It Is Well: How God is Teaching Me About His Glory Through My Son

It is Well My family and I have been going through a very scary time with my youngest son. He has had some medical symptoms that have seemed to get worse. We were told a year ago he needed rest and hydration when he would wake up so weak he could barely lift a cup or spoon. The “spells” would only last a day or so and then he would go months without another. In between these times he has had headaches and dizziness but these too have been sporadic.

His most recent spell was just over a month ago. The pediatrician did a full blood panel workup. All of his tests came back normal so she referred him to a neurologist, who ordered an MRI. The next thing I know, I get a call that my 10 year old is being referred to a pediatric neurosurgeon for evaluation of possible brain surgery. The diagnosis is chiari malformation I. Here is a link with info about this abnormality to save you the trouble of googling it: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/chiari/detail_chiari.htm . He saw the neurosurgeon this past week and I will get to that later in this post.

The myriad of emotions that we all experienced during the days of waiting for that appointment are nearly indescribable. My little guy was actually relieved that there was an explanation for the way he had been feeling. For me, I was terrified of what he might have to endure and so unbelievably grateful that it was found early all at the same time! I posted, shared, text, and emailed asking; begging for prayer for my son! God created my son and my prayers was that He would press His divine knowledge into that surgeon to know what was best for him.

Everyone kept saying “I’ll be praying for him and your family”. Every time I heard that reply I would nod gratefully or post thank yous and please dos, seemingly calm but inside I was screaming! YES PRAY PRAY PRAY FOR MY SON! Don’t just say it because it is a challenging difficult time for us and you don’t know what to say. This is my son; this is my baby. This is something that has no cure. This is something he will have to live with; an invisible illness that to the outside world may seem completely made up. This is an absolute significant diagnosis that breaks my heart for him! So please please please do not carelessly fling out the most overused religious phrase known today “I’ll be praying for him” THIS IS MY LIFE, THIS IS MY SON AND I’M BEGGING YOU TO MEAN IT! PRAY WITHOUT CEASING!

During this time I would go to work and alternate between inward anxious thought spirals and outward quiet tears. I love the fact that I can listen to music while working. I would play songs of comfort and one song kept showing up in my mind, in my heart, and deeply in my spirit…. “It Is Well With My Soul” by Horatio Spafford. (The story behind this song is astounding.) The words began to minister to me. I added a new prayer to my initial prayerful cries to God for my son. I began praying that I would bring glory to Him even during this overwhelming, frightening experience, praying that even my fear would still bring Him glory. I Corinthians 10:31 “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

It is Well

It started to have an effect on me. I began to feel more at peace in the midst of fear and calm in the midst of confusion as I slowly began to accept whatever we would face with this deeply heartfelt knowledge that God really loved my sweet boy and no matter what it would be okay.

Wednesday came and I found myself staring into the kind, wise eyes of the surgeon. He said that surgery is to only restore cerebral flow if it is impeded by this condition. Based on the MRI, there seemed to be enough space for cerebral flow and surgery most likely will not be needed at this time. He ordered a spinal MRI and flow studies to be done next week to confirm this. This is so incredibly reassuring and solidifies that those prayers from all of us have already begun to work in my son. And I will say this without any hesitation what so ever and scream it: TO GOD BE THE GLORY! And yes please please please keep those prayers coming!

Soulmates and Soda Cans

Song of Solomon 3:4a “Scarcely had I left them when I found him whom my soul loves; I held on to him and would not let him go.”

The other day, I came home from work unusually stressed and tired. Trying to scramble to get dinner ready and snapping at my husband who was trying to help me as he often does. As I was getting the plates and silverware, my husband gingerly came up to me holding a can of soda. I looked up and it was one of the new “share a Coke” cans and on the side it had the word “Soulmate”. Eagerly he said, “I want to share this with you over dinner.” Immediately I felt all the tension of the day leave my spirit. Isn’t it amazing how one act, one word can change everything?

