Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Gift From Above

“You know what I long for, Lord; you hear my every sigh…” (Psalm 38:9)

As I opened my eyes to the morning light streaming through my bedroom blinds, I quickly realized it was just a dream.  With the name “Rebecca Grace” still ringing in my ears, I re-closed my eyes and, in hope of falling back into that glorious state, began thinking back through the visions that had just moments before played out in my mind while slumbering so peacefully – visions that had filled my whole being with a happiness that had brought forth real tears of joy -tears in which were now trickling slowly down my cheeks. 

While dabbing at those tears with the sheets, the light from the room in my dream filled my mind once more.  Its soft white glow, like that which streaks through a wall of clouds in the sky when the sun’s moved behind them, lit the rooms surroundings, giving all the details and the edges of it that familiar, fuzzy, dream-like appearance.  Though I was wide awake this time, all the contents of the room again sprang into view - from the stark white color that seemingly poured over everything from floor to ceiling, to the two woman, who were also clothed in white, that were moving quietly but purposefully about the room preparing.  Then there was me on a bed, where I had sat peacefully, comfortably, and silently in the dream, watching and wondering just who these two women were and what were they preparing for – two questions for which I now already knew the answers to.  They were the two Mary’s…the two from the Bible…the two who were with Jesus through His crucifixion on the cross, and they were there to deliver a baby…for me…a baby girl who they’d call Rebecca Grace as they’d handed her into my arms.

Again, tears welled up in my eyes and spilled over, only this time I let them freely flow.  Opening my eyes, I quietly peeled back the covers and tiptoed over to my desk.  I had to know.  Why Rebecca Grace? ...

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Not My Goliath

It was a Friday evening, late in the five o’clock hour, the tenth day of the month.  I remember it like it was yesterday – the day and time my labor for my daughter began.  It had been a sunny day, blue skies, little in the way of clouds - warm for a spring day in April…for North Idaho that is.  My husband had come home and taken me out to lunch at one of our favorite joints – Red Robin.  I ordered the chicken teriyaki sandwich with fries and tartar and distinctly remember feeling like every person’s eyes in that restaurant were on me, casting their disgusted looks my way, and shaking their heads in horror as the waitress set down my plate.  In my head I heard them saying, “How could she have ordered that when she can barely even fit into the booth?!”  Which was true, my stomach was uncomfortably touching the table in front of me, but it was me, not the other diners that had been casting the disgusted looks…well, they could’ve been too, I don’t know because in my shame I hadn’t even looked up beyond my plate, never mind into their eyes.  Gaining seventy pounds when the normal weight gain of a pregnancy is twenty to thirty can tend to do that to a girl, yet here I was eating a giant plate of fattening food four days after my due date anyway.

It was a nice gesture on my husband’s part though – him wanting to take me out.  It was supposed to be a treat – one last hoorah for the two of us to do something together before the baby came.  There wasn’t much conversation going on however.  My husband was self-employed in an industry that the downturn in the economy was not kind too.  There hadn’t been consistent work since before the snow had hit that winter.  Our savings were gone.  Little to no work was lined up for the future.  Taxes were due in five days.  We had no idea how we were going to pay them.  We owed thousands.  We also had no rent money beyond May…yet here we were, about to have our first child…and eating out like we didn't have a care in the world , but in truth, we had no idea what we were doing...

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Seek First

"But seek":  to pursue with all our heart, mind, and soul.  This is a response I’ve acquired naturally through my driven personality in many areas of my life, and yet it has not come so easily to me when it comes to God.  To seek a career with all my heart, mind, and soul – sure, I did that for eight years with a grueling and intense focus that could not be thwarted by any obstacles that stood in my way.  I jumped over them like an Olympic hurdler running for the gold.  To seek a home with all my heart, mind, and soul – yes, I did this also with nearly two years of unwavering focus as we looked through house after house after house with no success.  Again all the mounting obstacles did not stop me from continuing to pursue that dream.  I pushed through them like a plow moves aside the snow on a highway during a storm.   But then to seek the things of God, His Word, His truth, His will – in this I’ve floundered over and over again.  Like a fish that’s trying to swim back into open water when it’s been caught by the fisherman’s hook, I have been hung up on the simplest of obstacles that have been cast my way by the world and through the schemes of the devil, struggling and fighting to swim back into those open waters where the freedom of God so patiently and lovingly awaits me.

