Saturday, March 30, 2013

being able to trust......

It is Easter.  Jesus has risen.  How do I know that - I trust that knowledge.  I believe in that.  I read it in HIS word.  I believe that.

My friend Trace, began her chemo this week.  A few days ago in fact,  how do I know that? She told me.  I texted her.  I heard her say she was doing good.   The doctors have not given her much hope.  This is her 2nd battle with a type of breast cancer.  I have been praying that the chemo shrinks the cancer and it then disappears and defies the doctor's opinions.   Why would I  believe or pray that way?  Cause I trust God.

My husband and I went to see a family at a hospital today, a family that we have been praying for for several days now and we prayed over their son in Critical Care.  He is not doing well, and there is a good chance he could spend Easter with Our Heavenly Father, but we are believing in a miracle!  How do I know that, or believe in that miracle? HIM.

Trusting is a HARD thing.  When it comes to the 'bottom' of it, people will say they trust in this or that, but to me it takes a WHOLE lot more faith to trust in a person than it is to trust in GOD.

People fail us.  God does not fail us.  But what happens when....HE does not heal or he does allow the heartache to last.....ah, yes, THAT is when we must TRUST - right?

Or Rely on HIM?

 I found this:  The thing is to rely only on God.  The time will come when you will regard all this misery as a small price to pay for having been brought to that dependance.  Meanwhile, the trouble is that relying on God has to begin all over again EVERY day as if nothing has yet been done.  - CS Lewis.

Pretty profound hugh?

God's timing is perfect and it is no accident that I have called out to HIM and begged for healing for two special people this week.   Now we must trust that GOD will do HIS best work.


Trust hangs somewhere between knowing what your heart longs for and trying to dictate the shape or timing or outcome of your heart's desire.     
It lies in the willingness to accept the particulars of how and when and where God chooses to intervene.  It waits in the cool shade of surrender.   - Paula Reinhart 
There are loads of things that lead us to TRUST God... knowing your marriage may end taking a phone call from your sister and hearing the words, 'we have lost Blake'...  seeing your parents hurt each other with words and realize the hurt has gotten so deep... moving across the country for a job
.... like jumping feet first into a new challenge when you are scare to DEATH! sitting at the foot of a bed and watch a child struggle to breathe seeking a new job when you know it will be a challenge getting a phone call that totally shakes your life finding a lump and sitting under a PET scan and wondering if the cancer is back moving back home when a family is broken hearing the words, 'I don't love you'... coming home and being scare of what you will find... believing your were never loved... hearing of another's heartache and it brings you to action but ...what could you do? thinking that you are unloved.. believing that a hurt from childhood could harm your entire present reality being tossed back and forth by the winds of change... so hurt as a child, that you have cut off anyone that could hurt you as an adult, but that makes you isolated...

Some of these experiences are mine...others are people I know...and others are just experiences...that is not the point - the point is what has caused YOU to trust God?

Paula Reinhart says that the root of trust comes from being grounded in the fact and knowledge that you are LOVED by God.  That no matter what, as long as I am loved by God..HE will lead me to the light in this cruel world.   Do I know that - that I am SO loved?  HIS word says I was so loved before the foundation of the world.

Learning to trust my husband again has been hard, but I trust him through my Lord.
Learning to trust God, has been something I have been working on for YEARS!
Learning to trust God when it comes to our immediate friends and family and with their healing....

Paula says, "if we let ourselves be loved by God, our hands release their grips on the reins of our lives and we stop trying so hard to be the one with all the answers".

God has the answers.  I don't.

Will Trace's cancer be shrunk to its disappearance?
Will Chris sit in church again - soon?
Will I ever get this figured out?

I am believing and trusting and praying that God is going to heal them both!  

Paula says this too:

God is always good.  If life is like a deck of cards, then God is always the wild card.  He is not subject to our human efforts to influence outcomes, we are subject to HIS.  His story is the great story being told- and none of us  know exactly how our own story will read - only that it will end well!  This is why we trust, in the important matters, always feels like a risk and why it entails courage.  

