at that part of me right now because in no way shape or form is my life in that neat and orderly manner right now. We know that when this construction zone is returned to normal, everything works a lot better, and will be easier to navigate through. That’s kind of the purpose of construction, right? Something wasn’t working the best that it could, it gets all tore up and broke apart, and then gets put back together in a way that works and gets things going in the right direction again! Then I see….

Blasting Zone Ahead: Wow, can I get an Amen right here? I definitely have felt like in the last few weeks my life has been a blasting zone. There has just been bombs going off every which away around us. Some we have shared with most of our friends and family and some only God knows about. But there has been a jack hammer at work in our life by the enemy and rocks have been blasting all over the place! But the beauty of it is this, even though the enemy may have that jack hammer in his hands right now, God is still controlling what rock goes where and how the end result comes out. It’s just part of the process, and our faith is what holds us together in the midst of these blasting zones. It’s going to clear away that old pavement that was all cracked up and rough, and God is going to lay down a new smooth pavement that’s all together just the way He wants it to be and it’s going to lead to where He wants it to lead to, no doubt about it and it will be beautiful! And so on we drive…

Blasting Zone Ends: Can I say Praise the Lord for the Blasting Zone Ends sign! When the blasting is over and things start to ease up in our lives we can rest a little easier, we feel as if we can breathe just a bit more. It’s when the blasting stops that we start to see the progress that God has made in our lives. We can’t see it when everything is crazy all around us and the rocks are flying, but oh the beautiful sight we see when it all starts to calm down! We see God’s plan start to come more in view and it’s like we are laying our eyes on the most beautiful scenery we have ever seen and for that moment in time it’s like everything stands still and it takes our breath away. It’s only the beginning of something new that He has in store for us and it’s absolutely the best feeling ever! The final sign that my eyes stumbled upon….

No Parking: I have to admit I chuckled within myself at the sight of this sign. What entered my mind surely wasn’t the intentions of the sign. I couldn’t help but ask myself, Why in the world would anyone want to park here? That got my wheels turning a little bit I have to admit. None of us would park within the blasting zone or the construction zone knowingly. It’s not a place we wish to find ourselves very often when we reflect on that honestly. It’s rough in the construction zones of life. But rather what entered my mind next was what I believe God wanted me to dwell a little more deeply on. Perhaps God doesn’t want us to park ourselves at the end of the blasting or construction zone and get too comfortable there as if we’re claiming our right to be there. Sometimes in life we move forward with a sense of entitlement in different areas as if we believe that we deserve a easy smooth ride through life never to experience any rocky times. Hmmmm….

Just as that “Construction Zone” through one of the busiest stretches of interstate that many of us travel and some on a daily basis is a frustration and a headache, we all have to admit that when they are done with their project, it may actually make the journey and the ride a little more enjoyable and less stressful. They have their blueprints for what the end result will look like and it has an objective and a goal of what they wanted to achieve and accomplish when all is said and done. We can’t see that because they choose not to show the general public what their plans are, just as our Awesome Father doesn’t always choose to show us, His Children, what His plans are. We can rest assure that He has a blueprint for our life, and He knows what the end result is that He’s out to achieve and accomplish within us.

His plans for our lives will always lead us in a better direction and make our journey more enjoyable along the ride. He never promises that there won’t be bumps in the road or potholes here and there, in fact He tells us that there will be in John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!” I believe He tells us right there, we are going to enter construction zones and some may last longer than we would hope for, we’re going to hit potholes along the way and bumps in the road, but He has already over come them all and we just have to trust that His blueprint for our lives is accomplishing the end result that is perfect for our lives!

Just don’t park at the end of the construction zone claiming your place, move over to the passenger seat, give God the steering wheel, and let Him drive you exactly in the direction He wants you to go! What a ride, a joyful ride that will be! So where should you park? Listen to what His word tells us, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

How life changes in an instant

How life changes in an instant….I think that would be my overall outlook for this past year! My life has once again been flipped upside down and turned all around, but I’m not complaining, not grumbling, not fussing, not whining, No way! Yes, we have faced so many trials this year, some would even say more than our fair share, but I wouldn’t. Christ suffered so much while He walked this path of life, and I’m certainly not above Him, so why would I think that I don’t deserve to face more than He did? That thought doesn’t enter my mind at all and I especially don’t allow those feelings to walk through the doors of my heart!