I was convicted as I lovingly rinsed out that soda can and placed it among my special treasures. How often does my husband get the back seat in our life or after our children for that matter? How often does he get my leftovers? I would never treat others, such as my boss with disrespect. I know the answer is because at home, I am most comfortable. I feel safe among my precious loved ones enough to let my guard down. But does that make it more excusable?

I have also become disgusted with how mass media tends to portray husbands as stupid, bumbling idiots with the wife being smart, powerful, and controlling. There is no partnership in that. There is no companionship or mutual respect when one is controlling or dominating the other. Yet a lot of ladies grow up thinking that is how it should be and they set up house with that kind of dynamic. It is the world’s way, the world’s view but it is not God’s way. Romans 12:2 “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

It has been a long and difficult journey finding my way to my husband and the same for him. I want to be his true mate; his partner in life, not his boss. My prayer is that God will continue to remind me of this. Remind me that showing my husband everyday in some small way that he truly is the one that my soul loves.

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Redemption and Reasons

deep bloom oceanA friend of mine shared the above quote on Instagram and it really touched my soul. I have been feeling discouraged lately. Maybe I should give up on writing. I have this soul deep need to share with others who have gone through divorce, others who may have been abused, others who are trying to put the post-divorce pieces of life back together in the form of a blended family that there is hope in God the Father. His Son didn’t just die for the “perfect family” that has a mom and dad who never divorced and kids that attend church every Sunday and have memorized all the books of the Bible. But maybe no one wants or needs to hear that. This has been the vicious thought spiral swirling around in my head.

Sometimes the judgement and ridicule that has been thrown at me mostly by other Christians for being divorced twice brings on acute feelings of shame and defeat. I find myself questioning am I willing to endure these prejudices, comments and whispers by those that believe a divorced woman shouldn’t be used or called by God?

Every single time I start thinking I might quit, God thinks differently. He reveals this in so many ways that it is astounding, dazzlingly so to me. He reminds my heart that I am who I am for a reason. He reminds me that I need only be obedient and share honestly what He has done in my life. Psalms 107:2 NLT “Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out! Tell others he has redeemed you from your enemies.”

I want you to know if you have been discouraged, defeated, or ashamed it is not what God wants for you. He puts us at different places in our lives for a purpose.

Thank you for your redemption Heavenly Father. Thank you for your endless grace. Thank you for Your guidance. And most importantly, thank you that for every reason I have to want to quit sharing what You have done for me in my life, You give me twice as many reasons not to. Psalms 32:2,8 “Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt,whose lives are lived in complete honesty! The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.I will advise you and watch over you.”

 

Testimony Tuesday: Accountability

Today’s post is from a beautiful woman inside and out as well as a friend. She is a private person but was kind enough to share her heart. Here are her thoughts on “Accountability”.

Melissa D post picAs a single mom for almost 4 years then remarrying and having another child, I have learned a lot about what makes me who I am. I am naturally an observer and watch people’s interactions with each other and the people around them. The most difficult people to observe, without wanting to jump in and say or do something, are the ones that affect children without even realizing.

I fully understand the effort it takes to raise a child/children and the mental toll it takes on us all. I know that tending to the constant needs, crying, tired, whining, and often interruptions, children can exhaust and unnerve the best of us. Frazzled nerves. Sleepless nights. Financial Stresses. All these add to the pressures of daily life. They may push us over the edge, as we find ourselves forgetting to mind out tongues and manners, without regard to the little eyes that are watching and the little ears that are listening. We are always seen and heard even when we think we are alone.

Even so, harsh or careless words, words spoken out of frustration, fear, or anxiety, can and do hurt. God holds us accountable for words like that. One of God’s Old Testament names, El Roi, means “the God who sees.” He sees and hears every careless word, every action spawned by angry impatience. Flippant remarks, thoughtless actions, and loveless reactions reveal a less than Christian-like attitude in us. Under duress, our guard can be diminished. Our filters disengaged. We spit out things we normally wouldn’t say. I am reminded of song lyrics that speak of a child using a 4-letter word in the back seat of the car when the father slams on brakes and causes the child to spill his drink and fries. When the father asks the child where he learned to talk like that, the child responds “I’ve been watching you dad.” (Rodney Atkins – Watching You).