“But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.” ~Deuteronomy 4:29

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” ~2 Chronicles 7:14

"But seek first": to put above all else...

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Lay Down My Pride


This morning, while reading chapter six of “Stressed-Less Living” by Tracie Miles, an image came to light and illuminated an important message for me – one that I was hoping to express here to all of you.  However, knowing that I wouldn’t be able to sit down and begin to write out those thoughts until this evening, I became worried that the inspiration and clarity I felt would drift away like a cloud on a windy day, just as so many of the messages like this one had before it.  That has proven to be one of my biggest obstacles that I’ve had to face in my writing – being able to retrieve inspired thoughts when the time finally comes in which I’m able to write.  All too often I find myself becoming distracted and frustrated to the point that what was once so clear in my mind, has now become fuzzy and disjointed.  Even though I was on guard of this happening today, I still found myself falling victim to it yet again and the reason why is simple – even though I’d prayed for clarity to remain, I had not put on the full armor of God.
“Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” ~Ephesians 6:11-12
Satan has sure done his homework in knowing just the right time to begin his assault in my life and on my mind.  He chooses his flaming arrows wisely and hits his targets with astounding accuracy – yes, Satan is a master when it comes to the art of destruction.  His attacks have come frequently and swiftly as of late.  With every revelation, motivation, inspiration from God, has been another bombardment from Satan, leaving me overwhelmingly fatigued, foggy-minded, and frustrated - all generally not feelings in which God’s Word can easily be activated in our lives.
Lord, I put on the belt of truth around my waist, and the breastplate of righteousness in place, so that I may stand firm with my feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  Lord, I also take up the shield of faith, with which I can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one, and I put on the helmet of salvation and take up the sward of the spirit – your Word Lord – so that I will be alert and ready for his assault.  Lord, I thank you for the protection in which you have provided from the evil one and I give you all the glory that comes from this victory, in Jesus name, Amen.
Last week, I shared with all of you one of the areas in which Satan has been aiming his assault at in my life, starting all the way back in grade school – the flaming arrows of independence and pride – arrows in which struck and stuck when I found myself struggling with trust and hurt caused by broken friendships and bullying.  Through that experience I was deceived into believing that it was easier to just go it alone because surely this was easier than the betrayal and hurt that can result from depending on others, and those thoughts and feelings were continually fed by the world and by Satan, until I believed that dependence on anything or anyone is weak and I couldn’t be weak because to become weak meant being vulnerable, and being vulnerable meant getting taken advantage of and ultimately hurt.  And so, out of this marathon for independence came strength – an unhealthy strength in myself, and from that grew pride – a blinding pride to God in my life...

Thursday, May 9, 2013


This time last year my mom had just undergone open-heart surgery in wake of discovering that what she had been passing off as emotional stress and anxiety, was actually congestive heart failure due to a birth defect in her aortic valve that had gone undiagnosed.  May last year was a tough month to say the least – having received the completely unexpected bad news, worrying that she wasn’t even going to make it through surgery, the long days at the hospital of watching her go through so much physical and emotional pain and feeling completely helpless about it all.  It was all something I was definitely not prepared for…but she did in fact come home, and on Mother’s Day too.

