Archive for February, 2007

In the final analysis, it was HANNAH’S JOURNEY

Wednesday, February 28th, 2007

There were several notebooks of journal and guestbook entries, Lord, that precious Toni copied from the Caring Bridge site while we were in Houston.  They contain the story of her journey.  Uncle Clay said so many times from the onset that this was “Hannah’s Journey.”  We were with her every single day, as many were, and because of her journey, many of us will never be the same again.  But in the final analysis, it was HER journey with You, Lord.  I have thought about that even this week, that in the final analysis, it is each of us and You Lord, isn’t it?  We each walk the road from physical life, bound by time on this earth into our eternal life, either in Your presence forever or forever separated from Your presence.  It is an individual decision.  It is an individual choice – “whosoever will may come.”  And we are making preparations, even today, for that journey into eternity. 

The peace that You gave Hannah was supernatural.  It is not the natural thing for an 18 year old to say, “Yes, Lord, I am ready to leave my life here and all of my plans and come on to heaven early.”  And even though that wasn’t her first choice and she didn’t want to leave her life here, she had an amazing peace.  You had invested much into her life to prepare her for her eternal destination. 

I have been looking through her “Purpose Driven Life” book over the last couple of days.  The things that she had highlighted amaze me.  “It’s not about you.”  “Focusing on ourselves will never reveal our life’s purpose.”  “Life is about letting God use you for HIS purposes, not your using him for your own purpose.”  “Self sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self.”  Matthew 16:25 (Msg).  “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.”  “God is not just the starting point of your life; he is the source of it.”  “Build your life on eternal truths.” 

“It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for.  Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.”  Eph. 1:11 (Msg).  And then at the end of Chapter 1, she again highlights, “It’s not about me.”  And in green ink at the bottom of the page she writes, “I need a selfless attitude.  I need to put away my pride and become a servant.” 

Well, Lord, I guess You answered her prayer.  My, how you answered her prayer.  Thank You for every preparation You did in her heart to prepare her for eternity.  Prepare me today Lord, for eternity. 

Eph. 1:11-14 in the NIV says “In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.  And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation.  Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of his glory.”

She was chosen – as each of us who has believed in You has been chosen – You worked out the purpose of Your will through her life – for the praise of Your glory!  You marked her with Your Holy Spirit – and that was her deposit guaranteeing her inheritance into her eternal life.  She has now partaken of her eternal life.  What more could a mother ask for?  Oh, Father, help me keep my eyes WITH ETERNITY IN VIEW!!  Thank You Lord.  Amen.          

Our Lord doesn’t keep score.

Wednesday, February 28th, 2007

Psalm 130:3-7 (in part) ”If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness;…I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope…O Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption.”

How amazing is it that our Lord keeps no record of sins? If He kept score, we’d never be able to stand! We’d be so cast down and broken that our lives would be in ruin. But with Him there is forgiveness! He doesn’t remember anything we’ve confessed to Him. He casts those confessed sins as far as the east is from the west. He has no scoreboard or score card. That is a huge deal, huh?

I’m probably the least competitive person out there but MAN, do I live with two full-blooded competitors! Clay and Caleb are both extremely competitive and they both think they have to win! Clay says that Caleb will NOT get taller than him, bigger than him, smarter than him, better at basketball than him, you get the idea. We bought Caleb a weight center for Christmas and he is constantly pumping that iron. If Clay hears the weights clanging together, he’s up those stairs and getting his set in. I won’t mention on this World Wide Web that Clay has to remove a few pounds in order to press! We laugh so often as I remind Clay that he’s just not as young as he used to be. But you can believe those two keep score. My goodness, they drive me crazy!

I, on the other hand, will play games and still, even though Caleb is 15, “let him win”. I don’t have to show that mercy as often as I did when he was small, he pretty much wins on his own, but boy do I love that child and want everything to go well for him. Obviously on a much larger scale than playing games.