God does not have to explain Himself to us, we worship a God who is mysterious - too mysterious to fit into our formulas.  It means God is not our best friend, our secret lover, or our alter ego...HE is our God.  It evens means that it is just as frightening as it is delightful to stand in HIs presence.  Our creaturely relationship with God is one in which we are, at the same time, both irresistibly drawn to HIm and humbled by the grandeur of his holiness. 

I know this, heartache is NOT God's discipline for us.  That is NOT the heart of God!   Sometimes it is easier for people to blame others or themselves.  

But accepting the mystery of what we cannot know will lead us to the heart of God - where we trade our craving for explanation for a simple willingness to trust God.

There is a peace within Chris' parents that you can hear when you speak to them.
There is a peace within Trace's texts that you can they are trusting God and they have that peace.

God is so good.  HIS word says, 'surely goodness and kindness shall follow him all the days of his life'...for those who put their TRUST in HIM.

Today is EAster, many will put their trust in stuff.  Some will trust that Publix will still be open, and find it is closed today!  Some... will trust and believe there is no 'hell' -- our God could never do that for His people.    Some will think or trust they can 'get it right with God later, after their are married, after they finish college, or next week'.....
There are people that will trust their car will work tomorrow so they can make it to church the one day of the year they feel guilty...

Is this your TRUST?  Or is Your TRUST in HIM?
I have felt the burden to pray this week for many within my circle that 'think' they are headed to heaven and they 'think' they know the Lord...but they really don't TRUST HIM.

They don't rely on HIM.
THey have not fallen in love with HIM.

When you fall in love with someone...YOU want to be with them, YOU want to read what they wrote, YOU want to tell others...YOU WANT that and you begin to build that relationship and eventually you  TRUST them.  It is the same with God.

Ok, enough said -

 LOrd, there have been 4 blog posts that YOU wrote within my head this week - this is the one that came out.  Lord, you know my heart and my desire is to WRITE in such a way that it will touch YOUR Kingdom and help save a lost one.  Lord, tomorrow is EAster, the past two year's this holiday has had more meaning and burden.  Lord, for the family and friends that really don't know you - Oh God, draw them near today! Lord, again for Trace and Christopher - we are believing for a healing.  Oh Lord, for my own family, protect and guide us.  Lord, for church ...later today - may the church family step up and love on the ones guilted into coming to the service today...oh God that they may WANT you.  And Lord, thank you - for ALL.    Amen. 


Sunday, March 24, 2013

trusting HIM with ANXIOUS news....

Isaiah 49.16....see, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands... HE will fight for u. HE knows it all. HE is still on the throne, trust HIM.

Ok, so do I really trust HIM?  

This past week, I received some news that I did not expect-- nor have I ever experienced it before.  

First off, because I want to be a LIGHT to others and because I talk a lot, I get involved with others and I want to pray and encourage them.  I do.  I want to be a light.  I want to share Jesus with the hurting and let others know - that GOD wins.  GOD heals.  GOD is our best friend and that GOD knows our heart.  But I want to see healing ALL the time and I want to see the WINS all the time, I don't know if I can be that light when it appears that death is around the corner - or can I?  

With this....then...I must be ready for the HARD stuff too.  I can do HARD.  I have.  I have.  But this news I got this week puts much into perspective.  It makes 'my HARD' seem easy.  

Then I remember, Pain is Pain and each person in pain....that is their reality.  One's perspective is just that - their perspective.  And when we are in pain - it does not matter.  There is no 'level' of whose pain is more than another -- God is the healer - no matter what.  

