Monday, May 28, 2012

and the story goes on....

...we are all a work in progress....we get healing....we live....the enemy will  try to oppress us again...we refuel...and fight the good fight....get healing.....have peace....and then live some more....

Does that seem like defeat?  I don't think so -- this is life...real life....being real.

I did a lot of thinking today.  My last blog post spoke about 'pain won't kill you'...I had fasted 5 days for a dear friend and wanted a fresh word from God.

Not only did I get a fresh word, but many blessings as God just worked in and out of my life that week and last week.

Today I was reminded of something else.....

Psm 57:2 says...I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills HIS purpose for me.

I know that in my response to many things now...I want to do what God wants me to do.  I want to hear him say, "well, done by blond hung on".  I stop and think sometimes -- how did I? Was I so stubborn?  God put that longing in my heart......I believe HE is sovereign over all.

I wanted to fulfill HIS purpose for me, as I knew ....HE would bless and reward and give back what the locust had stolen.

HE is doing that.  In little bits here and HIS time and it is just astounding.

I also thought of this......

And Psalm 55: 16   But I call to God and the Lord saves me.  Evening, morning, and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice...HE ransoms me unharmed from the battle waged against me, even though many oppose me......vs. 22  Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you..he will never let the righteous fall.   

Yesterday Beth Moore blogged about this verse....cast your cares...throw them to HIM.

 I went to her blog today on  the LIving Proof Ministries site.  The name of her ministry is 'living proof'.  She always says she is walking living proof of how God can change a person.

I went back two years in my blog posts and read.  I went back to a few specific blog posts from her that spoke volumes to me in the past three years.

I thought about many changes that have happened to me in the past few years.   Here is just one example:

If you would of told me last Memorial Day that my house would be sold, we would  move 2x, and I would be preparing to entertain people that my husband invited....I would of thought - NO WAY.   ( We have not entertained guests in literally years and for Brendan to do the inviting.)    Last Memorial Day, I was planning on the ending of something and there was no entertaining!

Anyway, like Beth proof.

I am living proof of a miracle.  I mean, I did not overcome some major disease or anything but, from my perspective....I was one very lost and hurt soul and I literally believed that God had forgotten me.  I was proof....

I was a woman with defeat, hurt, and I did not have the freedom that Christ intended for me and getting that finally - was a miracle!

My marriage is living proof...that God restores.

My man is a living proof of God's grace, favor, and restoration.

My new home is living proof that God does give us the desires of our hearts.  Both Bren and I walk around our home and just thank God.  We know and acknowledge that God did this.

To see something come back to life....that was literally dead...that is a proof of HIS power and majesty.

I have seen so much, experienced so much in the past year alone....I am humbled.

Today, was a day of reflection.  I prayed and fasted yesterday for a pal.   Today, I continued to pray but I reflected and believed that freedom, complete freedom was coming.  It is a process.  There has been healing....but there is more to come.  She is very real....our lives are very real.....and she will be living proof.

 Today...I reflected, in peace.   As I said,  my friend is still dealing with some hardships...but I believe that this....  will pass...this.... will be another miracle....HE is fulfilling HIS purpose for her.

HE is.

I believe that.

The end of Psalm 55 says -- But as for me, I trust in you.

Lord, I trust in you.  When I finally many things changed, but it was a process.

 Our story still goes on.  My friend wants freedom and total healing -- it is coming, I know.

Pain will not kill brings us closer to HIM.

Today was Memorial Day. A day to remind us as to why we have freedom in our country.

 But I am talking freedom within our lives.  True freedom  through Christ to know that you know, your name is in the lamb's book of life, to know that HE does fulfill HIS purpose in us, and to live in freedom and be real.  Lord.....thank you -I am so humbled, blessed....and in awe of YOU.

- your daughter.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

pain won't kill me.....

Ok, Dear Lord -- you have been working this revelation in me for a few days.  I want to honor you and yet I want to express how Wonderful you are......oh Lord, give me the words.  Amen.

Isn't it great when you can have a short prayer and know that GOD understands it all?

Ok....I want to start with this scripture: 

 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.  Ephesians 1: 18

The eyes of my they may be order that I would know the HOPE to which HE has called me to....the RICHES of HIS glorious inheritance in the saints....

Wow...just wow.....awesome....words can't tell you right now the warmth in my heart because I believe HE wrote that JUST for me...for YOU too....for us all......

At the 'end' of 2 weeks ago, I knew that I knew, God was calling me to fast.  So, I prayed that weekend and began that fast last Monday.   How did I know?  I just knew.  Oh what a neat experience to know that God has called you to do something, the Holy Spirit confirms it, and then to know that Jesus is at the throne already ready interceding on my behalf for my task.   THAT thought alone deserves a blog of its own!  ....sorry, back to my thought......

I knew I was to fast.    I had one friend that was in the middle of some pain and hurts....and I was reminded of a time in my walk through a valley where I had exhausted every thing I 'knew' to do, and I was reminded to pray and fast.  And the fasting DID make something turn around or move and it changed me.  That has happened again.....I knew I was to fast and I did so for 5 days and glory be....I was just so thankful as HE blessed my socks off and not only gave me a word...but  HE reminded me of how MUCH I was much. 