In this same perspective, I do not hold Caleb’s past “mess ups” against him. Quite often I don’t even remember why we butted heads the previous day. In jest, Clay tells me often that I’m a push over and that Caleb will never leave home if I don’t make life a little hard on him. I can’t imagine keeping a score card on things Caleb does wrong. If I constantly reminded him of his failures and mishaps, he’d stay beaten down and have no self esteem. On such a larger scale, beyond our comprehension, God, our Creator, the One who gave His only Son for our redemption loves us! He would never keep a score card, a running list of our sins and then remind us of them or hold them against us. How beaten down would we be? Defeated! We could never stand upright without God’s forgiveness.

I like verse 7: “O Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption.” I’m redeemed by love divine! Glory, glory, Christ is mine! All to Him I now resign. I have been redeemed! I love that old hymn.

Praising God that He doesn’t keep score!

Hope

“My ways are not your ways…”

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

Wow Lord, One of the first scriptures that I memorized in the spring of 2006 while doing a Donna Partow bible study entitled, ”Becoming a Vessel God Can Use,” was Isaiah 55:8,9.  I see now where my prayer on the 22nd of January 2006 was, “Father, this study begins tonight – apart from You and Your spirit we will just put in 10 weeks.  Oh, but Dear Jesus that You would show up and that You would make Yourself at home among us and that You would change us by the power of Your word is my prayer in the name of Jesus.  I had no idea, Lord, how You would use these scriptures in my life over these last 10 months.

    
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.  “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  Is. 55:8,9 

I just had the opportunity to share that scripture again this afternoon.  A precious young lady with a young son who is facing a very serious cancer – possibly headed to MD Anderson very soon.  Last night, a phone call from a dear friend, Pam, that I was in bible study with several years ago.  She shared about a friend’s husband who is to have surgery on Wed. morning for a very serious cancer.  He is a Christian and works in the medical profession himself.  My mind went back to yesterday morning when You were speaking to me about truth that sets us free!  How can we deal with devastating news?  How do we make sense of situations that make no human sense?  And to my mind comes the answer:  From our human perspective, we will never make sense out of some things that come into our lives.  They can only be seen in “true light” from Your eternal perspective.  You, Father, are the only one who can help us make any sense out of our situations.  You see the whole picture! You know and understand the eternal purposes for which You are working.  This has not taken You by surprise.  You are up to something in the lives of these precious families.  You are desiring to draw each of them close to Yourself, You desire for them to know the depth of Your love to them in the middle of this trial.  You want them each to know that they are indeed, the apple of Your eye, that Your grace is made perfect in their weakness and that You do walk with us through whatever each day brings.

If it were not for You teaching me that over and over, day by day, throughout this journey, I could not be standing up today!  Truly, “My soul finds rest in God alone.  My salvation comes from Him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation.  He is my fortress; I will never be shaken.”  Psalm 62:1-2

Oh, Jesus, You said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”  You also said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  John 8:31,32

It is only through You, Jesus, that we can be exposed to truth that can set us free!  Truth that says

1)      Your ways are not ours – You have purposes we cannot see or know.  You alone see the whole picture.  Is. 55:8,9

2)      You have set eternity in the hearts of men – Ecc. 3:11 “He has made everything beautiful in its time.  He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”  You have made us as eternal beings – we were not created for this earth.  The purpose that You have for our lives on this earth is to bring glory to Yourself and to prepare us for eternity.  It is just not about this life – the here and now.  It is about the life after – the real life!!

3)      You love us desperately and sent Jesus to show us the way to You, Father.  John 3:16,17  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.”  You didn’t come to condemn us, You came to set us free by Your truth!!

4)      We are the apple of Your eye, and nothing can separate us from Your love!!  Romans 8:38-39  “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height or depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

5)      “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.”  I Cor. 2:9  Oh, Father, Your focus, the whole New Testament is about heaven and the things You have prepared for us – it is not about this present earth.  Oh, Father, give us Your eternal perspective and bless the lives of those who have just received devastating news from the world’s perspective.  Allow them to know that as long as we have breath, we have hope.  Ecc. 9:4   Our hope is a “Living Hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you.”  I Peter 1:3

6)      “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.”   Romans 12:2  Only through having our minds renewed and transformed by the word of God can we live victorious lives on this earth.  Oh Father, draw us to Your word and keep us there.  Help us learn to meditate on Your truth day and night. 

