Friday, April 29, 2011


As I look back over that last post of seems almost weird to now to see such beauty and majesty in the thunderstorm.

I sit here now less than a mile away from devastation caused from tornadoes that ripped across the southern states.

Homes gone

Power out

Trees snapped like twigs

Businesses blown down

Some (like me) would wonder where God was when havoc was playing on the wind. Couldn't He just say, "Peace, be still?"

The answer to that is yes.

But He didn't.

He allowed lots of destruction. He allowed injury and loss.

To sit here and try to figure the mind and methods of an omnipotent God is pointless for me.

Instead I should thank Him over and over for His mercy in sparing my family.

I should pray for the thousands of displaced families who are living without homes, power, and loved ones who were lost.

Choosing to rest and trust is not easy when questions plague me. But it is best. So rest I will.

He was there.
In the midst of the raging storm, His presence was near to His children.
He answered those calling out to Him for the first time or maybe just in a long time.

He was there.
He hasn't left.

Only He can truly rebuild and repair the lives of those who will let him.

Rebuild the ruins Lord. Repair the broken hearts and lives. We trust You.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Out-running the Rain

This past Monday turned out to be a pretty dramatic day.

It didn't really start out that way but God certainly gave us a dynamic ending.

I had to take Caroline down to a neurologist appointment in Atlanta and unfortunately Shep couldn't go. This wouldn't normally be a big deal but the doctor wants to refer us to a specialist that we have seen before. This was completely unexpected and left me trying to process and pray about what seemed to be a mysterious and frustrating blow to us....again completely out of left field. (there will be more on this but not ready to fully divulge just yet)

On top of being completely taken aback by the doctor's information, Caroline decided to yank her g-tube out as I was in the process of feeding her.


I wanted to scream but I had to maintain some semblance of control. I got a nurse to stay with her so I could go try to find a syringe or something to help remedy the situation.

(In case you are feeling sorry for my child and thinking maybe I should have been concerned with her safety or pain from pulling this g-tube out....she was laying on the floor laughing at the mayhem she had caused. pity here.)

Anyway, I found a syringe, got the g-tube back in, finished feeding Caroline, changed her diaper and got to the car just in time for 5:00 traffic on highways 285 and 75. My nerves were blood raw, my stomach was churning, my mind was whirling, and the prayers being lifted were not fluent at all. I am thankful that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us because I am pretty sure that there were no clear and lucid thoughts emerging from my over-done brain.

Our sweet Linda had not seen the kids in several days and had pre-arranged to come visit them so that Shep and I could go for a motorcycle ride. After my fiasco of a afternoon I was beyond ready to hop on that bike and let my brain freewheel while holding tight to my man.

There were reports of thundershowers (as always in spring and summer) but we were gonna brave it and try to ride toward clear blue skies.

God had other plans for us.

At first things were fine. But it seemed like the dark gray clouds just kept closing in.

The sprinkles came and then we were getting pummeled by full blown rain. We could see blue skies but we couldn't seem to get to them. This was pretty much the gist of our whole ride.

We spent the whole hour and a half in and out of spitting rain. It was so strange. The blue sky and sunshine was there in the short just took forever to get to it. Finally we emerged from the dark clouds and enjoyed the brilliant sunshine. The darkness was now to our backs and the sky ahead was completely clear.

There was just one little problem.

The way home was NOT straight ahead. It was to our left and yep, you guessed it...back into the clouds.

It was like we were destined to be right in the thick of it. We had no sooner dried our helmets in the sunshine's warmth when we felt the first hits of rain....again.

It was truly a spectacle of creation.

I have never witnessed or experienced anything like it.

God was about to speak loud and clear to me.....using the tools at His disposal. CREATION.

As we headed south on highway 41 the clouds got darker and heavier. To our skies.....lots of sun.

To our left and above....darkness, shades of deep gray, and rain

As the rain began to pour down...our eyes were drawn to something in the darkness.

It was the most radiant full rainbow I have ever seen.

The colors were clear and separate. I would have sworn that they were neon and glowing. Poor Shep had to drive and couldn't really enjoy the view. But I couldn't take my eyes off of the magnificent rainbow. It seemed to be following us.

It was such a funny sensation. All of a sudden the pelting rain didn't bother me. I was wet, cold, and the forecast wasn't improving but my view was different.

All the darkness and rain were now suddenly in my peripheral view....the spotlight was the rainbow. Everything else paled in comparison. It was beautiful to behold and breathtaking! I didn't even want to look at the simple sunshine to my right. I wanted to gaze intently into the darkness and rain just to fully take in His glorious rainbow.

Out of that.....God Almighty spoke to my heart.

