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The story of Dr. G- one of God’s lights in a dark world

We have seen so much darkness take place over the past several weeks.  Darkness that is so thick and cold it just chills you right to the bone.

But today, I want to introduce you to someone who is a light to those around him.  He is a beloved doctor in my city because he is not only great at what he does, but he takes such time and care with each patient who comes to him.  Two of those patients are my kids.

My 7 year old son has had a tough year.  We have been down several roads as we have tried to figure out what is causing some attention and mild sensory integration issues that mainly affect the  completing of school work….work that he is very capable of doing, but just can’t seem to consistently stay focused on.

On the flip side, part of Max’s heightened senses- there is a gift and it involves music.  He can hear 10 decibals better than the average person, and he has a natural inclination towards instruments that he considers wonderful or rhythmic.  Starting at the age of 2, he would pull items from the pantry and cupboards to create drum sets.  I’m not just talking about banging on some pans–I mean putting certain items together to create particular sounds.  He would also strum anything he could- whether it be the vents in the house, the refrigerator grate or an actual guitar.  He will tell you what instruments he loves and which one he doesn’t based not on how cool they are, but what sound they make.  He tells me the cello makes a sound that is “wonderful to his ears”.  He tell me the oboe makes his ears want to die…..(sorry oboe players, I guess everyone has their own taste:) He can’t wait until he is in the 5th grade so he can play the tenor saxophone and in 10th he wants to play the bassoon.  But right now, he is all about the drums….and it was number one on his Christmas list.

Last week we went to see Dr. G. for Max to be allergy tested.  It was not a fun trip for Max since he is allergic to almost everything they tested for (over 40 things).

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BUT, Dr. G. made it fun.  Dr. G also happens to be a professional drummer.  We found this out when he asked Max what he wanted for Christmas and he told him a drum set.

That appointment was on Thursday.  On Sunday, everyone in our family received a little gift from someone at church….except Max.  He asked me “mommy, why did everyone in the family get a present today except me?”  He wasn’t upset so much about the present, but that he didn’t feel special. It broke my heart that he felt hurt.

Fast forward to first thing Monday morning when I got a phone call from Dr. G. saying “can you come by the office today? I have something I’d like to give Max”.  I said sure, I can do that (thinking he was going to tell me about an allergy sample or a new inhaler to try out).  Next he tells me “I have a vintage snare drum in my collection and I want Max to have it”.  Oh. my. word.  I was brought to tears by the timing and thoughtfulness of this WONDERFUL gift. And literally RIGHT after he got off the phone with him, I was on my front porch and found this note, folded up tiny on the windowsill:

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You should also know that Dr. G. has an artificial heart right now.  He has been on the list for a heart transplant for a while now, and they have just upgraded him to high priority.  So my kids and I have been praying for him to receive his new heart soon.

I am so thankful that God knows just when something is needed and that there are still people like Dr. G in this world who are lights to those around him……no matter what they are going through themselves!  I am blessed, honored, and eternally thankful.  He may not have known why God had prompted him to do this kind act, but we do.  The gift is wonderful, and Max is very proud of it, taking care of it, and enjoying it ALL the time, but more importantly, he made a 7 year old boy who has had a tough year and wasn’t feeling particularly special, feel EXTRA special. And his kindness also touched the hearts of our entire extended family.  And who knows what his investment in a little boy’s love of music will reap for the Kingdom in the future!

God is the source of light.  If he prompts you to do something, do it.  You never know how it might make a difference for someone….and the ripple effect goes on and on!

Thank you Dr. G for being a light to us and so many others in the community!  I am asking all of my readers to please join me in praying for the perfect heart to come to him, and that his body will receive it with great joy and without complication.  Pray also that God holds him up in body and spirit as he waits.  Pray also for his family.

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Pitfall

I grew up in the day when the video game set Atari came out.  It was a really big deal when my parents made a special trip to Gold Circle  early in the morning to get in line  to get an Atari for us.  We all had different games that were our favs- my brother and sister loved Pac-man, my mom loved Frogger, my dad loved Space Invaders, and I loved Pitfall.