These type of behaviors are a glimpse of what we are really like inside. This is the side of us that we attempt to keep hidden from God and everyone else, but these actions spill out for everyone to see. Scripture warns, “So then everyone of us shall give an account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12). Furthermore, “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and open unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:13). I shudder to myself as I think of all the times I have let careless words and actions slip.

I cannot correct this problem alone. I need someone to intercede on my behalf. And I have one- in Christ. Christ has made himself accountable for MY sins on Calvary’s cross. Amazing Grace!!!

“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (1 John 2:1)

My Ways Are Not

deep stormMy husband and I have had several big situations hit us one right after another in the past couple of months starting with a blown engine in our SUV that we had just paid off, that fit all 5 of us plus 2 friends. All of these issues have caused some stomach aches, headaches, worried/anxious thought spirals, and sleepless nights. Many nights, at some point, has ended with crawling out of bed, kneeling, and pouring our heart out to God either alone or together. 1Peter 5:7 “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

In the midst of these problems, through working in ministry, I have encountered others who are suffering with hurting hearts. My daughter and I both have a strong sense of empathy and compassion. When others hurt, we truly feel that hurt and try to help in any way we can.  Such empathy can also cause stomach and headaches, worried thought spirals, and sleepless nights spent praying for others. During this time, she found out that a classmate was really in trouble and she bravely stood up and went to the powers that be and told, getting them some help and facing a lot of ridicule for being a “snitch” and even losing a close friend in the process.

During these past months of difficulties, I have asked God why? That’s probably not the spiritual thing to do but it certainly is the most human. We all ask God why is this happening? Why won’t you fix this? I have asked that of Him, especially these last two months. Why did our vehicle blow up when we are working so hard to be debt free? Why did my brother’s house get robbed of so many valuable precious irreplaceable things such as baby photos that they will never get back? Why are there issues cropping up with our children and the other parents when we have worked so hard to build and raise our family to serve You? Why is Jack still being terrorized by an abusive father? Why was my friend’s son, who already has suffered severe trauma in his life, have to go to court over having his life threatened?  Why was he attacked at school by another student the next day and received several rib fractures?

Why?

And God answers!

Isaiah 55:8-11 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and My ways are not your ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.10 The rain and snow come down from heaven and do not return there without giving water to the earth. This makes plants grow on the earth, and gives seeds to the planter and bread to the eater. 11 So My Word which goes from My mouth will not return to Me empty. It will do what I want it to do, and will carry out My plan well.”

And what an answer!  I don’t think like God.  I can’t even fathom it.  His view, His perspective is “higher than the heavens”  while mine is barely visible from this pit I sometimes find myself in and peeking out over the edge of.

As I am thinking about God’s answer, I realize that I have received more blessings over these past two months than I can count. I have seen my family grow spiritually in their faith and walk in Christ. I have seen my children make that basket, bring up that grade, and make many new friends to replace the one that was lost. We now have a new car that is better for us than the old one. I could honestly go on and on.

But most of all, I have been tremendously blessed through ministry and serving others.  One of the biggest is my daughter and I helped with our church’s large special needs Easter egg hunt event. I signed up to be a hunt buddy and met an amazing family that had adopted 11 special needs children and brought 4 of them to the event. My 11 yr old bright energetic buddy and I had a blast running through all of the inflatables and games and finally went on to collect 4 bags of eggs!  (Actually I just ran around behind him toting his bags. Lol!)  His mom was able to be pampered that day in a makeshift spa our church had set up. She came back with a new hair style and a manicure. She seemed so refreshed and rejuvenated. His mom said that although he was affectionate he did not hug. At the end of the event as the family was leaving, the unprompted hug I received from my little buddy was beyond words for me. I went there that day to be a blessing but really I was the one that was truly blessed!