Child, I am God. I tell the sun to shine and the clouds to pour.
I am God in the light. I am God in the darkness.
You spend so much energy trying to outrun the storm.
I have placed you in the midst of it.
Run as you may.... but it is my plan for the rain to pour right now.
Look into the promise is there.
Don't be afraid.
Behold My provision, My protection, My presence inside the dark clouds and pounding rain.
I AM just as BIG and present with you here in this darkness as I AM in the light.
Trust me.
Trust my ways when you don't understand my methods.
Look into the storm.
Don't run from it.
Receive the promise I have for you there.

Job 26 says:

God stretches the northern sky over empty space
and hangs the earth on nothing.
8 He wraps the rain in his thick clouds,
and the clouds don’t burst with the weight.
9 He covers the face of the moon,[c]
shrouding it with his clouds.
10 He created the horizon when he separated the waters;
he set the boundary between day and night.
11 The foundations of heaven tremble;
they shudder at his rebuke.
12 By his power the sea grew calm.
By his skill he crushed the great sea monster.[d]
13 His Spirit made the heavens beautiful,
and his power pierced the gliding serpent.
14 These are just the beginning of all that he does,
merely a whisper of his power.
Who, then, can comprehend the thunder of his power?”

Sunday, April 24, 2011

hopelessly hopeful

Hope-to expect with confidence
(from Webster's online dictionary)

Because the God I serve came back to life after being beaten mercilessly, crucified on a cross, and laid in a tomb....all so I could live!

To NOT live life with Hope would be an insult to His amazing sacrifice!!!

He has nothing to offer us.....if not Hope!

Psalm 71:14 "As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more!"

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good indeed

Today could almost slip by unnoticed.

There are jobs to do, errands to run, kids to tend to, and oh yea....isn't it Easter this weekend?

But not yet. Friday is here but Sunday is coming....

Today goes down as one of the most blessed days for those of us redeemed, bought, cleansed, and saved by the blood of Jesus.

Today represents the entire reason He came to this earth to clothe Himself with humanity, walk among us, and share in our sufferings.

Today represents His death.
Today represents my life.

Today represents the beatings that left him almost unrecognizable.
Today represents the healing that is mine through the stripes He took.

Today represents His sacrifice.
Today represents my salvation.

Faithful Lord~ thank you for doing what you came to do. Thank you for enduring the shame and scorn. Thank you for taking the beating, the cursing, and the spitting. Thank you for wearing the crown of thorns. Thank you for being nailed to a cross and never shrinking back from what it cost you. Your love is incomprehensible. I am overwhelmed. My sins are taken away...past, present, and future. You alone made the way. Help me to live for you. Help me not to squander Your sacrifice or to diminish it in any way. Compel me to pursue others on Your behalf, to tell them of Your great love and mercy that is theirs for the taking. One man came to die to save all of mankind. It is a Good Friday indeed!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


I honestly don't know what I would do without the constant accountability that hems me in through Bible study.

I wish I could tell you that I am" super spiritual" and that I dive into the Word every morning like clock work BUT that would be a BIG FAT LIE. I love God's Word and I thoroughly enjoy learning and applying it but sometimes I just don't know where to go.

The truth is....staying in Bible study helps me do that in a huge way. Our church has a Thursday morning group that I have made my home. These ladies are so vastly different yet so fiercely concerned with growing in the Lord. I started attending this group about 7 years ago and I have never stopped. One of the reasons that I continue to teach (or lead) these studies is because I have to stand up in front of these women and be ready to present what God is doing in my life. So that also means that I have to be prayed up, repentant, yield to the Holy Spirit, and PREPARED!

Well, this spring we have started a new study.....and I am not leading it. I get to sit back and soak it in!

I am getting to sit at someone else's feet. It happens to be someone that I trust completely and love as my own sister. "D" as I call her (short for Deana) hates to be the center of attention. However, the spiritual depth and insight that she possesses is inspiring and even a bit intimidating. So glad she is one of my best friends so that I can claim some of her spirituality by proximity:)

Anyway, she kicked us off last week with a new study by Priscilla Shirer. It is on "Jonah". The video was so incredibly good and it certainly wet my appetite for what's to come. The home work has done it's has gotten this lazy girl into the Word on a more consistent basis.

The overall theme of this study is learning how deal with interruptions to our lives that are allowed and planned by Almighty God.

Jonah was a prophet who heard from God then reported the message.
This was his life.
This was the plan.
Then God threw him a curve ball.

Have you had any curve balls lately?

I feel like interruptions are becoming "the norm" for my life.

NOTHING in my life is how I thought it would be at this point....except that maybe my marriage is way better than I thought.

EVERYTHING else.....children, finances, friends, extended family, and just life in general is a constant state of change.