The changes that we have been through this year certainly wasn’t changes that I would allow to knock at my door and me open it freely with a welcome mat laid out, but because I have a Father who I trust with all my heart, I was able to greet them with the words, “Come in, teach me what you have to teach me, change my heart where it needs to be changed, and make me stronger.”

I never knew when I started 2011 that my daughter would face what she has once, much less three times. In the midst of the three assignments from God we had so many other things going on in our lives, so many opportunities to learn to be more like Christ, chances to see things from an eternal perspective, another chance to get priorities in line with God’s, and had the eyes of our hearts opened to so much more than we could have ever imagined! I’m not saying that everything we faced was easy or that we handled it perfectly the entire time. I think when storms come at us full force in this life and we have no idea what we are being hit with our first reaction is not the most wanted reaction by God or by ourselves if we’re being quite honest with ourselves. It takes time to stop and realize what’s really taking place. The only way to realize or to even get a glimpse of what is truly taking place is to stop, drop, and roll! Isn’t that what we are taught to do when we are in a fire? Only in this type of fire, we stop everything we’re doing, we drop to our knees, and we roll into His Holy Presence with all that we are!

The fires that we have faced this year didn’t burn us, and the flames didn’t set us a blaze, just as God promises in Isaiah 43:2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” God’s word is so full of promises that He will keep without a doubt! In 1 Peter 1:7 God’s word tells us “These have come so that your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

Every fire that we have been in this year, God was with us, He protected us, and He has been glorified and I do truly believe that His name isn’t even close to being finished in the glory department for all that He has done! Each new day, His mercies flow and He reveals just a little more of His vision, His plans, and His purposes to us through so many ways, some really small glimpses and yes even some pretty big screen showings!

Reflecting back, had I not been aware of God’s everlasting presence in my life, I might have slammed the door on the changes that approached the door of my heart this year and I would have missed out some of the greatest blessings that my heart has ever experienced! Truth be known, whether I would have slammed the door or kept it open, these changes would have still taken place because they were part of God’s ultimate plan for our lives. The only difference would be how I and all those who surround me would have been affected. You see, it’s not just for us when we face trials, God uses those trials for everyone who is touched by our life, family, friends, church family, acquaintances, and yes even strangers that we met only during the trials in the places that we found ourselves. I could have had a bitter heart, acted out of anger and frustration, but sadly if I had, I wouldn’t have impacted God’s Kingdom, I would done more impact for the enemy. How we handle ourselves during the fires in our lives directly relates to how we are refined, and those around us as well.

Fires aren’t something we normally relate to any blessing whatsoever, but I ask you to take a deeper look with your spiritual eyes the next time you find yourself in the midst of the flames. My friends, God has promised you that you will not get burned. Are you holding His hand through the flames, or are you holding up your fist and fighting all the way? Let go, Let God work! I can promise you that when He walks you out of that fire, you will see how much He truly loves you and why He allows us to be refined. We are His precious stones and like all precious stones we need to be refined so that we can shine like no other, but in His fires, unlike the worldly fires, we bring more shine to His name and bring more glory to God! If you could see what a beautiful picture that makes, you would stand tall with a smile!

God loves you so much and He knows what He’s doing in your life at all times! Nothing catches Him by surprise even we find ourselves being shocked! He has a purpose and a plan for everything that touches your life, trust Him with all of your heart, all of your soul, all of your mind, and all of your strength, and the beautiful thing is, His strength is waiting for you and ready to embrace you!

“Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6:5

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

Heart Preparation for the Parents of a Young Missionary

Heart Preparation for the Parents of a Young Missionary

Being the Mom of a child who is so willing to be used by God is an amazing feeling! I couldn’t be more proud of her and her willingness to be an instrument for God and make an impact for His Kingdom! We knew that we vowed from the beginning that we wanted to raise her in a Christian home teaching her Christian values, morals, standards, and bringing her up in the way that God would have us to, and we wanted to do the best possible job we could at that. However, we never knew the plans that God was going to have for her and her open willing spirit that she would have to serve Him.This year alone He has given her three hospital assignments. The first one we didn’t recognize as that, we were surprised, shocked, and utterly clueless to what was actually taking place! The second one, we’ll at first, still surprised, clueless, and just had no idea that God had something huge in play for her life! As time went on during the second assignment we began to realize as God spoke to each of us individually and as a family that He has plans, purposes, and reasons for all that was happening. As time went on during that assignment, we were clear on the fact that God was doing something and that He was using her! We watched as her faith lit up the Children’s Floor at the hospital! We witnessed her witnessing to the doctors, nurses, and everyone that came into her room. We stood by and let her tell her story, and share with everyone around her in her own way what had been taking place in her life. She shined her faith over Mom & Dad! It has been amazing to watch!