It is amazing to me how friendships centered around You and prayer are friendships that will never end – never!  We can pick up right where we left off!  “Friends are friends forever, when the Lord is the Lord of them, A lifetime is not too long to live as friends” the song says.  A lifetime – an eternal lifetime – to be with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ – our friends – forever.  This earth life is just preparation for that!!   Oh, Father, thank You for these new friends You have brought into my life.  Help me be the kind of friend who points others to You!  In Jesus name I pray.  Amen.

 

“I am the Lord, and there ain’t no other!”

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

As I mentioned in my devotion yesterday, Clay and I were blessed with nine 7th & 8th grade boys this past weekend. What a blast! It was amazing how much we enjoyed those boys.

One of the scripture references was Isaiah 45:5 “I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God…”

This chapter in Isaiah goes on to say that the potter molds the clay into what he wants it to be. Is there ever a time that the clay asks the potter, “What are you making?” or “What were you thinking when you started molding me?” (verse 9) No, that doesn’t happen.

The same applies when we decide that we know so much more about our own lives than God does. When we question what He is doing with us, what direction He chooses for us, what path He places us on, it is the same as saying “What do you think you’re doing? Just because you’re the potter and I’m the clay doesn’t mean you know more about making me and molding me than I do!” When we grow bitter or angry at God because things do not turn out the way we planned, or because He doesn’t answer our prayers the way we thought He should answer them, or when He takes the life of an 18 year old young lady who He created in the first place, we are pretending to know more about molding our lives than He, the Creator, the Potter does.

As Clay was sharing this lesson with the young boys, he had one of them read verse 5 and paraphrase it into his own words. Cute as an absolute doll, Drew grinned and said, “I am the Lord – and there ain’t no other!” We adopted that for the weekend and Drew actually shared it with the entire congregation on Sunday night. Clay followed it up with the NIV translation in case there were those who don’t appreciate paraphrasing. But the truth is, this verse will stay with those young boys forever, especially Drew. What better word for 13 and 14 year old boys, and for all of us, than to know that He is THE Lord, and there ain’t no other!

That’s a great word! We serve the only living God!!

Hope

God’s Server Never Goes Down!!

Monday, February 26th, 2007

Good morning, all! What a tremendous outpour of “concern” that I’ve received over the past several days. Yes, we’ve had problems with our server and the website has been unavailable since Thursday. It appears that all is well now.

It is hilarious yet very comforting and encouraging to know that so many are following our site and reading our entries. I was stopped a couple of times in Wal-Mart, in two restaurants, at church and received numerous emails over the weekend with “Is something wrong with the site? I miss the devotions!” Thank you for your faithfulness to us!

Is it not extremely comforting to know that we never lose our connection to God? His server never goes down! No one can tap in and hack our connection to our Father! We have a direct line to God at all times and nothing interferes! Weather, power, “hackers”, absolutely no obstacles can stand in the way of our communication with God. Unless, of course, we just choose not to “log on”. All He wants is a relationship with us, a daily relationship!

We housed nine 7-8th grade boys for Impact  this weekend and we had a blast! Those boys were attentive, respectful, and full of energy! Our Bible Studies were on happiness. What makes you happy? You can just imagine where our topic led to each time! Can you think of anyone that we know personally whose happiness was not based on their circumstances? You guessed it, Hannah taught a lot of our lessons this weekend and those boys soaked up every ounce of information that Clay fed them. We stressed the importance of having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ BEFORE you’re faced with trials and fires. That personal relationship can only be built by communicating with Him, a two-way communication. Prayer and Bible Study – that’s the answer!

So I get to work this morning and find that we have “reconnected” with the server and our website is now back up and going. An immediate reminder that we are so dependent on computers and technology! This entire journey would not have been what it is without the World Wide Web. Aren’t we glad that we serve One Who never has technical difficulties?! If your communication with God is down, the problem is not on His end! Check your connection – God’s server never goes down!