We are called to fast and pray -- often.  There is a story about some of Jesus' disciples and how they were unable to cast out a demon and they asked Jesus as to 'why' and He told them,  you need to be prayed up and  it will take fasting. 

Are there some really HARD things that you are facing or in the middle of? Have you considered a fast.  I have not read the many books out there about fasting - as I probably should, but I knew I was  just  to do a simple day or 3 day fast.  The other times I fasted, I knew it was for the day or for 3 days.  I have even fasted with a friend and then we prayed together.  I would always fast the day Brendan and I had counseling in Stuart, you could hear my stomach roar as I sat on the 'couch'.  I was always blessed and the days I didn't ....those were harder sessions of counsel.  God showed me, proved that fasting is a tool with which we can use.  A tool that gives us POWER Of the enemy....and our circumstances.  However, now, I felt an urgency to fast for  5 days.    God lets me know exactly what to do.  I can now say, that when God ordains it -- it really works.  Believe me, I tried to fast too  MANY times to drop a pound or two... and that DID not work.  Go figure...:)  Can you see me smile ear to ear on that one?  I bet God is smiling at me too!

Anyway, back to my five days, God reminded me of WHAT I have already accomplished with HIS  help, and how I showed grace and mercy.   Then HE continued to orchestrate and manuever situations  throughout my week of fasting that I could write and write about but it is of no value to the general reader..only to me...I knew and I saw how he changed things.  For example, there was a meeting with another person that brought immediate pain to my stomach - physical pain, but God provided the RIGHT person right there, and the circumstance changed  and pain gone.  It was VERY real.  That may not seem that BIG to you...but it was a BIGGIE to me considering the person and the circumstance.  But that is MY God....HE is my Hero and I am doubly blessed when He comes to my rescue via my husband.  Amen. 

Faith creates miracles. 

Ok....God also used a song this past Mercy Me...when the Hurt and the Healer collide. 
In my week of heightened prayer, I could hear over and over...."I fall into your arms open wide".  God is the perfect husband, the perfect friend, and the perfect need meeter and when we allow HIM to do those things it takes our husbands, our friends off the hook...and allows them to be themselves...and God gave me MANY of those type of confirmations or as I like to call them, tidbits of blessings  throughout this past week.  And they did not stop, they continue to happen this week. 

But, as I stop and reflect...about how this happened and then.... seems like it was all arranged just for me....and I know God has MANY children...but, the thought that HE would actually arrange all of that JUST for me...there are no words.  THAT is what I never want to loose.  The song from Mercy Me says, "you breathed me back to life".....God did that for me....He breathed me back to life......therefore I wish to "keep my eyes completely fixed on  you".... 

Ok, like I said I was blessed each day and on Friday, I reminded  God, I wanted a direct word and I can't really find the words right now to totally explain it - but within 2 min of that prayer as I drove to school on Friday, it came.  "pain won't kill you". 

I, of course, lost it - tears streamed down my face....I could feel the presence of God in that car and wanted to just BASK in HIS loving arms but I was on my way to school so I dried my tears, checked my make up and continued to drive.  Until I turned XM radio on and HE blessed me with one of my favorite songs...'while I am waiting'  from the Fireproof movie.  Well, let me just say that by the time I got to school, I had to redo my make up.  Again, I knew, God GAVE me that song because of HIS tender mercy and love for me.

Throughout the week, as I prayed for my pal, as the Enemy tried his best to bring up old memories and stuff, as I prayed for others, as I watched a few others receive yucky news....there was a peace and joy within my life.  And as I cried out to God for my own pain and asked HIM to remove it...I heard, "pain won't kill you". 

The pain....strengthens my walk with Jesus....
The pain...brought forth so MANY more blessings....
The pain...after it is gone, has left me more stronger than I could of ever imagined....
The pain....brings us closer to Jesus than we could ever imagine...
The pain....lets you know, you are ever SO much more loved than you could hardly know......
The pain...will pass....

In the middle of it - it does not seem so.   I know.  It does not seem so.  But GOD is good and all the time.  HE is faithful.  Don't doubt.  Praise God for the godly people around who encourage you praise God I SOUGHT those people out.   SEEK them out......Praise God for fasting...for the gift of my prayer language, praise God for my children....and for prayer.... oh lord the prayer.  Praise God. 

As the pain DID not kill me...and any new pain won't either.  I don't believe that - I KNOW that.  Amen.

So, be encouraged.....this pain, won't kill you.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

someone besides me needs to read this....GOD wins.

Lord, thank you for this article.  What a blessing to read what seems to be happening within my life but I have a belief that someone else needs to know there is HOPE.....

And I don't mean that my husband is the one that has to read this....someone else maybe?  

Lord, I wish to protect in all circumstances and never wish to allow anything for the enemy to use against me, or my family and especially my husband....but this article was confirmation and healing all at the same time.  Thank you.  