You see, a classmate from Watertown High School, a dear mother and woman of God,  was given some news back in February - her cancer had returned.  I was devastated to find out she had already dealt with Breast Cancer back in 2008 and 2009. ( I do a Susan G. Komen 3 day Walk for the Cure.  I raise money for the cause.  I run 5K's.  I wear PINK when I am suppose too.  I 'do' all the right stuff and when I had heard she had already been dealing with breast cancer back in 2009, I felt I had let her down.)   We were great friends our Sophomore and Junior year and our Senior year too-- but I got too involved with Brendan and ignored my high school pals.  I was just a naive teen.  Anyway, class reunions, and Christmas cards kept us informed and tied for a bit.  In 2009 when I made contact again, I was floored.  

Time passes so quickly and things happen, and when people are out of your sight - they get 'out of your mind'.  Anyway, in 2009 when we reconnected, I vowed to make sure I stay connected.  That was a good thought -- then my whole life changed and I became consumed with my own turmoil....and quickly three years have passed.   

No news was good news.  I believed she was still cancer free.  

 But God knew, HE placed her name on my heart again just a few weeks ago and I  casually asked a mutual friend to say 'hello' if she ever saw her.  ( like our home town consists of only 50 people and that she would see her...again, being naive and just making small talk as the mutual friend also dealt with breast cancer last year and beat it! )  But she did. Our hometown is 14K+ people.  But God arranged it.  Laurie saw Tracey,   the next day. 

 And the news - her cancer was back, and the doctors were not hopeful.  That news was shared with me that next day.  I was in shock.   Her options.... She will seek treatment to buy her more time.  


This is the first time, I have a close pal....a woman MY AGE...dealing with a disease that is no respecter of persons.  I  had sleep overs at this girl's house.  I walked home to her house after school to await a basketball game.  I passed notes back and forth to her during class.  I voted for her when she was nominated for HOmecoming Queen!

This was too close to home.  

 However, we serve a GREAT and glorious God.  I admit when I first heard the news, my gut ached and I thought - there is no way she can beat this twice.  The doctors were just buying her time.  I grieved for two days.  Two days,  and then, I believe the Holy Spirit came over me and I said out loud "why not?"..."Why can't see beat this a 2nd time?"  And that is how I began to pray.  Now the challenge of trying to make contact with her became priority #1.  

Yesterday, after almost 2 weeks of prayer, I got an email and text from her.  Praise God. 

Now what?  

I posted this status yesterday...

ISaiah 49.16....see, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands... HE will fight for u. HE knows it all. HE is still on the throne, trust HIM.

This post was for me.  This post could be for you.  I was also praying for another woman yesterday and wanted her to read this status.  And there are a few other women I prayed for and men that could use this encouragement.  

This verse comforted me in a very HARD time.  

When my family was fragmented and we had to do 'family' type things, it was very hard to always keep a smile on my face.  Many times, I would be sitting in a restaurant  ( usually a soccer event ) or at a gathering with my kids and husband and the grief or uncertainty of our situation would come over me like a flood and my thoughts would get beyond control.  It was then, I would excuse myself, retreat to a restroom or a bedroom and seek God.  I would pray and DEMAND that Jesus come and HOLD MY HAND...and remind HIM - God - that HE had engraved my name on HIS hand and that HE had to come and rescue me now.   Mind you, I would only excuse myself for about a good 3-4 minutes and I would ask God to fill my 'order' like I was at McDonalds.  Now in hindsight, I was very demanding and HE was always right there to answer and accommodate me. 
This is Tracey...taken from my yearbook - CIRCA...1984! 

  At some of the  hardest times,  all I wanted to do was go to heaven.  Right then and there.  I wanted to 'end' the heartache and just be in HIS arms.  I was heartbroken and at that point, hopeless.   Thinking back, death or going to heaven was all I really wanted.  

 And as I said, God quickly come to my aide.  I know HE sent extra angels right there and I would splash cold water on my face, and smile at myself in a mirror and remind myself of HIS promises.  And I could go back to the meal, or the restaurant where my kids and their father were goofing around, or even go back to the 'family' gathering and just smile like ALL was well.  God did it.   I didn't.  It was all God. 