Psalm 145:18 “The LORD is near to all who call on him…” 

Have a great Monday!

Aunt Hope

You are so hilarious, Lord!!

Thursday, February 22nd, 2007

“Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army.  For the battle is not yours, but God’s. You will not have to fight this battle.  Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.  Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.”  II Chron. 20:15-17

Lord, You are so hilarious!!  You crack me up!!  I can’t even imagine always being one up on everybody all the time!!  You know it all!!  You see it all!!  You are working it all to bring glory to Yourself and in the process You are working out everything for my good!!!  Your highest glory is for my greatest good!!  What a job You have!  I wouldn’t want it!  Thanks!!  I’m glad You’ve got it!!

You know Lord, I have been preparing my heart and mind for next Saturday.  You are giving me the opportunity to share with the precious ladies and girls in our church.  I have told you Lord, that I have nothing to say.  Who am I?  What do I have to say?   And that if You don’t say it, we’ll all be in big trouble.   There isn’t anybody who needs to hear from You right now anymore than I do!!   I’m listening with both ears wide open.  I have been asking You, Lord,  to allow me to decrease and allow You to increase.  To allow me just to be Your spokesperson.  From the very beginning of this journey, You have made it very clear to me, that this wasn’t about Hannah, and it wasn’t about our family.  This was all about You and what You are desiring to do in the body of Christ.  You have spoken that truth over and over to my heart.  And so as I have gone on and on and on, blah, blah, blah (You must get so tired of hearing me) in the preparation of my heart, You just showed me this morning that, indeed, You are going to make sure that there isn’t anything of me left on Saturday!

I have known that there was a field trip coming up sometime with Andrew’s class to Atlanta.  I have signed a few papers to give my permission, etc.   I also knew that some precious soul had paid for me to go as a chaperone.  A dear heart, who like my own, wants my heart to be reconnected with my sons and wanted to give that gift to me!  As I began to sign another form about this “upcoming trip”  this morning, I just had the thought that maybe I needed to find out when the trip was!!  Ha! Ha!  Well, guess what?  It is Friday, March 2.  We leave at 6:30am and return at 10:30 pm!!  I just had to laugh!!  I whispered that in Mickey’s ear as he went out the door this morning and he just smiled.  I just had to think to myself that this whole time, You have just been thinking, “I’m going to make sure that there is nothing left of you and that it is all Me!  I’m going to send you to Atlanta with a group of 7th grade – middle schoolers – to spend the entire day Friday and there will be nothing LEFT of YOU on Saturday!   I just thought, “You have known this the whole time, haven’t You?”  And then on the way to school to take Andrew, the most glorious sunrise was in the sky – You were saying, “I’m on top of this – I’ve got it covered.”  You never cease to amaze me, Lord.  And indeed, it will be all about You because You are the only one worth it being about!  Thank You for the reminder that You have it all covered!  It will be a fun thing to tuck in my heart and ponder this week!  You got me!!  And again, have answered my prayer in a way that I would never have imagined.

What a precious morning Lord to share in prayer with 2 other ladies the requests You have entrusted to us through HHM.  Oh Dear Jesus, what we all need, is a big dose of You.  So many things we encounter in this life are so much bigger than we are!  We can’t do this life without You.  It is too hard here.  If we haven’t encountered hard things yet, we will.  You want us to be dependent upon You for everything.  And in actuality, the next breath we breathe will be because of Your grace to us.  We do nothing except by Your grace in allowing us to!

A precious baby boy, 19 months old, diagnosed with leukemia, young children with broken families, cancer, disease, untimely death in young people, etc.  Oh, Father, thank You that we can “Cast all our anxiety on you because You care for us.”  I Peter 5:7  Oh Father, thank You that You care and that You are big enough to take all of our cares!!  They don’t trip You up a bit!!  You don’t turn around and think, “Oops, I forgot about that one!  – that broken family, that sick little one, that job loss, that family member!”   You haven’t forgotten, You know full well every last detail of our lives – from the number of hairs on our heads to the number of our days!!  You really desire to be our burden bearer!  We don’t have to carry our burdens – we can lay them at Your feet and at the foot of the cross and You will gladly take them.  Thank You that You died to take all of our “stuff.”  Oh, how precious is that!!  We can’t even really begin to comprehend what that means!  But thank You for the little bit we do understand!