After her second assignment, she felt God lay it on her heart to do something. She found out that the Child Life Department at Hemby Children’s Hospital worked off of donations by charities, businesses, churches, and individuals. She knew how much she enjoyed doing all the arts & crafts with everyone who came around, the supplies they brought to her room and left with her for her to work on, games they had for her to play, movies to watch, and she told us how it helped keep her mind off of the scary stuff going on around her. At this point she had stayed in the hospital for a total of 15 days and she recognized the value of having something to occupy her mind and her time. So she followed God’s lead and has started her own ministry/mission to collect donations for supplies to give back to the Hemby Children’s Hospital at Presbyterian. She has been working hard to collect items, kicking it off through our Afterglow Children’s Program at church called Project Glow. We kicked this off the middle of November and she has been so excited!

We knew that God’s timing would be perfect when He allowed everything to start coming together. I remember making the statement, “God knows who is going to be in that hospital this month and who might need this!” Little did I know at the time of speaking that, that my daughter would be one of them there!

Carrie just completed her third hospital assignment from God and we are in awe of watching Him move! It felt different this time for all of us! I was much more at peace after asking God to fill me with His peace. I told Him that I trust Him completely, and that I know He has a plan and a purpose, and I just asked that He would give me some small piece of that revelation to ease my heart ache for my child who was experiencing all of this pain all over again. Boy has He! We have witnessed His hand at work so much that we are all just in complete and total awe! I told Carrie the day we arrived back in the hospital that God had a plan for this. Her Pastor Justin came into the Pre op saying the exact same thing to her! He said, “Carrie, God has a big plan for you! It’s no coincidence He has you here in the middle of the drive for collecting stuff for your ministry!” Carrie couldn’t do anything but smile after that!

I am praying that God helps prepare Mom & Dads hearts during this time! It’s very clear to us that God is using our daughter. We can see now that He has plans for her life and He has called her to the mission field, there’s no doubt about that in our minds and hearts at all. I know as she continues to grow He’s going to call her to different missions and ministries and we don’t want to stand in her way as parents. We know she was His before she was ever ours and we can’t stand in the way of His purpose for her. We are just praying that He prepares our hearts and our minds and we trust that He will! He is comforting us and helping us through. Our biggest challenge isn’t to trust Him with her life because we do, our biggest challenge is just don’t stand in the way, and let God work freely in her life. I just know He’s going to have so many things for her to do throughout her life, and that we are going to see her do great things for His Kingdom!!

Words from our mouths to our hearts

No matter where we find ourselves on the path of life when we have God in the center of our life, the one source that our entire life revolves around, we can know that we are in good hands.I know that Thursday morning when my phone rang while I was at work, my heart & mind wasn’t prepared for all that was about to take place in every way that I would have liked for it to have been, but in many ways my heart was prepared. God has been working overtime in our lives for quite some time now. He has really been trying to shape us and mold us into exactly what it is that He wants us to be. When He shapes us, sometimes there are things we will have to go through and deal with that isn’t exactly what we would choose for ourselves but He knows exactly what it will take to accomplish what it is that He wants to accomplish. I can say that I felt more at peace this time than I did the last. As I left work and drove to the ER, I cried out to God the entire way. I asked for that peace and He filled me with it.

We are able to recognize that God has a plan and this is an assignment that we believe He had for Carrie again, and for David and myself as well. When we go through things in life it isn’t just for one person or one situation to be affected. God uses one circumstance and touches many lives and changes and affects many other circumstances. I’ve written before in my blogs the last time this happened and I said then and I still believe that it’s like a pebble in the water. When we throw a pebble in the water it doesn’t only affect that one particular spot in the water, you will see a ripple affect as the water surrounding the pebble is moved. It’s the same in our lives. When we face trials and circumstances, God uses them to do more than one thing, He has so much more to be accomplished through every single trial we face. We don’t know what or who God is wanting to touch through this 3rd assignment here, but we know He will without any doubts in our minds. We know how it touches our lives, and it changes us, but we may never know how it affects anyone around us. Sometimes God chooses to let us see glimpses of how it is affecting others, and sometimes He may choose to wait until the other side of eternity. Either way, we can rest assure that He is at work all around us.