Lord, maybe just posting it was for me....if not, for the other (s)..... is an excellent resource for Christians.  I routinely check it and read lots.  Of course, anything about restoring a marriage will POP out at me....I had to copy and paste.

Article is written by Laura Petherbridge...her name is credited at the bottom:  

Read on if the Lord says too:  

On July 1, 2009 South Carolina Gov Mark Sanford, 49, provided insight about his recent affair, “This was a whole lot more than a simple affair—it was a love story.”[1] He went on to share that he views his recent love interest, Maria Chapur, as his soul mate. The comment caught my attention because after twenty years as a divorce recovery expert, I’ve heard many people say similar words. It’s not uncommon for someone to become convinced that the “forbidden lover” is their “love of a lifetime.”
The governor went on to share that he is, “trying to fall back in love with his wife.” If that’s true, what’s it going to take to restore this marriage? Is it possible to put “Humpty Dumpty” together again? After Pandora’s Box has been opened how do you shove the evil, sorrow and suffering back under the lid? Can the “genie go back into the bottle” as Sanford himself adequately stated?
As a divorce recovery expert of 20 years let me share it is possible to restore a marriage after an affair. However, it will require that the governor and his wife, Jenny, be brutally honest with themselves and each other. It will take a long time to rebuild the trust. But with prayer, hard work, excellent counseling, and a fierce commitment to make the marriage better than before, it can happen. 
I’ve watched many Christian couples reconcile after an extramarital affair. Most quickly move back in together and the following Sunday they carefully apply their “church mask.” Amidst cheers and “Amen’s” from the congregation, they proudly walk to the altar proclaiming a healed marriage. The crowd roars with glee.  
It would be wonderful—if it were true.
Rather than taking the time and the steps required for a true healing, the issues are swept under the rug. The couple reads a few Bible verses on marriage, slaps a forgiveness label on the front door, and crawls under the sheets, (the formula they received from their pastor). They “go back to normal.” What they don’t realize is that the unresolved issues which led to the affair are still brewing and rotting beneath the relationship. And toxic gas is being emitted and inhaled by the couple, their children, their church family and those around them. The poison goes on to destroy future generations and Satan smiles. Once again he has deceived the Bride of Christ, and She is totally unaware. 
The issues associated with adultery are often complex, and there is no simple formula for restoration. However, if the couple sincerely desires a healthy, thriving marriage after an affair here are a few beneficial insights:
Eventually, both people must be committed to restoration.
If one spouse attempts to manipulate, badger, guilt or shame the other spouse into restoring a marriage it won’t work. It’s necessary for both people to be open to restoration. It’s not uncommon for one to start off more willing than the other, but if over time that person remains opposed, restoration can’t happen. 
Provide the offended person time to grieve
Infidelity annihilates trust, security, privacy, and intimacy. Therefore, grief abounds. The person who committed adultery needs to allow the offended spouse the time and space to grieve the violation and breach of the covenant. Any attempt to rush the healing process, or demands such as “The affair is over, I never want to talk about it again” are indications that the adulterer is not truly repentant. 
True repentance is mandatory
People who commit adultery often justify the act. Mark Sanford stating that his mistress is his soul mate indicates that a part of him is still rationalizing why he was unfaithful. If he is serious about restoring his marriage, he’ll need to learn how to take those thoughts captive and replace them with truth. (2 Corinthians10:4-5)
It’s common to hear the spouse who has broken the covenant make statements such as, “My spouse isn’t meeting my needs,” “I’ve never really loved my spouse,” or “I don’t know how I ended up here. It just happened.” If the offender isn’t truly remorseful, but merely sorry that they got caught, restoring the marriage will be impossible. It’s similar to building a house on a foundation that has a huge crack, eventually it will crumble.
How can you tell if someone is sincerely repentant? If we look at King David in Psalm 51 we see a man who is deeply sorrowful for his sin. A remorseful person recognizes and confesses the pain and suffering they have caused others. Humility doesn’t demand, justify or make excuses. It admits, “I am to blame, no one else. I deserve any and all consequences for my actions. If you never forgive me, I understand. I’m the one who broke the covenant. I violated the trust and I do not deserve another chance. If you are willing, I’ll do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, to earn your trust again.”
That’s what true repentance looks and sounds like.
Get down to the root reasons
Many people list financial stress, a tumultuous home, a neglectful or abusive spouse, or relationship boredom as the reasons they had an affair. But those are all symptoms of marital breakdown—not causes. Unless a couple does the hard work to dig deeply into the root reasons why those things occurred, the problems will resurface. Most couples never take the time or get the help to discover underlying issues.  
Forgiveness does not mean ignoring sin, abuse, neglect or toxic behavior.
For some reason Christians have allowed Satan to deceive them into believing that love, mercy and forgiveness means ignoring sin. We even slap a Biblical word on it—submission. The perversion of this word is one of the greatest weapons Satan uses to destroy the family. Submission does not mean ignoring or tolerating destructive, sinful behavior. After adultery a marriage can only be restored if the unfaithful person is willing to eradicate all toxic people or things from the marriage. In addition, the other spouse must learn how he or she is enabling the behavior. It’s often a complex vicious cycle which requires professional help.   
It takes two people to get married, but only one to get a divorce.
You can not control the actions of your spouse. If he or she is determined to get a divorce there is nothing you can do to stop it. Be aware: It’s very common for the one who wants out of the marriage to “pretend” they are committed by going to a few counseling sessions. This allows them to justify a divorce by saying, “We went for help, and I tried, but it didn’t work.” The half-hearted effort was used as a manipulative tool and ammunition to rationalize their conscience and selfish motives. In simpler terms—they lied.   
Know that God understands infidelity. He has been the rejected and betrayed Lover many times. Jeremiah 3:6-8 (NIV) declares his sorrow and fury, "Have you seen what faithless Israel has done? She has gone up on every high hill and under every spreading tree and has committed adultery there. I thought that after she had done all this she would return to me but she did not, and her unfaithful sister Judah saw it.  I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries.”