Thank You for the preciousness and power of prayer!  Thank You for Your word that tells us that the “effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”  James 5:16  Help us learn to pray! Teach us how to pray with the mind of Christ.  Help me live today and act today with “the mind of Christ” as my standard.  In the strong name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen. 

 

Dig deep so you can’t get out!

Thursday, February 22nd, 2007

While I was preparing for my Daniel Bible study this week, I was praying for each lady that attends. My prayer for them is that they will get in God’s Word and dig deep to see what He has for them to hear. How could Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be so bold as to stand up against a king with the power of Nebuchadnezzar, especially when their punishment, the fiery furnace, was so close they could hear the roar of the flames and feel the heat? They knew what the outcome could be, yet they stood firm, solid in their loyalty to God. The three men didn’t have to say, “Give us just a second” and then huddle together to decide how they stood and what their response should be. Nope – it was a no-brainer. Their stand was firm, their mind was set, their hearts were resolved in their trust in God. How could they be so bold?

How can any of us face a fiery furnace, whether that fire be cancer, a broken home, a broken relationship, heart disease, death, the list goes on, yet trust God enough to worship Him and not waver in our faith even if things do not go the way we planned? An uncured disease, unanswered prayer, death of a loved one, all of this could cause us to harbor bitterness, anger, etc. How do we stand so firm in our faith? Because our minds were made up before the fire came into our lives. Where does that strength come from? From a deep personal relationship with Jesus Christ, grounded in God’s Word. His Word is our lamp, our light. Through His Word we find eternal promises and gain eternal perspective. Just brushing through a scripture now and then doesn’t ground you to the degree that would provide the necessary strength to withstand a fiery furnace. You have to dig deep.

Psalm 119:11 “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
 

Now let me just confess that memorization of the scriptures is not my gift. I can hardly remember my phone number (that’s why I don’t call myself). You don’t have to memorize it to have it hid in your heart. Just read it and claim it. There are many, many promises, conditions to those promises, and consequences to the contrary, all outlined in His Word. Dig for them! But if you have the gift to memorize – do it!

Here’s what came to my heart while praying for the ladies. Dig so deep in His Word that you can’t get out! When something is heavy on your heart, it’s hard to shake it. Let that be the Word. When you hide His Word in your heart, it’s there to remind you of all that God has for you. There are so many verses on comfort, encouragement, faith, love, etc. Whatever your need, it’s in His Word. We found through Hannah’s journey with sarcoma that there was a verse for every need, it’s endless. Dig deep so you can’t get out!

Aunt Hope

He knows exactly where we are…

Wednesday, February 21st, 2007

Isn’t it comforting to know that nothing catches God off guard? One of the scriptures that I used several times on the website during Hannah’s journey was Psalm 31:15a “My times are in your hands”. God holds us in His hands – therefore nothing that happens to us is a surprise to Him. He is holding us and He is in total control of our circumstances and situations.

In checking on some of our caringbridge friends yesterday, I discovered that one of the sweet young ladies that I have prayed so desperately for, diagnosed with stage 3 DSRCT (abdominal cancer), is very discouraged and she feels her faith is weak. My heart just broke for her yesterday as I read her journal entry on her site. I immediately emailed her and shared this verse from the Psalm with her to hopefully remind her that God knows exactly where she is! He’s not at all threatened or frightened by DSRCT, or sarcoma, or leukemia, or breast cancer, or divorce, or broken relationships, or heart attacks, or death, or any other “fire” that we may be facing. He is working all things for our good and He has such a huge plan. If the worst thing that happens to us as believers is that we do not survive our fire and step into eternity with Christ, that’s a pretty good “worst thing”!! We have said so many times that Hannah most certainly said immediately when her first breath in Heaven followed her last one here, “Wow! Why was I holding on to the temporal life when I had all of this waiting for me?!”

