Wednesday, August 31, 2011

God's score

The world has such a flair for winning!

When a runner crosses the finish line first....there are cheers and a medal.

When a boxer wins with a knockout....there is a championship belt.

When a politician wins the election...there is party and victory speech.

We love to win.

We love how it feels.

When Shep and I sit and cheer on our Georgia bulldogs...we enjoy the wins even though all we did to contribute was watch and yell!!

Winning feels great! The adrenaline is pumping. You can't help but smile from ear to ear. Somehow current difficulties seem to vanish in light of what has been accomplished. The load feels lighter. The air seems sweeter. The outlook is brighter.

Oddly, or maybe in drastic contrast....God's form of winning doesn't always FEEL like a win.

There may not be an immediate smile.
The difficulties may still weigh heavily.
The load is pressing in.
The air seems stale and stagnant.
The outlook still bleak.

Almost two days have passed since posting my last blog. was a rough time.

(I so appreciate those of you who texted me with words of encouragement. Being my friend can be a rough undertaking. The brave few have lasted. Some of the most self-less people I know.)

Anyway, God has since shown me that I won that day.

Or actually...He won.

Dang! It didn't feel like it. There were no cheers. No victory speeches. No sudden change.

My form of winning didn't look like "a win" at all.

It looked more like standing. I just stood still. I refused to move although I badly wanted to. So I stood. I declared my trust. I declared my hope. Then I fell into bed. Exhausted but victorious still.

I didn't take the posture of former days.

That was the win.

Despite how I felt. Despite how things looked. Despite how dim the future seems in this area....I chose to trust. I did not cover up the real-ness of it. I didn't understate the weight of how things really felt.

I drew near to Him.

I chose to cling.

So the victory was mine.

Angels rejoiced over the progress in this girl's life. My friend, Jesus, lifted my head and held me in the refuge of His arms.

Matthew 10:39 "Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it."

Monday, August 29, 2011

Even here...

(A brief disclaimer before I write...this blog is my place to vent, express, share, and be transparent on my faith walk. I DO NOT have all the answers and I DO NOT have everything together. So...there are times when I just share my heart...the good, the bad, and the super ugly. I realize you may disagree or find offense with what I write but if you choose to comment in an unkind and malicious way...I will delete your comment. My blog= my rules.)

So I wanted to come to this keyboard and pound out a blog entry that exuded fun, happiness, and joy.

Today has been pretty hassle free. I've been productive at Shep's office and at home. We have completed homework and dinner is in the oven. Zeke has napped and the girls have had their baths. I have even done 2 days of my Bible study homework in one sitting. My kids have showered me with hugs and God gently pushed me on my hammock swing outside with the gentle breezes this afternoon.

But, right now...this very moment. My heart aches.

This blog was intended for real-ness. The world (and other Christians) long to see real people dealing with real life in godly ways. Does that mean we won't hurt? Does that mean pain will somehow be slighted for us.


It is holding fast to the anchor when your ache is so strong you can hardly breathe.

It is persevering through the battles that rage in your mind.

It is knowing He is very present in your midst while feeling all alone.

That is what I felt compelled to write about today. I wanted some uplifting encouragement but maybe this is it.

Today when I finished bathing my 9 year old girl. I put 2 things on her that I never thought I would do at the same time....a diaper and deodorant.

The diaper is nothing new. She has to wear them because she is unable to be consistently potty trained. So she has been wearing them every day of her life.

But time passes...her body is changing and she now needs deodorant.

(On a different day I might have gotten tickled at this but today I can barely see the computer screen through my tears...)

Today it hurts...
Today I want to quit believing what He has told me...
Today all I feel are the bad things....
Today it seems like too much to bear....

but the encouragement is.....that HE is right here.

This swirling sea of emotions is raging and my faith wants to drown in my fears... but His voice whispers hope.

The pain is still very real.

The hopelessness wants to take over and send me running to bed with the covers over my head and the shades drawn.

But in order to fully experience the miracle of His hope, His voice, His peace, His power, and His sustaining Presence~ then I must fully experience hurt.

Without the hurt of this life....I wouldn't want Him.

So~I don't know what your "hurt" is? Today my hurt is "diapers and deodorant". Tomorrow it could be something totally different and unexpected.

But I rest in knowing that He will meet me there too.

Psalm 66:20 "Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me."

Friday, August 26, 2011

Way Over Due...

He has never once tried to climb out of his crib.

It is like his little nest. He loves it. Do you see all the toys that he keeps in it?