Eventually, he forgives his Bride (you and me). Because of His faithfulness to the Beloved we have the assurance that He is more than willing to reveal how to restore a broken marriage. If both people are willing to listen and learn, nothing is impossible for the Creator.    
Copyright © 2009 Laura Petherbridge. All rights reserved
my man has begun to pray....

Lord, I believe that Brendan and I ARE doing the hard is not easy, but as you reminded me...pain won't kill me...I am so thankful for the JOY that our restoration brings not only you...but others, and especially my children and family and me...amen. Glory is giving to God.  

Monday, May 14, 2012

my greatest joy ....really is not being a mom.....

Did I shock you with that title?

 It was Mother's Day weekend and I am so so so blessed.  I remember reading Beth Moore's blog once and she stated that she needed a word that just meant awesome x 10 but that most of those words had been used and she wanted to create just a new word to describe how wonderful and awesome something was...but the words just failed her......I can relate.

As I would say that being a mom is awesome x 10...wonderful....but there is something that I have discovered that brings me even more joy......

Stay tuned......

I mean, I love my children.  I do.  I am so proud and to see them worship God, to sit next to them in church this past Sunday....when for so long that was NOT a sight....well, it just pleases me and blesses me so.  When I stop to think, I just get a head full of humbleness and  I declare praise to God.

Jerm. 29.11  says....I know the plans I have for you....declares the Lord..plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future....

My great joy in the future will be sitting in church and seeing a grandkid on a lap of my handsome man or watching my daughter read a story to her very own...or getting a call from my son about some needed prayer or funny that his child did....but THAT joy can be in the future......I can wait on that.  Wait.....Lord, I want to wait on YOUR time.

My great joy as a kid.....just being right or doing what I was suppose to do, but the greatest times I remember as a kid was going for a long walk back into the woods or laying down in the hay field and then finding out that I was missed.  Is that silly?

My greatest joy in highschool, the summer that Brendan trained me in tennis and I went from JV to Varsity and beat Katie Cane for the #1 seed.  And then Kelly Bradow  challenged me and I beat her too.

In college, great joy was balancing down at Kohl's within  a dime.......or coming out with my drawer at extra funds...nothing short.  

Opps, getting out of order......Graduating.....then getting a job....moving....and being paid a REAL wage......

Getting married  and I remember planning to move into our first apartment, that brought me joy.  Picking out the stencils for the walls, going to art fairs and antique places to get pieces, and then planning out summer trip home and all the visiting we did.

Then the kids come.....greatest joy was being able to sleep in on Thanksgiving morning and watch the parade and then cooking dinner in my home.

Building our home and then slowly decorating it and making memories there.

Taking the kids to Wisconsin to see fall leaves and watch my brother play on the Football team his Senior year.

The list could go on and on.....there are many joys that I have been blessed with.  Many.   Many.  Many.

I read several posts for Mother's Day and devotionals yesterday as well.  And each time, I kept thinking....being a mom is not my greatest joy.


  Now, granted, I am 46...I have lived a bit, had my kids, passed the Motorcycle safety class, and pretty much  did  what I want to do when I wanted  to it .....but that is not my greatest joy.

What is.....

I know....

Luke 12.34   For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

My greatest know that I know....I am highly favored in HIS sight.  To know that I am being obedient and have been...and therefore, what was sowed in tears....will reap in joy.... I sort of paraphrased that scripture.

My greatest joy, to pray for another and see the healing.

My greatest joy,  to be asked to pray for another and believe and know the prayer will be answered.

My greatest joy, to know that I listened to God and HE esteems me for that.

My greatest joy, that acting in faith when you don't know what the outcome will be, can be the most HARD thing to do, but I CAN do hard......

My greatest joy, to hear my daughter tell me her dad prayed for her while I was in Chicago before she went and took her final exam.

My greatest joy, to hear of an answered prayer that I had been praying for ...for almost 18 months.

My greatest joy, to hold a baby or gaze on a photo of a child that was a miracle because of prayer.

My greatest joy, to hear my children pray.

My greatest joy, to hear my son say thank you for 'nothing', when I know in his heart what he means.