This May is all very different.  There’s been no unexpected bad news, there’s been no major surgeries, and there’s been no long days at the hospital…and yet this May is still tough.  This May is still tough because, even though I will be home for yet another Mother’s Day, my mom won’t be there this time.  This Mother’s Day, for the first time, I won’t have her to celebrate with and honor- not in person anyway, only in memory because eight months ago and exactly four months after her coming home from surgery, my mom had a major heart attack and went home to be with the Lord.  So now, here I find myself one whole year later facing a whole new May and a whole new Mother’s day - one without my mom.  Who knew so much could change so quickly?
Though I’ve heard the phrase, “life can change in an instant,” a million times and seen it play out countless times in other’s lives and in the movies, I never imagined it’d feel quite like this.  So much has changed and yet the world just keeps ticking on like nothing ever even happened.  Sometimes I find myself wishing that I could just push a pause button and freeze frame my life so that I can take a few deep breaths in complete and utter motionlessness and silence.  Doesn’t that sound completely wonderful?  A moment in which there is nothing else to do and nothing else to think about except to just breath…in, and then out…in, and then out…ahhh…that would be pure bliss!  Can you imagine?

As I’m sitting here imagining that for myself, I’m reminded that I have actually experienced bliss like this before.  While our lives may not have come stock with a magic remote in which we can control our universe (darn it, I know!),  we do however have access to something even better than that but which works similarly, and that something is the Lord our God – creator of all things and master of the universal remote, so to speak.

Thursday, May 2, 2013


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For those of you who don’t know me personally, I grew up in a really small town in North Idaho.  The kind of town where you don’t want to blink or sneeze while driving through or you just might miss it altogether.  The kind of town where everybody knows everyone and everybody thinks they know, or thinks they should know, everything about everyone they know, if you know what I mean?  We moved to this small town when I was four and a half – the “half” being very important here because this meant that I was going to get to start kindergarten that coming fall, and I was very excited about this fact to say the least!  Unfortunately, when that first day of school finally came, my mom ended up with a very disappointed little girl on her hands because apparently Idaho’s deadline for turning five differed from that of California – the state in which we’d moved from.  As a result, I had to wait a whole other year to attend.  Oh the horror!  You’d think the world was coming to an end.  I was crushed.  Little did I know then that just one year later my excitement would begin to give way to dread.

When kindergarten finally came that next year, it caught me completely off guard to learn how little school really had to do with the act of learning.  Remember how I said we’d moved to a town where everybody knew everyone?  Well, my family didn’t really know anyone, and so I quickly discovered that I wasn’t a part of this “everyone” that everybody wanted to know because, not only did I seem to not know the right people, but I also didn’t seem to have the right clothes or the right last name – all of which seemed to add up to me being a nobody, or at least that’s how it felt to me.  And so I responded in a way that all too many young kids who don’t know that they’re a uniquely special creation of God, do – I started chasing after what my world was telling me to be and do, in order to be socially accepted.   As a result of this decision, my grade school years were filled with poor choices and plagued by hurtful memories.

By the time I’d reached the sixth grade, I had shoplifted clothes and had already tried smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol.  I was also affluent in bad language and in the art of kissing boys.  Not to mention all the horrible things I’d participated in doing and saying to other kids, and all this in an effort to be included in the “everyone.”  Despite the fact that I was able to work my way into that group that everybody saw as the “everyone,” I didn’t like or feel good about the person I was now seeing in the mirror – the person that I’d become in order to gain that “status.”  In fact, I even began to loathe the things I’d done and the things I felt I had to continue to do in order to keep said “status.”  Eventually, it got to the point where I was fed up with it all and wanted nothing more than to just be me again – the me who felt free from the pressures of seeking popularity, and no matter what the cost. 

The fed up attitude all ended up coming to a head at my six grade birthday party, where I quickly learned what the true cost would be for standing out against the crowd.  That it meant being an outcast of sorts – a target for relentless teasing and bullying.  And it meant that a large majority of the people I’d worked so hard to be able to call my friends, were in fact not my friends at all because, not only were they not willing to stand up for me, but they actually even turned against me.  In this I was shocked, but in this I did also learn the meaning of a true friend and to treasure those rare gems when found.

The treasure that I found that day was a girl by the name of Becky Gerow.  She was the only one who stood up for me on that birthday, and she was one of only two who remained my friend for the remainder of that difficult year.  Though neither of us had any idea of it at the time, in doing so, Becky had planted a seed that would later grow into a lasting legacy of God’s eternal love through a saving relationship with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ…but that was still a ways off.