Cars, footballs (several sizes), a basketball, fake snakes, toy alligators, bears, and match box cars all keep him company...not to mention his favorite blankets and his pillow pet.
This past week we finally set up his big boy bed.

He was not happy about it at first....but we built excitement around the house and he soon caught on.

He did great. Ava even coached him on how different it would feel and she assured him that should fear seep in...she was just a room away.

He seemed so big in his crib and now so small in his bed....

I know now why my mom used to look into my eyes and say, "Please don't grow up. Please don't get big."

I just want to stop Caroline, Ava, and Zeke at their exact ages of 9,6, and 3 and freeze time.

The phrases and words that they say are just priceless right now.

This past week Ava and I were riding in the car and talking about her day. She told me that her teacher was gonna be out and she would have a "stubtatute".

I absolutely did not correct her.

First of all~ it was precious.
Second of all~ she will correct it on her own soon enough.

Shep and I also get a kick out of Zeke's new-found reasoning skills.

He will do something he shouldn't hit Ava.

I will say, "Zeke, do not hit your sister."

And Zeke will respond with, "but I did."

So what do you do with that?!?

Again...too cute.

Here's to no more cribs in the Helton house!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Making the time or missing it...

Today was a tough day.

There are more reasons than I want to go into but when I finally got home I felt numb.

Things seemed hard all over the place.

I had left things undone.

There were lots of things left to do.

Words I said seemed to get me nowhere and feelings I felt could not be trusted.

In my soul, the inner place where His voice speaks, I felt drawn.

"Go pray."

Ok~ so I need to vacuum and dust.

"Go into your closet and pray."

I need to call my mom and check on her.

"Go meet with Me in prayer."

I've got to help the girls with their homework, then do laundry, and check my e-mail.

"Go now. Pray."

I don't want to pray. I feel rotten and I don't want to rehash it all.

"My yoke is easy and My burden is light. You are more than a conqueror through Me. Run to Me now. Tell me all of it. Let me take it from you."

So I did.

I went into my closet.

Caroline watched as her mommy knelt face down and made the time to obey the Maker of her Soul. I almost missed it.

He met me there.

It was only a 4 minute detour to my day. The clothes, homework, vacuuming and dusting were delayed just briefly but it was better than any power nap I've taken. I left the burdens on the floor. I stood reminded of His grace, power and love pouring over me. My steps were lighter and a smile even hinted at my lips. Funny, though...nothing had really changed except perspective.

Oh God help me to make the time. So many days I miss it. What you have available to Your children is right there but it has to be taken or it may be missed. Let it not be so!!! I need You Lord!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Got Me Thinking.....

A quote from "Why Revival Tarries" by Leonard Ravenhill

"Poverty-stricken as the Church is today in many things, she is most stricken here, in the place of prayer. We have many organizers, but few agonizers; many players and payers, few pray-ers; many singers, few clingers; lots of pastors, few wrestlers; many fears, few tears; much fashion, little passion; many interferers, few intercessors; many writers, but few fighters. Failing here, we fail everywhere."

As someone who is desperate to see God bring revival to His Church, I can look at this quote and find myself in the not-so-desired category.

It has got me thinking......and praying.

Anyone else????

Friday, August 19, 2011

My Banana Break

This morning I arrived at the hospital at 7:30 am to relieve my dad. My mom had surgery yesterday. It went really well but she is expected to be in the hospital for a few days. Dad needed to go home, shower, and tend to a few things... so it was my shift.

I was happy to do it. My mom is one of my best friends.

I want desperately to help in any way possible and sometimes that is done best by just being there.

She slept most of the morning (good sleep) and she roused a few times. I was glad to see her smile when she saw my face.

I relished the quiet time in the Word and in prayer. There was nothing stirring except the occasional snore.:)

One of my best friends came by to sit with me and pass the time (sweet friend, huh?). We enjoyed our time visiting a getting tickled at my mom who randomly said off-the-wall things. (At one point the nurse asked for her name....and she said that it was "Mildred". I thought I would die trying to hold in my laughter....her name is "Nancy". Oh, the power of pain killers!:)

At one point I asked my friend if I could slip out and eat my banana in the waiting room. I didn't want my mom to wake and see or smell my food. That would be torture because she is not allowed any food yet. My friend told me to go so I slipped out.

I ambled around in the waiting room eating my banana and drinking my water. There was no one else in the room except an older gentlemen getting a coke from the machine. As he passed by me, he deliberately stopped and said, "You got somebody sick in here?"