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This little guy traveled through many hazards of the jungle trying to collect treasures of silver and gold bars.  He encountered rattlesnakes, alligators, scorpions, and quicksand in his quest.  Sometimes as he was running along he would fall into a pit (or climb into it).  That’s where the scorpion roamed and sometimes you were trapped between a brick wall and that little guy with a deadly stinger.  I can still remember the sound it made when he fell into that pit.

Have you ever been in a pit?  Felt like you were just journeying a long in life and then bam, Pitfall!  I’m talking about depression here.  That deep hole you don’t want to be in, but have trouble finding your way out of.  We all face it to some degree at some point in our life.  You may be there now, or you may have recently found the ladder and climbed out.  You may be halfway down that ladder and trying to avoid going the rest of the way in!  So let’s talk about just a few things we can do when we find ourselves in or near a Pitfall.

Number 1:  Yell for help!  Do not wait silently in the pit!  Call out to The Lord and call out to a friend!  Depression tends to cycle in and out for many people, but if it is severe, debilitating, or seems to be staying for the long haul, please tell a doctor. You do not have to be a rock all the time, and more than likely, your friends knows that pit well and can support you by letting you know you are not alone and praying for you.  It can be freeing just to say it out loud to someone- removing the isolation- and the power of the enemy to whisper stinging lies!

Number 2:  Take inventory of your physical, spiritual, emotional, and relational bank accounts.  I did this recently myself.  There are things that make deposits into these areas of our lives and things that make withdrawals.  Take a look at what deposits need to be made into your life daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly to keep your account from completely depleting. Withdrawals come and they are part of life- that’s why we must make a conscious effort to make deposits, and limit any unnecessary withdrawals!  Tip:  Sometimes we do things in an attempt to make deposits that are actually making withdrawals.  Be aware of what these things are for you!  You will know them b/c they only provide a momentary relief.

Number 3:  Ask God to fight for you.  You may be feeling weak and vulnerable.  Let this verse encourage you today:

“If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter.  He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our our wordless sighs, our aching groans.  He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God.  That’ why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.”  Romans 8:26-28 The Message

The “pregnant condition” refers to the difficult times of pain we see throughout creation and experience as people as we await what comes next for us.  They are birth pains that are around us and within us.  We are yearning for deliverance!  So what do we do?

Number 4: Shift your focus from self to God and what He can do (even when you can’t feel it).  Trust comes alive!

“Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life.  Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them–living and breathing God!  Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life.  Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God.  Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores god, ends up thinking more about self than God.  That person ignores who God is and what He is doing.”  Romans 8:5-8 The Message

Number 5:  Wait.  You won’t be here forever.  It’s a difficult season, and the light may seem far away or nonexistent.  But,

“If we go through the hard times with Him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with Him!” Romans 8: 17 The Message

Good times are coming, and you will look back and see that your faithful friend was there all along:)  This I know!

What things do you do that make deposits into your accounts?  What encouragement would you offer to someone who is in the pit today?

Jesus Goes to Middle School Too!

This is my sweet 10 year old daughter.

This morning I went to tour the middle school we are hoping to send her to next year.  Yes, in our city you “apply” to middle school, and certain middle schools feed into certain high school, so you have to really be thinking ahead ….and it is as big of a decision as college!  Looking around that building, my heart just sank.  It’s so BIG for my little girl.  It’s twice the size of her elementary.  Oh how I wish 6th graders were still elementary students:(  Anyways, throughout the tour I had a lump in my throat and was choking back tears that my little girl is growing up.  I did my best not to let it show;  it isn’t kindgergarten where that is acceptable.  But I do feel like I just sent her off to kindergarten with her cute little blonde pigtails and backpack as big as her.

Today was a rare day where I was completely childless for the whole school day.  My 4 year old went with her daddy for the day and my other 2 were at school.  So, with the day at my disposal following my tour of the middle school, I made a little trip to Target and Hobby Lobby and had a quiet lunch ALL BY MYSELF at Panera.  I began writing out my prayer for Chloe and this middle school decision and as I did, God reminded me of these very important things:

* Though the school looked too big for my little girl, God is greater, and Chloe is His girl.  He’s got her!

* Jamey and I are not parenting her or our other 2 children all by ourselves.  The Holy Spirit will speak to her guide her , and be with her everywhere she goes….something we cannot do.  Though we are constantly seeking Him and striving to do the best we can to raise her well, It’s not solely dependent on us, so we shouldn’t treat it like it is!  And single parents- I can’t imagine how alone you feel at times, but you are not!  I believe your kids have a special place in God’s heart and He will help you parent them!