When we say to God, “Use Me, I want to be used by you, I want to be your instrument”, it’s not only going to be in good times, it’s going to be in difficult and trying times as well. It’s easy for people to see our love for God, our faith for God and our trust in God when everything in our lives is going good. However, I truly believe that it’s when we are in the valley, in the storms, in the trials that we can be more effective for His kingdom. It’s in those times of our lives that our faith and trust is tested. That’s when our faith must really be flexed and strengthened. We have to know that when we say we want to be used by God, that we will face times of uncertainty, times of trial that tests us beyond what we believe is our limits. If our hearts truly meant the words that we spoke a loud, then it will be able to endure with God’s help. God knows our hearts and He loves for us to just put everything we are made of in Him. He loves for us to lean on Him in everything that we face. He won’t leave us stranded, that’s a promise!

I know that I spoke those very words to my Father. I told Him to use me, that I want to be an instrument He uses for His kingdom. Do I regret those words? Absolutely not! Sure we didn’t think we’d be back here again, facing the same trials again, but if it’s what God needs us to do, if this is where God needs us to be, then we will endure with Him holding our hands, with Him leading us through it. We all three have talked about it and we know that He has a purpose and a plan for what we are enduring. We know from the past experience that it will be all for His glory and we trust Him. He won’t lead us anywhere that He’s not already there. We are praying that our hearts & eyes remain open during this time so that we can be on constant guard for what it is that He has for us to do for Him through all of this.

I Trust You, Father

Father,Thank you for how you have already been working, thank you for the comfort and peace that you have allowed us to feel. Thank you for your presence that we have already felt in our midst. Thank you for prompting Carrie with the pain, and for giving her the courage & strength to call us and not be so afraid that she goes in denial. Thank you for placing everyone in the path to take care of her. Thank you for all the love and encouragement you have sent us through those you have placed in our lives! We are so blessed and we thank you God!!

Okay, so I know this totally took us by surprise yesterday morning, but I know it didn’t you! You knew this was coming and I truly believe you have been preparing my heart without me even realizing it. As I think back on the time that we spent together at my dining room table on Wednesday, how I cried my heart to you to let go of everything that has been on it lately. how you led me to the whole book of 1 Peter, told me to read the verses out loud to you, and all the words of wisdom & instruction you gave me to write down, you were preparing me! You knew I needed to let go of everything that was bothering me because it wasn’t going to compare to what my heart would feel and deal with yesterday and for several days forward. You put a lot of things into perspective for me and told me to stay focused on you. I am so glad that I took that one on one time with you and focused on you and what you had to say to me! Thank you God! You knew exactly what I needed and you gave it to me! I trust in you completely & totally! I know that you have a plan and a purpose for all of this. I know you have someone here at the hospital that you want touched by all of this, I know there are hearts all around us that you want touched once again.

You have another assignment for Carrie, and for us, and Lord I pray that the eyes of our hearts are open to see those lives and that we follow your lead and guide in what you want us to carry out for you. Help us not to be so wrapped up in our little word that we miss those lives and hearts! I may understand why it had to be this again but I don’t need to. All I need to do is understand that you are in control, you see the big picture that we do not see and that you are in complete & total control no matter what chaos we find ourselves in the middle of. I have faith in you, and I know you are right here with us. I know you are touching Carries precious body. She was yours before she was ever ours Father and I ask that you please just touch her, heal her, comfort her and give her peace through the surgery, and all that she has to endure in that process and afterwards including the recovery. Please be with the doctors and surgeons, guide their hands, give them knowledge and wisdom Lord. I pray that whatever is the issue Lord, that it is revealed, and they get it fixed for good. Show them what you want them to see! God please bring her through with that big beautiful smile on her face that gives us such comfort. You have done this before, you are going to do it again, I trust in you!I trust in you, I have faith in you, I know you are here. I Love you and I thank you and I give you praise for your faithfulness and aweomeness! In the fullness of who you are, I can rest in this place! I am focusing on your face and your embrace! I Love you! In Jesus Name, Amen