I said, "Yes sir, my mom had surgery."

He said, "I am so sorry. I have been here since the 13th of June with my wife but she is going to rehab today."

I could tell he was really happy about this so I said, "Well, praise the Lord!"

Then I went on and asked, "What was wrong with her."

He tuned up to cry and told me that she had come in with pneumonia and then had lots of other issues due to medication woes.

I asked for her name and told her I would pray for her.

With tears bright in his eyes, he thanked me and told me he would be praying for my mom too.

I was finished with my banana but God wasn't finished speaking to my heart.

I continued ambling around the room and thought about all the ways that God's house is like a hospital. It is a place for healing and rest. It is a place to remove what destroys and kills the body. It is a place where people should be able to stop one another deliberately and tell their personal stories of sadness, perseverance, and triumph. It should be a place where grace is offered so freely because we all have our own stuff to deal with. Tears should be welcomed and encouragement spoken. At hospitals everyone seems to walk around with their heart on their sleeve. At church most folks walk around with a chip on their shoulder. Lord, help us! Lord, heal us!

Thank you Lord for using that sweet man to talk to my heart. I pray for he and his wife and they begin their journey toward going home. Thank you for his kindness and interest in me. Bless them Father in Jesus name.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The other part of me...

When I married my guy 13 years ago he became just that...the other part of me.

His birthday is I wanted to show a few pictures that show Shep in ways I see him everyday.

These pictures illustrate some of his awesome attributes...I figured since it was August in Georgia we could use some snow to cool us off.

He is bold and daring.

He is kind and gentle.

He's a thinker and a dare-devil.

He is super silly and loves to make people laugh.

He is stature and in spirit. Every day I have watched him throw our big girl up onto his shoulder to carry her.

He loves his Lord. I love that he gets teary eyed teaching Sunday school.

He adores his family.
He is crazy about his friends.

He always thinks the best of others.
He is wise.
He is an amazing story-teller.
He writes with ease and eloquence.
He has a hearty laugh.

He draws people (including me) to himself because he is simply a pleasure to know and enjoy.

Happy birthday good-looking man of mine. I pray for God's favor and blessing on your life in the upcoming year!!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

How Things Change...

Zeke used to be content just to look at Pop's cows from a distance...that was then and this is now.
Now he wants to get up close and touch them.

Last summer Ava was still sporting her floaties in the she is jumping in the deep end and taking diving tips from her mom.

Look at her doing her back flips under the water! I love that we can do them together now!!

And Caroline...maybe it is just me...but her face is changing. She looks grown up all of a sudden.

I was encouraged in God's Word this morning that He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

I need to know that. I cling to that.

His same-ness brings me unmeasured security in a world that never stops changing.

God thank you for this season in our lives. Help me to not just live these days but to enjoy them. I love seeing how my kids have grown and matured but at the same time I see that as time that has flown by...too quickly. Thank You for Zeke's recovery from surgery. Thank you for special times together as a family. Thank you for Your continued provision. Help us to grow closer as a family but even closer as Your children.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

4 Letter Words

I can mention the idea of 4 letter words and you have already had some of them come to mind.

These are the words that we are taught NOT to say.
At my house growing up I would have received a punishment of soap on the tongue or a spanking on my rear end if I had uttered them.

I battle with a couple of 4 letter words every moment, every hour, of every single day.

These are a different kind of 4 letter word....but no less powerful or potent.

Standing on their one seems to mind them. No one seems bothered or uncomfortable when they are used. No one gasps or blushes.

But what I am finding is that after 9 years of standing by what God has faithfully told me (and Shep) over and over.....others become increasingly bothered and uncomfortable with my 4 letter words.

These words define me.
They define my faith.
They define my God.

I say them constantly. I pray them even more.

Some days these words are the food I eat and the breath I breathe.

Other than a handful of people who staunchly support what God has told us.....our support comes from the word of God.

His Word stands on its own.

It is full of stories of ordinary people who were asked to HOPE and WAIT.

There they 4 letter words.

I hope.

I wait.

I know it seems unbelievable, far-fetched, impossible, ridiculous, preposterous, and beyond comprehension to believe that my very disabled daughter will be healed....totally.

But, I have to pause.

Because my God is nothing if not unbelievable, far-fetched, impossible, ridiculous, preposterous, and beyond all comprehension.

I mean what was HE thinking when HE came to this Earth and conquered death?