* Our job as parents is to train them up, and  let them go.  I am thankful we get to do this a little tiny bit at a time…..the day they start pre-school or kindergarten, middle school, high school, college, get a driver’s license, and other big and small moments in between.  BUT, we are not just sending them off into the world, to friends, or to school alone-we are sending them off with God- the One Who made every cell in their bodies, knows what they need, and loves them so much.  And we can trust Him to care for them….and to carry us through!  Yes, Jesus goes to Middle School too!

* Though as she gets older, the voices of her friends and others may become louder,  the voice of the parent is still the greatest authority in a child’s life because God has given us that authority.  They long for it, even if they roll their eyes, and they cry out for it if it is absent. We can pray for God to lead us in truth, and then pass that truth on to our kids.

Then, God led me to pray these verses over my girl:

“I pray that from His glorious unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit.  Then Christ will make His home in your heart as you trust in Him.  Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.  And may you have the power to understand as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is.  May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully.  Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God”.  ~Ephesians 3:16-19

“And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow Him.  Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your life be built on Him.  Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught and you will overflow with thankfulness”.  ~Colossians 2:6-7

Notice the common denominators in these verses?  Strong roots…….in Christ…….in truth……in faith……in His love……..on which to build our lives.

Thank You Lord that we don’t have to parent alone!

Meek Came House

This is my brother, Jamie.

Don’t let the uniform, car, and serious look fool you.  He was an absolute crack-up….and I know he is still a goofball in heaven.  I’m sure he is running around making people laugh and smile right now.  See what I mean???

Today is his birthday.  He would have been 46 years old, but he died of cancer in April, 2009.  So today, I am doing some “Jamie” things to celebrate his life.  Right now his veggie soup recipe is rockin’ in the crock pot.  The homemade bread he loved is ready to bake and so are the brownies.  I’m going to spend some time outside on this beautiful fall day, and I’ll probably end the night with some ridiculous scary “B” movie, because those are usually the ones he liked:)  But until the evening comes, I’m going to play a little game, and if you are on my facebook page, you can play along.

My family loves to play games, and Jamie always laughed the loudest of anyone.  Several years ago, he introduced me to the game “Mad Gab”.  In case you aren’t familiar with it, here’s how you play.  Read the title of this blog entry again.  Out loud.  Repeat it aloud until you hear yourself saying something else.  If you’re still having trouble, have someone else read it aloud. Sometimes you can hear it better when someone else is saying it.

While we were playing this game as a family for the first time, my mom must have read those words 25 times before she “heard” what she was actually saying and my brother kept mocking  her (as he loved to do) and laughing so loud.  It’s a great memory to me.  So today, maybe we can all laugh a little  in between the tears.  I’ll be posting more puzzles like this throughout the day.

Happy Birthday Jamie.  Thanks for all the laughs.

P.S.  Someone please post the answer to this blog title when you figure it out:)

Unleash!

Over the past week I have been reading the book “Unleash” by Perry Noble.  My husband has been to a couple of conferences at Perry’s church in Anderson, SC (Newspring Church), and he introduced me to his podcasts. …Awesome!  He is a church planter and I think he might be my husband’s long lost twin!

“Unleash” is about overcoming the barriers that keep us from living a life that is full and abundant….the sort of life we want to live, but for one reason or another, we are held back, living a life that is filled with complacency, predictability, and mundane.  My favorite kind of reading is the kind that entertains and teaches me simultaneously and Perry’s book most definitely does that!  There are parts where I laughed so hard and had to go tell my husband the story immediately, and he also cracked up. There are other parts that resonated so deeply with me that I teared up.   I am not going to tell you those stories, b/c I don’t want to give away too much, but I am going to tell you some of my favorite lines and parts of “Unleash”

So you can follow along more clearly, I will place the text from the book in green letters.  My words will remain in black.

*”Paul went on to accomplish amazing things for God–including writing most of the books of the New Testament–and it all began when Jesus met him exactly where he was.  Paul responded by asking the question all of us should ask: “Who are you, Lord?”  That is essential, because we will never do what He wants us to do until we understand who He is.”  