My greatest joy, to get lost in a worship song and see a vision that just warms my soul.

My greatest joy, to know that if I screw up ...and I do ...and I will again...I have been forgiven.

My greatest joy, to walk with Jesus, to rely on Him and to know that HE is

 for me ....always.

My greatest joy, to understand the scripture of 1 Peter 4.8  that love covers a multitude of sins...

My greatest joy, that I can rely on the Lord, be strong, and confident in HIM and I can RELY on HIM!

My greatest joy,  to know the past is the past, and God has tomorrow, that I don't have to worry.

My greatest joy, to know that I really CAN forgive  those who have hurt and tried to tear at me.

My greatest joy, to see a love restored.

My greatest joy, to know the difference between allowing GOD to be our everything and the other stuff is just wants.

My greatest joy, to look in the eyes of a person who is broken and have empathy and know, that God can heal that.

My greatest joy, to understand that God does allow that we can be molded and to see it happen is a miracle.

My greatest joy, to treasure is in heaven....we are not home yet.

My greatest joy, to be hugged by my Lord - daily.

My list could still go on....however, I do admit  I would add, my greatest being a mom too!

my little ones and their dad...back in 1997 or 1998

August 2011....starting over.  

bella our baby......

a family photo.....a season of faith and love...God wins...

Saturday, May 12, 2012

what would happen if you spoke the truth....

What a title hugh?  There is a woman that writes a blog and I read it whenever she posts.  She has written a  few books and is a regular writer for  I came across her blog because of her honesty and her pain.  It does touch me to read what other's are thinking...and then seeing how GOD changes things. 

God does change things. 

Here are two scriptures that are in front of me this am:  The Lord is good to those whose hope is in HIM, to the one who seeks HIM; is it good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.  Lamentations 3. 25-26

And:   Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?  If you, then though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give good gifts to those who ask HIM?   Matthew 7.9-11

What would happen if we spoke the truth to God all the time.  If we told HIM everything?  IF we relied on HIM all the time.  It hurts that many of us have to suffer a loss or a difficult situation to really get us back to being focused on HIM....praise God for those who figure it out the easy way.....but I have a feeling there are no easy ways,  as the Enemy is real and He will do what it takes to cause doubt.  Anyway -- that is not what I wanted to chat about.....

Waiting on God is key.  Asking is key too.  The woman I spoke about was in a difficult marriage.  She is now going through a 'godly divorce'.  Is there such a thing?  Yes, when there is free will involved, I now can see and understand that sometimes, it does not work out.  Jesus blood is enough, but as hurt beings, we just need to move forward.   However, I still believe Jesus' blood is enough  if both parties are willing to die to self and grab onto JEsus with everything, but sometimes our flesh and our humanness can't handle the problem or the hurt, and God does provide a way for healing and for the divorced.   I  heard it stated once that God will release will know....HE never released me.  But that is the only person I have to worry about.   I believe God used E.C.  ( the lady and her blog ) to help me learn much.  Today her post was, 'what would happen if you spoke the truth'.....Speaking the truth and letting her pain be right on the page, helped me.  I believe as I read her blog and got a glimpse into her life, I can see that God released her.  I mean, it really does not concern me, that is between her and God and her husband. Anyway, Elizabeth got me thinking today...

Today I want to speak some truth......

1.  Happy Mother's Day to my mom, my mother-n-law, my sisters, my sister -n- law's, and to my many friends who are mothers and to those women that are mothers to others in HIS kindgom.  YOU are speaking truth into our lives...into their lives...into other's lives...YOU are positive, loving, and you give HIS love to others.  THANK YOU. 

 Thank you for speaking truth...Lord, I pray a blessing over each of them right now, Lord, may their will line up with yours, protect them, let the men in their lives be filled with you so that they can mother and they can feel your love in every moment as they are mothers to others.  Lord, bless them, and their children as well.  Lord, thank you for each and every mother that was in my life...from my school days, to teachers who spoke life into me and to the many godly women around me that continue to pray for me....Lord, thank you for being there through them.  Amen. 

2.  Waiting on God is HARD, but HE rewards those who are obedient.  I am a testament to that.  I could make a list of just 100 blessings that I have recieved since the beginning of the year.  One major blessing happened two weekends ago.  I spent 5 days with 6 wonderful woman in Chicago and God gave me a blessed memory that I will cherish ALL of my life.  HE did that.  I not only had family time, I stayed at a swank place and was pampered, but HE really showed me that HE does bring beauty out of the ashes. 

I must share....May 1st is a day in  my history that is important.  My parents were married on May 1st.  My parents have now been married for 47 years.  Many times, I could never understand why....but that is their story.  Theirs. And I must add, I praise God that they are still together and seem to enjoy each other most of the time.  

  As a child, on  May 1st,   it was always like the first day of spring in my was also a day a few years ago that my world changed with a phone call.    That was May 1st of 2010.  Last year on May 1, 2011, I even wrote in my journal, "lord, help me...I need guide and protect and love me".  As  by May 1st  of last year, I really did believe that my marriage was going to end and I had accepted it.  I trusted God.  Now you can understand why I was searching and seeking anyone else that would blog or speak the truth...I was looking for confirmation and help.  Thus, I came across Elizabeth's blog.