Take this week: Zeke got diagnosed with strep throat on Sunday at the Publix clinic. Oops...they didn't take our insurance. Nice expense we weren't planning on. On Monday Zeke starts getting a swollen lump on his jaw line that concerns the doctor. Meanwhile my throat is getting hoarse and very scratchy and oh yea.....I've got 2 solo songs to sing this Friday night.


unexpected expenses
troubling thoughts

Now I get it that these are smallish things (by the way...Zeke is fine) but still they are NOT what I would have planned. These things are getting in the way of my desired plans.

Well, that is exactly the problem.

I view my life as MY life. But that isn't true. My life belongs to God and my chief responsibility is to obey Him.

Priscilla explains our role as Christians by describing the occupation of someone who is a personal assistant. The parallel to the Christian walk is easy to identify and it clearly spoke to me.

"I recently met a young woman who works as a personal assistant to one of the most powerful people in the country. She was delighted when she was offered this coveted job working alongside this highly respected and busy individual. The moment she signed on to be an assistant, she was told that during her working hours she needed to be on call. This meant that at any moment her boss may call her to assist him and she would need to drop anything she was doing-even if she was working on another assignment at the time. While adjusting to fit this schedule was difficult at first, she quickly became used to it and organized her life appropriately.
Now she is constantly waiting on a call from her boss. She makes sure that all of her communication devices are powered up, activated, and just a hand's reach away so that she can be ready to receive instruction. While she does make personal plans during working hours, she holds them loosely. She is fully aware that her primary responsibility is to be ready to manage that which her boss assigns.
I asked her if she felt overwhelmed or disgusted having to change her personal plans. She shook her head and replied, 'No way. It's an honor to have this job. And,' he added, 'he's a nice guy. While everything he asks for is not always convenient, he's very considerate. I want to do a good job.'"

-from Jonah pg. 14 by Priscilla Shirer

This was spoken from someone who loved their job and their boss.

How much more should I love and joyfully serve the ONE who saved me, suffered for me, sustains me, sacrificed for me, and satisfies my soul???????

If I trust that He has my life in His hands then He is holding the interruptions too!

Galatians 2:20 "My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."

Friday, April 15, 2011

Take Notice....Not Pity

Let me preface this entire post by saying: I AM NOT PROMOTING PITY; BUT ENCOURAGEMENT!

Shep and I received some sweet encouragement this week from two separate friends.

It was a different kind of encouragement.

You may not even see it as encouragement.


They did something difficult.
They "took notice".
They called and relayed what God impressed to them.
They opened themselves to fully feel and experience what is often pushed away because it is uncomfortable and awkward.

Their boldness prompted me to look for ways to "take notice" of others and encourage them in their walks of life.

As parents of a severely disabled child, we have learned how to manage our lives. We do what we do in methodical fashion. We are so used to the way things are that we don't is kind of like we run on auto-pilot.

The emotional burden that we carry is so deeply personal and private that we only share the details of it with the closest friends, family, and our Lord Jesus. They are the only ones who have earned the right to be trusted with our heartaches, hurts, and fears.

I could talk endlessly about the physical strain that we deal with...
-constantly carrying a child who is almost 9 years old
-lifting her stroller/wheelchair in and out of every destination we come to
-looking for private places to change her diaper
-wiping her mouth from excessive drool and poor head control
-feeding her 4 times a day through a g-tube in her belly

I could also talk endlessly about the emotional strain that it takes on us...
-the stares from people everywhere we go
-looking at other children her age and what they are doing
-second-guessing how we discipline her
-having two other children who need our attention also

There are countless other things that we don't really discuss. It is just our lives. It is what we have been called to right now. I unapologetic-ally stand on the fact that we believe God has told us that He plans to heal her. Lots of people are uncomfortable with that. I don't know what to tell you. God is God and He does as He pleases. But until He does heal her.....
we must carry on. We must keep placing one foot in front of the other.

I would be lying if I told you that there isn't a bit of sadness that comes with each day. Anyone that has a loved one who is handicapped, disabled, or chronically ill would probably agree. This doesn't mean you don't passionately love that person. You do. You just wish things were different for them.

Anyway, I am getting far away from my point here..............................................................................

When one of our friends called he told Shep about an event that happened to him that in some small way helped him identify with how we must feel everyday and on a much larger scale. His son had his first t-ball game. After several weeks of practice it was game time. 10 of the 12 players took the field. But NOT his boy. His boy sat the bench. The friend and father became upset, angry and sad. Not for himself...but for his boy.


Because he knew that his boy wanted to be out there doing what the other kids were doing but he couldn't. He had been told to sit the bench.

He told us immediately that we came to his mind. Here he was sad that his son could not play during the game. But how would he feel if his son never got to do what the other kids did. What if he was always the one who was left out?

His tender heart and vulnerability led him to pick up the phone and call.

He relayed his story and just wanted to encourage us in our walk.

His message was simple..."I can't imagine what ya'll deal with everyday."