Trusting God did not come overnight.  Trusting God was a process.  Trusting that God would take care of me and my kids, even when I was unsure of our future was a hard thing to finally accept.  And then living in that reality was even harder.  Now, trusting God to give  me the right words to speak to my friend, trusting God to pray for a healing on THIS side of heaven, trusting God to walk with me, as I want to encourage and be there for my friend.....this is what I was anxious about. 

Can I do it?  

I believe I can.  

I won't question HIM.
I won't ask why Trace has to deal with this cancer again, but I will trust HIM to take great care of her.  I will trust HIM to allow me to be a part of her life again.  
I will trust HIM to give me the words to encourage her.  

I will trust HIM with my other friends that I am praying for. 
I will trust HIM with my own kids and my 

With God all things are possible.  
With God all things are possible.

With God, I believe that God will heal Tracey and that HE will give her the time she needs before He takes her home. 

I am really no different - I will be heading home to heaven one day too.  

Trace and I are both one heartbeat away from heaven. 

She loves God.  She knows heaven awaits her.  But she has a husband and four children and she did not expect this cancer to return.  

She wants to believe and be hopeful that God will heal her. 
I will believe that too!  

If you are reading this, I would ask you to add Tracey to your prayer list.
She is being hopeful and 'not' realistic.  Her doctors are telling her that she needs to prepare for the worst and have chemo to buy her some time.  She will be starting chemo shortly. She received her port a week or so ago.  She is going to fight this - and I will trust God.  

I will trust God even when it does not seem......
I will trust God. 

If you are reading this - thank you for your prayers.  

Lord, I won't allow the Enemy to make me feel guilty that Trace and I drifted all those years ago.  I won't allow him to make me think I messed it up.  YOUR timing is perfect and YOU brought her back into my life for a reason and I love that.  Lord, just the fact that Brendan and I were in the process of praying together when her text came across my phone - THAT was a miracle in itself as in our 25+ years together, praying as a husband and wife is a new thing - a glorious new thing -- a miracle and I believe YOU will do even more miralces, including one for Trace and her children and her husband.  Lord, I am praying the chemo will SHRINK the present cancer, and Lord SLOW down each cancer cell as this  cancer is a slow growing one.  Lord, give her the time she needs to be ready.  Lord, give her all the time she needs.  Lord, I want to see her this summer, and I want to see her at our 30th class reunion next summer in 2014...Lord, we all are but one heartbeat away from our meeting with you.  You heal on this side of heaven and on the other.  I know you will bring beauty out of this - no matter what, but I am coming to you in agreement with Tracey, as she wants more time.  Amen!  

In HIM, michelle 

Monday, March 11, 2013 has been two years now......

  The following below was written in February of 2012. 

  At the time, I was reflecting on the previous year ( 2011)  and all that has changed.    Going to do it again.....

As God reminded me of  a chapter  in the bible of how God told  HIS people to put stones in the river....remembrance stones of WHAT God had done for them...... to bring them out of Egypt - so they would not forget. 

 I don't want to forget 'where' we were, I mean, I don't want the pain of it, but I don't want to forget what it took to change all of us into more CHRIST like people....we are different now.  Praise God.  

Now I will ADD in....what you read in the RED  is the update.....

Isaiah 43.2
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned or scorched, nor will the flame kindle upon you.

A (TWO years ago) year ago, our lives were very different.  My life was very different.  I was on a roller coaster and just trying to get off, or back on...or even get to a new 'ride' but that was then.  A year ago, I was preparing my 4th graders for Florida Writes, trying my best to tweek any quick lessons and trying to make a child WANT to write. I had decided to apply for a new job and make some changes.    A year ago,  Hunter had just returned from Costa Rica and he spoke about the orphanage and how it affected him.  A year ago, Taylor had just turned 20 and I was taking my classes at church to go to my Encounter Retreat Weekend.  A year ago, things were very different.  And they were good.