God knows exactly where you are – and He knows exactly how much you can handle and when His strength and grace need to step in. He will not leave us nor forsake us. He is our Rock, our Strength, our Comforter, our Provider, our Sustainer, our Rescuer, our Father! He loves us so much and He so wants us to trust Him with every situation. My word for you today is to know that your times are in His hands. These are the same hands that as I shared yesterday took nothing and made you into something great! He knows exactly where you are – because He’s there with you! Have a blessed day!

Aunt Hope

A Living Hope

Wednesday, February 21st, 2007

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a LIVING HOPE through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade . . .  In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith . . . may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.  Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”  I Peter 1:3-9
Wow, Lord!  How once again Your words just leap off the pages and into my heart!  Some of the words I notice just seem to reappear throughout the book.  I want to look into these words and see what they mean.  Words like “chosen, hope, strangers/aliens, faith, suffer, eternal glory.”  Words that seem like I might need to understand them a little more than I ever have. 

   
You have awakened me early for the second morning in a row.  Yesterday morning You put the book of I Peter so strongly on my heart and mind that I finally got up and went there.  It is a book that You have taken me to many times over the last nine months.  I was reading in the footnotes, as I began, the following statement: “None of us is exempt from catastrophe, pain, illness, and death – trials that, like persecution, make us lean heavily on God’s grace.  For today’s readers, as well as for Peter’s original audience, the theme of this letter is HOPE.”  Well, I couldn’t argue with You bringing me to this book once again.  Hope is what Hannah had – hope is what she never lost – and hope that never disappoints is what this world is desperately craving!    You are the hope – the LIVING HOPE – Jesus Christ!  Oh Father, teach me more about Your hope even this day!
I continue to be amazed by Your little “providences.”  Ways that You show me each day that You have Your arms around me and ways You continue to bring encouragement to my heart through the body of Christ – many times through people I have never met.  You know I started the morning a little weepy – no actually just flat out bawling in the floor.  I went to the Nautilus for the 4th time – what a hoot!   It probably won’t be a “career move” but the good Dr. told me a few weeks ago that I had lost a lot of muscle mass!  Whatever that means – I’ve never had much!  Ha!  So I was riding the bike – that doesn’t go anywhere – how crazy is that – and this precious lady, Susie, comes up to me, introduces herself and tells me she has followed Hannah’s story.  What a precious hug from You, Lord!  Thank you for that “coincidence” yesterday.   
And then on to this precious meeting in another school District with a MIT friend to lend support – a Faith Based Partnership meeting.  How incredible to listen to these precious ministers, educators, administrators share about how the body of Christ is ministering to the “at risk” kids in their district.  Oh Father, we cry out to You on behalf of so many children whose lives are in such disarray and brokenness.  Please turn our hearts back to Yourself – the only answer.  Show up in ways we could not imagine.  We stand in the gap on their behalf even this day!
One of the precious ministers there used to be a co-worker of mine at MBMH, many years ago.  I remember him well – there was never a question that he was a brother in Christ.  He hadn’t put me together with Hannah.   Thank You for that “coincidence,” Lord.  Thank you for every heart and life that was represented there.  They blessed my heart, Lord.

And then, because I was on the other side of town, to the cemetery – I haven’t been there but a couple of times since we laid Hannah’s body to rest and never by myself.  I shed some tears and told Hannah that when it gets a little warmer maybe I’ll come and sit with her.  I know she isn’t there, Lord, but it is the remains of the “temple” that housed her precious life.  I think a good cry there every now and again might be a good thing!  Just as I arrived there, I was on the phone with Patrick, a precious young boy, who is now one of my prayer buddies.  He has been through some “stuff” – but boy how he knows You Lord!  He blesses my heart every time I talk to him!!
And then a “chance” encounter with a friend at the Women’s Pavilion who went up to the office and prayed with me & Hope.  A young girl was in the lobby as I came in and went past me 3 times and finally asked if I was Hannah’s mother – she had just learned that she was pregnant.  We exchanged tears and congratulations!  What a sweet encounter!
Your hope, Your purpose, Your encouragements, never cease.  Open my heart to see You today, Lord.  Help me take nothing for granted and allow me to see every opportunity that I might be a blessing and encouragement to someone else today.  In the sweet name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.
  