However....this year.....

   On April 28th, 2012 I got to spend the evening with my parents and family and God gave me a sweet blessing.  I heard my dad tell a story about his Easter miracle and how he knows it was because of his obedience and prayer to God.  It was a simple story and Dad did not use those exact words, but it was like handing me a million was a treasure to hear him speak of his faith.  And he made a point of telling the story to my sister and I.  Diann was with us.  She and I pray constantly for our families.  She understands the need I had for so many years to 'save' my family....oh how God has changed and showed me how HE saves.  But that is another story as well. 

Back to May 1st this year, I was at a cool conference for my profession, I was with women who were education nerds like me, and then in the evening, I got to spend the night at a blues club and be entertained with legendary musicians and just enjoy myself.  Knowing....that on this May 1st...the Enemy was losing.  God wins.  My marriage was going to probably survive.  I believe it will.  Period.  God reminded me how 'I' declared war on the Enemy back in July of 'I' thought I was going to do this and that...and  I reflected on how HE gently changed me.

 God gave me a sweet sweet day of new memories and I knew in my heart, I was deeply loved, accepted, adopted, forgiven and redeemed by HIM.  And THAT was all that really mattered, all the good blessings and EXTRAS...were icing on the cake....just pure goodness.  So that scripture about waiting - has meaning.  And the scritpture about getting gifts from the Father -- wow. 

To top it off,  on May 2nd, as I reflected on my weekend and packed my suitcase to fly home, in my Sheraton Towers Hotel room on the 26th floor overlooking the Chicago River, I got a notion.   I had been watching the river boat tours outside my hotel window all weekend.  It had been raining and yucky Chicago weather and on that day it was clearing up. I managed to get on a tour and there were only 4 of us on the boat and therefore I got to ask lots of questions as I was going to give  my students a field trip and the tour began.  Anyway, as we came back into the  city from Navy pier the tour guide said, "do you know that this town was actually built on ashes?"....Pertaining to the Chicago Fire..the city had been destroyed.  The city lost everything except for 4 buildings.  And the founding fathers rebuilt on top of the ashes,  the bricks and ruins of the city.   Chicago was built on the first restored landfill.  Therefore everything sort of had to be built up.

 I stood there...crying. 

Tears a flowing....God has to rebuild us...God builds us up.

 HE brings beauty out of the ashes.  HE is rebuilding my marriage over the ashes. 

Can you picture me?  Crying?  It just humbled me so.  That God would weave this trip together with my new friends from my new job in a new city ....and let me hear the tour guide say those words.  It was like God was telling me right then and there, "well, done my blond haired beauty, bless you". "And, I told you so."

That God would LOVE me THAT much.  It was one of these moments when I would describe it as glory falling......

Oh God ..sorry that I did not trust or understand that love for so long.  YOu are right Lord, you weave and I will trust you allowed this pain in my life for a I would tell the do answer prayer, and you can restore.  YOU are GOD.  Thank you Lord. 

My view of the Wrigley Building!
God wins!  
I just had to share that truth...that was truth...someone needs encouragement and I believe she may of found my blog like I found E.C's blog two years ago....I want that someone to know, HE hears and HIS truth is HIS word.  Don't doubt it even when it looks pretty glum.  God will win. 

And, 3.  God wins.  HE does.  The Lord will reward us for waiting on Him.  He can give us that peace in our circumstance.  God also wants to give us good things.  He is hoping that we will humbly admit that we have those needs.  Don't be afraid to ask for help.  Don't be afraid to seek someone to pray for you.  Don't be afaid to show your pain.  God made us to relate to one another in love.  We were not made to live our lives alone.  Maybe you feel you are the strong one that has to be strong for others.....but now you need a strong hand.  Let another be that hand of God for you.....speak truth, ask. 

Lord,  I believe that is all you would have me say today.  I have two women in mind as I wrote this...along with the many mothers I have thought  of today....but maybe you just had me write  this for me.  I have been asking you what to blog about I ask you, you give me the words.  Thanks.  Thank you so much for my Chicago weekend and conference.  Thank you for YOUR life....

I love you Lord,
- your daughter - michelle

Monday, May 7, 2012

Monday, April 4th....those hands...

Back in April of 2011, I posted about Grandma.
On Monday, April 4, 2o11.

I will repost again:

Monday, April 4, 2011:

Those hands. Each morning, I am able to run to Circle K, get coffee and take it to Grma Africa. She is not 'really' my grandmother, but I claim her. She is really Brendan's grandma. My own grandma, the only one I have left is in Wisconsin and very well, for which I am thankful. This grandma, took a fall almost a month ago and has begun nursing home life. I keep telling her each day - to get stronger so she can walk on home, but she just smiles and says things like,"that is a good idea".

She will usually ask me once or twice, "so where were you going?"

" I came to see you Grandma." "oh" "Well, where were you going before you came here?"