That was it.

Simple and the point.

But oh so powerful!

Someone took notice. Not pity.....but notice.

They were able to appreciate the scope of their situation by looking at someone else's situation.

Couldn't we all do this?

Take a step back, kick judgment to the curb and truly encourage some folks we know.

I have so many people that I admire for various reasons.....their resolve, their passion, their determination, their kindness, their hospitality, their sense of style:-)

Why don't I tell them?

Is it pride?

Does praising the efforts of others make me feel like I lack in certain areas?

Can I not be ok enough with my own deficiencies that I would be willing to learn to imitate others who deal better than I?

I think that the body of Christ would be so much stronger if believers truly used the" iron sharpening iron" method instead of tearing others down to make ourselves feel better.

Proverbs 10:11 "The words of the godly are a life-giving fountain..."

Let's go be some living water to someone today!!!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Spring Break in Blakely

This was our 2nd year to head to south GA for Spring Break.
We rode 4 wheelers, hunted for arrowheads (and found some), made smores, climbed towers, made cane poles and fished, ate way more than usual and had so much fun as a family.
Some of our best friends went with us. We made memories that are sealed in my mind.

These are just a few pictures of my crew having fun in the hot south GA sun!

I must say that seeing my man so happy wearing his camo every single day made me happy too!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


I was doing my devotion this morning as I begged my brain to wake up.

We are on Spring Break this week and it seems like I am lagging behind without the deadlines of a clock and demands of a schedule holding me accountable.

Anyway, the devotional was about knowing God's will for your life. The example was David and the text was 2 Samuel 2:1-4. David has learned that Saul and Jonathon are dead and he has torn his clothes and lamented over his grief.

I was amused over something that I missed in reading this passage before.

"In the course of time, David inquired of the Lord." 2 Sam. 2:1

Does anybody else appreciate that God gives us the gift of time.

He knew that David was grieving the loss of his best friend. But He had a HUGE plan for David. David was to become King.

But David needed time.

I just love that.

I also love that God didn't mind him needing a little time to deal.

There are several situations in my life right now that I don't know exactly how to deal with....
-God giving me the desire to do something entirely new and unexpected (a major curve ball)
-A wayward extended family member openly walking away from God and his family
-Being frustrated with things that haven't happened
-Relationship issues
-Financial stress

This is real life and God expects us to live it with integrity and in accordance with His Word.

I just want to praise Him for His patience and loving kindness for us....because He created us and He knows us better than anyone.

We will inquire of Him...
We will come to Him... the course of TIME!

In time...he can change our hearts
In time...he can help us forgive
In time...he can make us ready
In time...he can give us courage.

Friday, April 1, 2011

The words just came...

I have had good reason lately to cry out to God and ask Him to speak directly to me with a specific word of encouragement.

The enemy of my soul has been beating down my door in a full-scale attack to distract, discourage, and destroy my faith.

Each day that passes and Caroline is not healed gets harder to believe the promise.

Feelings, time, and physical circumstances can all be liars to what God has declared; but tell that to my heart on days when I feel doubt ridden and overcome by fear.

Two days ago I was sitting at Shep's office (I work there part time) and a gentlemen brought in his weekly devotional. It is a photocopied sheet of paper with a devotional and several other encouraging passages of scripture. He does this every single week. I assume he feels led to do this for local businesses. I don't know his name but he never misses a week and always wears a smile.

As he handed me the paper I couldn't wait to peek at the verses. You see I am constantly looking for God to speak. Especially right is like water to a very thirsty soul.

There it was.

2 Tim. 3:14

The verse itself wasn't exactly what spoke to me but there was a word hidden in that verse that might as well have jumped off the page in neon green.

"But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it."

That was it....the word that jumped off the page


Certainly not what I wanted it to be but nevertheless, a word from God Almighty.

As I sat here in my chair....words, or poetry, or maybe even lyrics formed in my head...

These words just came out of what I live each day and what I felt God had to say to me in return...

Lord, what do I do?
Each day is the same...there's nothing new.
These thoughts and doubts stealing joy from me today;
Can't I pray enough to drive them all away?

Your Word stands; Your Word is true.
It speaks and heals; restores and makes me new.
I run in need desperate to hear from you~
What You say is........CONTINUE.

Lord, how do I fight?
This hopelessness is eating me alive.
The enemy taunts and jeers for me to quit;
Taking all the ground I've gained-he won't relent.

Your Word stands; Your Word is true.
It speaks and heals; restores and make me new.
I run in need desperate to hear from you~
What You say is.......CONTINUE.

CONTINUE despite what you see
Keep your eyes fixed on only ME.
CONTINUE with every ache and tear
Bringing yourself so very near
to the only One who urges you to

Your Word stands; Your Word is true.
What You say is........CONTINUE!