My life now,  ( February 28, 2012 it  was still on a roller coaster, but  now (2013)  we have picked a new ride! ) 

  We - my husband and I  are getting on the roller coaster together and we get off together and most times we choose the one ride  that does NOT go upside down!   

I am moving forward and not going backwards or upside down anymore.  I am no longer teaching 4th grade...but sweating it out with 5th graders and trying to teach how to regroup and rename fractions /mixed numbers and then solve equations...I am learning. ( I am still teaching 5th graders and this year I know more about fractions and surface area and I still LOVE this job!)   And I got that new job.  Hunter did not go out of the country this year, but is preparing to head to Dallas in April with Brendan and compete in the Dr. Pepper Dallas Cup and play soccer. Brendan and Hunter went to Dallas Cup.  The boys placed very well, but lost in a quarter final game and they could not WAIT to fly home, Brendan drove the rental car all the way home in 24 hours.....that was crazy!    And Taylor just turned 21 (she is now 22!) .....she is legal...Things are very different.  And they are good, but a 'better' good.   Things are better now.....much better.  Just completely different!  

This morning God reminded me of my Encounter weekend...and I went to FIND this post.  Thus, you are getting an update!   God reminded me, someone needed encouragement! 

 This morning, God reminded me of something special that happened to me a year ago at my Encounter weekend.....heading to the Encounter was hard, as there were so many unanswered questions, thoughts, and hurt, but coming home from it -- there was a true Encounter with My Lord.

The verse in Isaiah...passing through the waters...That has been happening for the past several years and God NEVER once....left me.  HE was there with me all the time.    I think back and can get overwhelmed by thoughts, problems, and hurts...and HE says, I will NOT let them overwhelm you... and HE kept HIS promise.  I did not get burned...scorched...and the flame did not kindle upon me.

A year ago(2011), I HATED God's timing.  Today(2012) ....HIS timing is something I don't understand but I don't HATE it anymore.  It is needed.  Today,  ( 2013) I now LOVE God's timing.  Of course, cause we are on the OTHER side of the hurt and restoration has come.  Now we just continue to do our best, LOVE HIM first and walk along with him.  

I heard my husband tell another this past weekend...."chell and I are really good, in fact great, it is the best we have ever been".....Those were sweet words to hear.  However, I can't easily forget how quickly something can turn  - we are very aware and grateful, but we are both committed to work at our relationship with HIM first, daily...which makes our relationship as husband and much better...and oh....the BEST it has ever been! 

The difference is really our relationship with Christ.  HE truly is finally at the head of our marriage, we really are a three-braided chord...bound tight, retied back together.  

Our hearts ache now for others we see in a similar situaiton or just in pain because of life and it's difficulties.  We ache cause a few times we just want to say ....'get right with God....let HIM in...let HIM fix it.....oh Lord, draw them near!'. 

 But, we have learned that prayer - is the key.  So we pray!   And pray.   

God reminded me today -- that I needed to share:

 THIS truth is RIGHT on whether you read it back in 2012 or just now for the first time........

Whatever YOU may be facing or experiencing right now in your life,  DO not give up.....Hang on.
Whatever YOU may be facing or experiencing right now in your life,  DO not give up.....Hang on.
Whatever YOU may be facing or experiencing right now in your life,  DO not give up.....Hang on.

At the beginning of my Encounter Weekend, I spoke to my Cell Pastor and made my list of hurts and what I wanted to hear from God and 'learn'....HE had HIS own plan.  HIS plan was MUCH better than mine or what I expected.