" I was headed to school."

Each morning, I find her in a different position. Some mornings alert and others not so alert. I will say that today - she seemed her most alert. She wanted to hold her coffee cup and guide it to her mouth, but really can't hold it by herself.

I will ask her how she slept. What she had for lunch or supper the day before, and I ask her if she is in pain. By then, she will ask me again, "so where are you going". Some days the confusion is a little more.

Some days I try and ask her about Africa - this is a woman who spent over 30 years there as a missionary with her husband. She taught school, ran the Women's Ministries and made dinner for the President of the country -- and now, she needs me to hold her head up and let her sip some coffee.

By the way, I don't even love coffee. It took me 2-3 cups /trials before I got the right taste for her and the right amount of ice cubes so that she could drink it when I got there. And I was not sure she was remembering that I did this until this am when she said, "hey, I missed you yesterday". I did not have the heart to tell her that I had 'skipped' both Friday, Saturday, and Sunday as there was just too many things that got my attention instead. AFter she said that today - you can bet I won't let a day go past without taking her the coffee.

House Blend. No cream or sugar. Only get 1/2 a cup, add 4 ice cubes from soda machine. Buy it - $1.60 ( I tired to ask the clerk to charge me for a 1/2 cup, but he did not agree.) Then proceed to the Nursing/Rehab Place next to the hospital. Walk in the front door and then wake her up.

I added my routine, just in case I was unable to do this one day -- you could fill in.

Anyway, I say I bring her coffee ..and yet, she brings me so much more.

To rub her head, brush the hair out of her eyes and see into thoe gray /blue eyes and to see this 93 year old body fight to cough or sit up. ... is not only heartwarming, but, it is therpy for me.

I mean - I know I get more from her than she gets from me.

Today, I felt as if God was speaking directly through her with HIS eyes and HE reminded me that no matter what, she was my grandma. No matter what. No matter what, I would always have family and 'this' was my family. No matter what, I was in HIS will and HE was so proud of me - HE esteemed me. You see - why wouldn't I take her coffee each morning when God is right there with her and my spirit communes with hers.

That is a blessing.

So, why the photo of her hands? Today, I just really noticed how small they had become, how pretty they were - all with the veins and all, but also, how she would just pat my hands as she waited for another sip .. it just blessed me so.

So, I encourage anyone with a grandma .. .enjoy them . .take them coffee . . do what you can to enjoy their wisdom, their love, and let then bless you in ways you probably never even imagined.

I love you Grandma!

Grandma, this verse spoke to me .. .you labored for our Lord - thank you.

1 Corn 15.58

Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing more you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord, is NOT in vain.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

maybe tonight Grma will see Jesus

Maybe tonight, my Grandma Africa will see Jesus.  She really is not my grandmother, but I claim her.  She is Brendan's grandma  by blood.  Marilyn's mother.  However, she is my grandma, cause I love her like my own grandma and I know she loves me that much too.   She is Hunter and Taylor's great-grandma as well as others....she has several grandkids and great-grands....and she even has 2 great-great grandkids!

Bernice Ziemann  or Wanda B. Ellis Ziemann will be 96 or 97 this August.  I can't remember right at this moment.  Over a year ago, she fell and broke her hip and had to go to the nursing home.  She has been there ever since.  Up until then, she was living with Lowell and Marilyn at Indian Hammock and we enjoyed her company on visits into town, or family stuff.  Several years ago, Grandpa went to see Jesus and then a few years later, Grandma came to live in Florida.

When she went to stay at the Nursing home, I went to see her each morning and I would take her coffee.  I would stop there on my way into school.  I believe I became a regular.  I would stop at the 7-11 and get her the HOUSE blend.  I tried a few other flavors but the HOUSE blend became her favorite.  Some mornings, she was just too tired to wake up, but other days, she would enjoy that coffee.  I would stop on the way home too, and maybe feed her or help feed her and steal some chocolate or bring her a cheeseburger from McDonald's.  Some days she was not in pain...others were harder.  Slowly, she  healed but we knew she would never really walk again.

I remember one visit when I followed her into physical therapy and she was being quite a stinker.  She did not want to participate and yet, she wanted to walk again.  We all knew, she was getting a little harder to take care of and being in the loving care of the people there was best.

She never wanted to watch TV.  She always wanted to go home, and she loved to have visitors.  She also loved orange slices, licorice, and chocolate. She would get her hair done each Friday and loved to sing at the church service in the dining hall each Sunday.  She also kept her quick wit for most of the time.  One time during an Easter thing last year, she was suppose to put this Easter Bonnet on her head that was made for her.  She looked at me and said, "I am NOT wearing that ugly thing, make it disappear".

Last March, April, and May were very hard months for me personally and seeing her each day, being able to visit with her, even if it was only for 10 min, was a delight and a treat.  I would read her psalms and tell her about my day.   I don't think she ever fully understood that my heart was breaking, but being able to just share my day with her and then read to her, would lift me up EACH time.    There were many nights, when I curled up next to her in her bed and just laid there....not wanting to go home, not wanting to face my own struggles.  She would laugh at me and call me silly, but she would tell me she loved me and that is all I needed.