I have found this to be true in my own life.  After my brother died of cancer despite our desperate and fervent belief and prayers for an earthly healing, this is the very question I asked myself.  More than “why God?”  I asked “Who are you really?”  Discovering Who He is over that next year (and still today), is what heals my broken heart and strengthens the faith the enemy tries to steal.

*”All of us face situations that tempt us to lose heart.  But we don’t have to give up!…..Anyone who has ever accomplished anything great in life has had to endure a significant amount of pain in order to get to where God wants them to be.  

Lots of things can make us feel tempted to give up; pain, abuse, illness, job loss, death, relational turmoil, financial distress, straying children; you fill in the blank……I know I have been tempted to give up at times.  I have thought “let’s just walk away…get a job with less pressure, one where you can clock in and out and put it in a nice neat little shift.  But you know what?  That would not be satisfying and it would kill me inside to take the easy way out!  Don’t give up, God never gives up on us!

*Disobedience:  “If you’re a parent, let’s say you walk into your house and ask your child to clean his room and instead he simply looks at you and gives you the {middle} finger.  No good parent would tolerate that type of behavior….You may not realize it, but this is what we do sometimes in our relationship with God.  When God has clearly spoken to us about our next step and we tell Him no, we’re essentially extending our middle finger toward heaven.”  

OUCH!  It is funny, but also painful to look at it this way!  How many times have I done this?  Oh I am thankful for a grace giving God.  I don’t want my own disobedience to keep me from a life unleashed!

*We Can’t Do Life Alone: ” I’ve never met anyone who told me, “Hey, Perry, I really want to go further and further away from God and backslide in my walk with Him.  I hope to make a really bad decision followed by a  series of more bad decision that eventually lead to sorrow, pain and regret.”  Even so, I’ve seen it happen many times. As human beings, our tendency is to drift away from Christ rather than to walk more closely with Him.  If we’re not intentional about seeking out the help of others, that’s precisely what’s going to happen.”

This is truth folks!  When I went through my brother’s illness and death, it was the body of Christ who rallied around me and my family.  The church family in which I grew up encircled my brother and family with prayer, support, and love that truly showed the beauty of Christ.  These pictures show that they did so literally as they prayed around Jamie’s house as he lay sick inside on a cold, drizzling day in January 2009.  It’s a day I will never forget.

And when I had to leave my family and come back to my home and responsibilities in Kentucky after Jamie’s death, it was my dear group of friends in my church who sat with me, cried with me, loved on me, took me out for some laughs, and listened to my never-ending list of emotions and questions.

That’s the beautiful bride of Christ in action.  “Churches aren’t perfect because they are filled with imperfect people.” I’m glad they aren’t perfect, b/c neither am I. I don’t know where I’d be without them.

*Procrastination: “When you know what God wants for your life, go for it!  Don’t hesitate! Don’t put it off until you’re older or wiser or have more resources.”

This one hit me square between the eyes.  I have a book in my heart.  It has been simmering there since August 2010.  I have started, it , stopped, and started over about 5,000 times.   Perry hit my excuse dead on- I was seriously thinking I should wait until I am older and wiser.  But, I’m not promised another day, much less that I’ll get any wiser-haha!!  Time to Unleash!

If you are a Christ follower, I recommend this book to you, no matter how far into your journey you are.  We all face situations and barriers that keep us from following Christ fully and this book encourages and equips us along the way.

I also recommend this book if you are not a Christ follower.  You also face situations that keep you from God.  We have more in common than you think.  Perry doesn’t speak from an ivory tower that prohibits him from seeing and understanding where people really live.  He has been through so many things in his own life which he shares candidly and bravely.  Take a chance on investigating Who Jesus really is and what He really wants for your life.  He meets us where we are!

And look forward to hearing some hilarious stories on the way.  Don’t miss out on hearing about:

– Perry’s 6th grade gym class disaster-HYSTERICAL

-snow snakes

-the grocery store lady

-and the little old lady and the treadmill:) ALSO HYSTERICAL

For more information or to order, click “here”. or go to Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble.

“It is impossible to follow Christ and stay the same”

“There is a big difference between attending church and following God”.

“Our first step away from God is usually our first step away from the people of God”.