 

You keep my lamp burning

Wednesday, February 21st, 2007

 Thursday, Feb. 14

“You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning.  You turn my darkness into light.”  Psalm 18:28

What a precious scripture, Lord.  You, indeed, are the one who keeps my lamp burning and You are the one who can turn my darkness into light.  And I give You great thanks!! 

Over Christmas, Lord, You know, a dear friend shared that scripture with me and gave me a glass box with lights inside.  She put that scripture on top of the box!  Today, I changed the ribbon!  That was a big deal for me Lord!  That was the first thing I have done in any kind of “craft” way for a very long time.  The ribbon had been a Christmas one and it needed to be changed.  It is so funny how such simple things have taken on new life and how I now look for the deeper meaning of everyday things.  For me, I guess somehow, I have changed “another” thing.  For me, it is moving forward.  What a simple thing and yet it brings tears to my eyes.  The glass box on the bath lavatory will always remind me of Hannah – a gift given because of her.  A light that will continue to shine on in her honor. 

Being in Wal-Mart for one of the first times in many months was also a “big deal” for me today.  I look at everything and everybody with different eyes.  I wonder if it will always be that way.  Almost like an out of body experience.  Maybe it is just this “spiritual vacuum” I have been in for the last 9 months.  I don’t really want out, Lord.  It has been a precious place to be.  Kept in the hollow of Your hand – not just figuratively, but literally!!

Another “first” that happened this week is that the guys and I went for our dental cleaning and check-up.  For several years,  all five of us have gone at the same time.  A family thing - just check out of school and get it done with one full sweep!  It was actually kind of a neat thing to do!  I always like just sitting there and  having my teeth cleaned.  Our dentist is a precious godly man from our church and it is natural to speak about the Lord with him.  We talked about Your faithfulness and how You are carrying us one day at a time.  I was really fine until we got ready to leave and was handed the “last” picture Hannah had on the “No Cavities Club” board.  Then the emotions, that are right under the surface, just rolled and I couldn’t get out of there quick enough. I was delighted to get the picture but never know when something will just hit!  I remembered back to the first dentist appointment I took Hannah to.  I had a book about “Your first trip to the Dentist.”  We had the Dr. sign and date the book!  Everything was such a big deal with Hannah, the first!  I suppose the “first” everything with her will still always be a big deal.  But You know, Lord, You will be right there, won’t You? And You will get us through every “first” just like You always have.  Thank You for sweet memories! 

I am just now reminded, Lord, that 14 weeks ago today at about this time, You took Hannah home to be with You.  Earth won’t ever be the same for me and I suppose heaven will never be the same for You!   You got a bright light!!  Give her a big hug from her mother today, Lord and tell her that I miss her.  I know she wouldn’t come back even if she could.  I wonder if she ever looks down here at us.  I wonder if she has met “Joel” yet – the handsome strong young Senior in high school who drowned when I was a junior.  I called his mother when we were home for Christmas.  For some strange reason, my heart has connected with her in a way it never has.  I wonder if they have talked about us!  Part of me just thinks heaven will be just worshipping at Your feet! 

I got a new bible today, Lord.  My old one is badly worn and is written all over.  So many prayers - someday I will understand how You have answered them all.  Now, I can only imagine.  I have been in the Psalms so much, Lord.  I can’t imagine these past 9 months without the Psalms – oh, how precious and healing.  I will never look at them the same.  Hannah’s name is written with a prayer, on almost every page.

People everywhere need the hope that Hannah had – the hope of You, Jesus.  So many hurting and wounded hearts – it is indeed a fallen world.  Tonight at an awards banquet, the comment was made by someone that they wanted world peace.  World peace will come when You come and bring it!  You will make all things new in Your time!  Thank You for always listening to me and always understanding me – the only one who really can!!  Thank You for keeping my lamp burning for yet another day!!