This may seem strange, but at the time....I was mourning the loss of, well, I was mourning the possible loss of my marriage...and with it ...I was deceived to believe that I would loose my grandma..her, and my family.....too....the 'n' laws.  Now, that did not happen and I know now and realize that probably would NOT of really happened, but when a family is broken, there are changes that do occur.  Sometimes it just can't be helped.  There is usually a 'new kind of normal'.  If that makes sense........anyway,  I would sit by Grandma's bed and look in her eyes and tell myself, "you are my grandma and  I won't let anyone tell me otherwise".  Most of the time she was sound asleep -- but those little moments with her and God...well, it just sustained me.

God used her.

 Little by little, the visits would get farther apart as summer came,   we moved, and then I started a new job.   My drive to work was no longer in the  path of the nursing home.  By the time I would be able to see her, she was asleep.

Since Christmas, visits were harder, she began to forget more, and she was not 'herself' as often.  She sleeps more, eats less, and our lives just got  busy again.  Visits were here and there.  We celebrated her birthday....then everyone came for Christmas and we got to celebrate that.  She was so tickled.  Visits were harder, as you want to remember her as she was.

Like, when Bren and I were in college.  We, Brendan and I,  ate at her house every Thursday night.  She always made tenderloin and we became spoiled!  I was always in my Kohl's uniform as I went straight to work from supper and then Brendan did laundry.  It became a weekly habit for several years.  Then we moved to Florida, and each summer and winter her home,  with Grandpa, became our headquarters.  We had the entire basement to live in for a week or two as we visited and ran all around Wisconsin.

Right before Grandpa went to heaven, she had broken her back and he was having some surgery and Brendan and I happened to be there in the middle of it.  I was taking Grandpa to his doctor appointments before his surgery and trying to get Grandma to the doctor as well.  I will never forget as we were in one  of the many doctor's offices and the nurse said, and "who is this lady?"....And Grandpa said, "she is our grand-daughter".....and he never explained it was by marriage or I was the wife of their grandson.  I  loved that was so sweet.

I can't tell you how many times I have relieved that memory over and over in my mind in the past 10 meant a lot.

In college, Grandma and Grandpa had LOTS of advice for the two of us....and Grandma was always worried about something.  You see, Marilyn and Lowell were in Florida while Brendan and I were still in college and therefore, she worried.  I remember being told, 'now don't say anything to grandma about that - she will just worry'.   Worry.  Worry -- or pray.  That woman was a prayer warrior.  She loved her bible and little by little stories would be shared about Africa and their ministry.

Those are all memories, I treasure.

However,  yesterday, when I visited, I recalled how ...even when she did not know or understand what I was going through...God used her to bless me.  After awhile, she did not remember my name.  I would visit and say, "who am I?"  And she would reply, "you know your name, why do I have too?". And I would laugh.  Then I would tell her and she would smile.  She began to repeat herself and ask questions that made you realize she was confused.  She would still be feisty at times too, especially if you did not see her for a bit.  She would get mad.

I went to see her yesterday and I looked into her eyes and said good-bye. It was very hard.  She had stopped eating a good month ago.  She is no longer drinking and she does not look like the grandma we remember.  Brendan does not want to see her, he wants to remember her as in the photo I will post with this.  I crawled into bed with her yesterday and sang to her.  I looked long and hard into those eyes and I believe she did see me.  I stayed long enough to see her smirk.  She tired to suck out of a straw but she is so week.  I prayed for her.  Her eyes said a lot.  Her eyes told me, she probably understood all those mornings when I would wake her and bring her coffee and I would cry....her eyes told me, she loved me.  Her eyes relived the memories I reminded her of....of our college years....of our visits to various places....of our talks on the back porch with Grandpa...of the Father's great love....of her healing in Africa of a heart attack...I talked and talked and cried...and she hummed I believe when I sang to her the African song she taught us.  And before I left, I said, I love you Grandma and she replied, "I love you too honey".  I heard it as clear as a bell.  I realized it took all of her strength to say it.

It blessed me so.  I prayed tonight that...tonight she would see her husband again, and the HOST of angels and saints that are there in heaven because of the work God did through her obedience.  I prayed that she would just peacefully slip away.  She has been asking God to take her home for several months now...maybe tonight it will happen.  Even if it is not tonight....I know it will be in HIS timing.

HIS timing is perfect.  She has led a wonderful life.  She made a difference...her light has shined so bright for so long.  I can't wait for her to be present with HIM.....

Lord, thank you for my grandma.  Thank you for our coffee chats, and for the times I could crawl up into her bed and just be close to her.  Thank you for giving me such a sweet grandma to love and cherish for the seems so hard to believe it has been that long.  Lord, give me a dream tonight -- or a vision into heaven...let me see her dancing with you and Grandpa....if it is YOUR will.

Thank you Lord for letting me say good bye to her yesterday.
Thank you Lord for Grandma Africa.
Thank you.

- her grand-daughter.......michelle