DSC_2854See, we don’t always have to preach Jesus at others in their face. We can lead them to Him simply by doing what He did through loving and serving. Giving them some time for themselves when they may not often have that luxury. Helping them by going into their community and washing their windows and changing light bulbs, etc….

I don’t understand. I cannot fathom the ways of God. But I have learned that when I don’t understand I need to show more compassion, love, and give more of myself. My ways are not His ways because His view is so much better of me than I have of myself. His ability to pour out His blessings is far greater than my own. My prayer is that He still uses me faults, difficulties, anxious thought spirals and all.

But Sunday Is Coming!!

Easter is almost here.  It’s such a special time for Christians.  It’s such a precious time for me.  Here is one of my favorite sermon excerpts from SM Lockridge.

 

1 Peter 3:18 NLT “Christ suffered]for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.”

“The devil has convinced so many people that they are worthless.
Each of us needs to stop and remember the cross—at the cross we will discover our true value—
for it is here that we discover the price God was willing to pay for us,
the depth of His love, and how much we are worth to Him.”
[Roy Lessin]

Thank you Heavenly Father that Sunday IS coming!

A Candle For Jack

Jack is a wonderfully gifted, inquisitive, articulate 9 year old boy with a beautiful, sweet warmth about him.  His strong determined mom is a blogger friend of mine and for the past year or so I’ve been following her powerful emotional story of co-parenting (if you can even call it that) with a narcissist.  For years she has struggled to move mountains to get the help and encouragement for this highly gifted child with an IQ in the 98th percentile. When Jack was 7, because of her efforts of trying to get him enrolled in the Gifted Academy, she lost custody of her son through a very broken court system. A court system that felt it was better to not look to experts in the field of gifted children but rather to the squeaky wheel that was screaming for grease.  Her parenting time has now been reduced to 8 days a month!

Since the custody change, Jack’s anxiety has increased to an all time high.  He has shared with his mom after crying uncontrollably for the first hour of most visits with her that his father is abusing him mentally, emotionally, and physically and since the courts are not monitoring him and this man has complete control, the abuse has escalated to an alarming level.  One small example of this is that Jack is afraid of heights so his father held him by his leg and suspended him over the railing of the deck 20 feet off the ground to teach him not to be afraid!  Countless times he has been called a baby, stupid, and an idiot.  He is not allowed to cry.  I could go on with many other examples.

I was deeply moved by this brave mom’s post, her message of hope that she has received from God through her son and her anxious fear as she goes to the court of appeals on April 15 to plead with them to overturn the custody ruling.  This is the link to this post and I encourage you to please read it!  You will be so inspired by this amazing little boy.

http://scatteredsmotheredandcovered.com/2014/04/07/one-word-365-submit-to-hope/

Today we had a prayer service at church.  A time where we can be prayed over, take communion,light candles and also literally carry our burdens and nail them to a wooden cross.  My daughter and I solemnly lit a candle for Jack.  And we prayed.  Prayer changes things and so I asked God would surround this situation with His almighty power.  I prayed that Jack and his mom would feel that power and strength in such a way that they would know a peace that they have never known in the midst of this raging storm.  I am asking that everyone will join me on April 15, in the middle of working, business of life, tax deadlines, etc…to stop just a moment and pray for this hearing.  Pray for this dedicated mom.  Pray for Jack.

I have been thinking and meditating on Psalms 10 which is such a powerful chapter.  Here are a few verses that really speak to me.  Psalms 10:10-11 ESVThe helpless are crushed, sink down, and fall by his might. He says in his heart, “God has forgotten, he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”  Verses 14, 17-18  “But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation, that you may take it into your hands; to you the helpless commits himself; you have been the helper of the fatherless.  O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.

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Pray for Jack.