At the end of my Encounter Weekend, at a prayer time I was slain in the Spirit...that had NEVER happened to me before.  I have seen it happen, I have heard people talk about it - but if it was going to happen to me or be real...I had told God -- HE would have to do it.  HE did.  I went for prayer, I lifted my palms up to show I was submitting to whatever God had for me and my Cell Pastor began to pray.  All I heard was, "Father God..."  and I felt the bottoms of my feet lift up and I was down.  And out.  And I saw the most beautiful light...yellow light.  At first I asked God - 'what is this?'  But I felt peace and calm and tranquility.....I believe I got to see the light of God -- for a brief moment, just a brief moment, but HE reminded me of that Encounter today.  HE reminded me...HE is with us.. always...

There is more to this story - but, that is all I am suppose to share ...I am to encourage someone...somewhere.... HE will NOT let you pass through the waters alone, call to HIM today ...

Don't give up.

God wins.  God still wins.   Hang on!  

Submitted in Christ -- michelle

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

our limited vision........

If you could see me as I write this moment - a few different things transpired today that made me frustrated, angry, and overjoyed, and then so excited I wanted to literally FLY and carry a banner that says ...GOD WINS!!!  

But some of that is for another blog and a later date....

THIS is what I wanted to share this evening:

I found the following quote typed up  in cleaning up the papers in my purse and bible....It was a part of Sharon Jaynes's Girlfriends in God devotional...from back in October or maybe earlier in the year.  However, I know it is by HIS divine intervention that it CAME to life this evening.  It must of spoke to me back then, as I copied and printed it off....but tonight - it is time to blog it and share!

She quoted  Jean-Pierre de Caussade and he said it well:

"Each and every trial is an opportunity to trust HIM more.  You would be very ashamed if you knew what experiences you call setbacks, upheavals, pointless disturbances, and tedious annoyances really are.  You would realize that your complaints about them are nothing more nor less than blasphemies -- thought that never occurs to you.  Nothing happens to you except by the will of GOD, and yet beloved children curse it because they do not know it for what it is."   

HIS ways are HIGHER than our ways and HIS thoughts are HIGHER than our thoughts.   Isaiah 55.9

I have been in prayer for a particular pal and my heart has been aching.  But not only for her - there are others on my prayer list.  I have come to learn about Intercessory Prayer - when  GOD burdens you for a loved one or a lost one, or a total stranger.  Either is an ACT of God when the burden is placed on you.

I consider it,  now,  a blessing.  I won't 'curse' or feel frustrated about it.  But, for a brief moment yesterday I did.  I did.

  I was ready to GIVE up.

  I even 'told' God - I quit.

 And HE quickly reminded of when I felt that way within my own life as I prayed for my heart and I was tired of hurting.      And HE quickly reminded me the outcome - God WINS.  So I quickly repented, chatted/prayed more with God and renounced my self-pity and knew I was NOT going to quit and I would continue to lay that burden at HIS feet...the cross.

I then walked into my house and was blessed tremendously by a personal letter from Beth Moore's team of prayer warriors.  I got the 'usual' form letter/ card from BEth too, but I realize she is a mega personality and can't respond personally, but one of her prayer warriors did and it encouraged me.  HIS timing is perfect.  HE knew I would say, "I quit, and then 5 min later take that back,  and then 30 seconds later walk it to be blessed....."  HE knew that - that is why I call Him LORD!

HE is my best friend.  HE has my back.  HE fights for me!

So when I found this little snip-it of truth that Sharon Jaynes shared...I was heavily reminded - HIS ways are higher than our ways...HIS thoughts are higher than our thoughts.....God wins.

My limited vision is limited, but praise God I am now in the practice of opening my eyes more often and I pray that HE will continue to burden me with prayer requests - I want to be HIS servant and be a part of HIS will.

Today's trials....I won't complain.  I already have a plan to make tomorrow better.  And I figure the Enemy knew I was on fire with prayer for another - so what better way  than to throw up some other crud to get me off track.  But, I am more wise to his stupid and cunning ways.  My armor is up and getting stronger day after day.  Amen!

The trials of today are not I know - Nothing happens to me except by the will of God.

honored...and so in LOVE with my Lord that I want more...