Lord Help Me Remember

I am greatly aware that I am not a poet, but this came to me as I sat outside this afternoon.  Because I am not a poet, and was not looking for anything to write, I thought perhaps it was meant for someone out in bloggy world to read.  Please forgive that I rhyme like a 5 year old:)

Lord Help Me Remember

Lord help me remember You

Every moment, every day

In all I do

and all I say

Help me remember

your gentle peace

whether stormy skies

or gentle breeze

Help me remember

your powerful hand

whether rocky valley

or beachy sand

Lord, help me remember

You’re in control

on sleepless nights

You hold my soul

Help me remember

Your love and grace

when darkness tries

to take its place

Help me remember

to take your hand

when I am lonely

in this foreign land

Lord, help me remember

the hope you bring

to every one

and every thing

Help me remember

all I have is yours

my life is an offering

I pray You’ll pour

Lord help me remember

it’s not about me

though my flesh forgets

my heart does see

Lord help me remember

that I am yours

no other can have me

I’m safe and secure

Lord help me remember

with all I meet

to share your love

for we all seek

Help me remember

we all have a story

a place we’ve been

that can bring you glory

Lord help me remember

my time here is short

There’s no time to worry

with things you’ll abort

So help me remember

to hear you today

to follow you closely

and trust in Your way.

“What’s Next Papa?”

My husband is the Pastor of Lifepointe church here in Louisville, KY.  I am not just saying this because he is my husband or because he is promising me a new wardrobe to blog about him (haha j/k), but he is my very favorite preacher in the world.  I have heard some incredible speakers from all over the world, but I get to hear my favorite speaker every single Sunday morning.  He is so funny, so transparent, and so knowledgeable about the scriptures; yet those aren’t the only or main reasons I love to hear him preach.  So what is it that I love so much?  It’s real.  He isn’t up there spouting about things he doesn’t live or becoming one person on the stage and another in our home….It’s so real.  What he speaks, he speaks with conviction because he lives it.  He lives it because he loves Jesus and he follows Him.  Not perfectly- so don’t put those expectations on him, but sincerely.  I often walk away thinking “that’s one of my favorite messages ever”, but he spoke one this summer that I have kept in my heart in a special way.  God has written it there, and so I want to pass it on to you.  The message was about confession….a topic that makes many want to run out the door.  But not this message!  Jamey shared so much better than I can do justice on a blog, so I have included a link for you to hear it below, but I will give you a few highlights:

Many people run from Christ because they don’t want to feel the weight, shame, or burden of their sins and mistakes.  But the truth is, Christ created confession to REMOVE our guilt, shame, and burden of sin, not to pile it on!  He came to FREE us so we no longer bear that weight. He took it on the cross…..all we have to do is turn to Him and confess- which means AGREE with Him that we have done wrong and we need Him.

One of my main goals as a parent, is to teach our kids to run TO Jesus when they have done wrong, not away from Him.  Many who have grown up in church even run from Him, thinking they need to hide as Adam and Eve did in the garden.  But true freedom comes in turning to Him, asking His forgiveness, and then basking in His unending mercy.

I have read this passage over and over this week from my Message Bible:

“If the alive and present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, He’ll do the same thing in you  that He did in Jesus, bringing you alive to Himself.  When God lives and breathes in you (and He does as surely as He did in Jesus, you are delivered from that dead life.  With His spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ’s!…..

God’s Spirit beckons.  There are things to do and places to go!  This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life.  It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next Papa?”  God’s spirit touches our spirit and confirms who we really are”.  ~Romans 8:11-15

Don’t let fear of confession stand in the way of your freedom and adventure.  The other morning I was singing some silly songs and praying (yes simultaneously and it will make a little more sense when I tell the full story, though you will think I am nuts)- as I was overcoming some discouragement that had tried to seep it’s way into my spirit.  All of a sudden God brought to my mind the verses about those Christ followers who have gone before us cheering us on.  I could just see my brother Jamie’s giant smile in heaven telling me “hang on sis, it’s going to be so worth it!”  Sweet, beautiful Jesus.

Whatever you are facing, good or bad, turn to Him today.  Let go of the sin, let go of the burden, and enjoy your new life.  THEN, greet God with “What’s next Papa?”  Gods Spirit beckons…there are things to do and places to go!

Click here to listen to Jamey’s message on our podcast.  It is dated 7-15-12 and titled “Skillz: Confession”.