Surely as His follower I wouldn't be asked to believe that HE might still want to raise the dead, open blind eyes, unlock deaf ears, make the lame walk, clear disturbed minds, and restore life to those who have given up hope?

All that is crazy, right?

John 14: 11-12 "Believe me when I say I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father."

No-----that is crazy. The Word of God says we who believe can and will be equipped to do what our Lord did and even greater things.

Will you wait? I am on day 3 thousand 3 hundred and 45.

Will you hope? Just like Abraham....Against all hope Abraham in hope believed...

Let's get crazy!!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Mastering life

It is Monday and the beginning of a new week. We are beginning to fall into our new routine with the girls. They are both loving school, their new teachers, and seeing their friends.

Zeke is still recovering well from his surgery. This week the scabs will finish their healing and begin to come off. Yuck. That will be our next hurdle but so good.

Yesterday morning my devotion was rich in substance. Not that they all aren't good but sometimes the devotion almost makes you catch your breath because you so desperately needed to hear the message. That was me. I wanted to share it....

"Understanding will never bring you Peace. That's why I have instructed you to trust in Me, not in your understanding. Human beings have a voracious appetite for trying to figure things out, in order to gain a sense of mastery over their lives. But the world presents you with an endless series of problems. As soon as you master one set, another pops up to challenge you. The relief you had anticipated is short-lived. Soon your mind is gearing up again: searching for understanding (mastery), instead of seeking Me (your Master).

From "Jesus Calling" by Sarah Young

Everyone I know wants to understand their life.....including me. We want to know the whys, whats, and when of each bump in the road. But the understanding of those things will never bring us peace. That is a lie we buy into from our enemy. He gets our focus off of trusting our Master and onto mastering our lives. Then we become the most important thing and we begin down the road to idolatry and pride and who knows where else.

Isaiah 26:3-4 "You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You. All whose thoughts are fixed on You. Trust in the Lord always for the Lord God is the eternal rock."

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Rough Day; Rockin' God

Our day started in the Helton house around 2:30 am to the sound of crashing thunder and lightening that lit up our entire house.
This storm lasted for quite some time. Caroline woke up and that woke Ava up and then we were up.

Our power went out shortly after that.

I tried to drift back off to sleep but my efforts were fruitless. Ava and Shep were able to doze a little bit but Caroline never really went back to sleep after that point.

Now this was the day that Shep and I had to get up early and be at the surgical center by 7:00 am for Zeke's tonsils and adenoid procedure. As I lay there (mad to not be asleep and mad that the power had not come back on) I began to think about how all of this was not going according to my plan.

Ms. Linda was supposed to come over early and let us leave with Zeke. Then she was going to get the girls dressed and take them to school.

There was still no power at 5 am. So~ we opted for Plan B. Shep stayed here to get the girls dressed and off to school and Linda rode with me to the surgical center.

I was exhausted. Zeke was irritable because he could not have anything to eat or drink. We made it through heavy Atlanta traffic to the hour long ride and when we finally arrived I spilled my coke inside my bag.


As we made our way upstairs and began the process of checking in I finally felt myself begin to receive the mercies that God had waiting on me.

I began to choose thankfulness and tried to pray for others that I knew of that had hard things going on today.

The next 3 hours went really well. Other than trying to keep Ms. Linda from crying over poor Zeke in recovery, we held it together pretty well.

Once we got home I took some pictures to show how well Zeke was managing. The first pictures are of him playing in his holding room before surgery. The last two are shortly after coming home.

He is doing great! He is eating and drinking.....and crying and whining but that is to be expected!

Now....that is the ROUGH part of my day (oh yea, and I ripped a huge chunk out of my big toenail.)

But now for the ROCKIN GOD part.

Today we learned of a dear brother in Christ who was declared cancer-free!
Today we learned that we had already met our deductible and didn't have to come out of pocket thousands of dollars for Zeke's surgery.
Today we received awesome news on an issue that we have been praying about for over a year! It was an "against all odds" situation and God hugely blessed!!!!

Today (with its power outage; ripped toe-nail, sleep loss, spilled coke, and surgery) was a day that God had given us and we had to live it out. He knew that I would end this day with rejoicing even though I began the day with agitation. He is patient with us. He is so good.

My toe-nail hurts, my bag is sticky from coke, my eyes and body ache from lack of sleep, Caroline is ill from being up most of the night, and Zeke is kind of pitiful but I want to thank God for giving me this day. The ups and downs reveal who we really are....and He still surprises us just for the fun of it!

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." Romans 12:12