Archive for May, 2007

The Grand Canyon – Looking back – May 31, 2007

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

Good Morning Lord!  You know I have finally just gotten out of bed to journal the things that are on my heart so vivid and clear this morning.  I remember the last time we were at the Grand Canyon as a young married couple, I couldn’t sleep at night because of the majesty of Your creation in the Canyon.  It was if I would close my eyes and then with a start would awaken to think about the scenes I had witnessed that day and the sheer magnitude of the place!  The same is true this time – I have hardly been able to rest at all this night!  So many things You have brought to my mind and remembrance.  One of my fondest memories of this trip will probably forever be sitting on the edge of Grand Canyon yesterday morning with You, journaling and having my quiet time just as the sun rose.  It was absolutely beautiful!  The Grand Canyon is very sobering – it is not something man can get his hands around – we can’t “figure it out.”  It is too big for our minds to even conceive.  It is without question a “God thing.”

 

So many spiritual lessons I believe You are desiring to teach me through this experience.  We had planned to hike down one of the trails yesterday morning.  We hadn’t done that before and so after breakfast, we packed Andrew’s back-pack, found a map, purchased a quart of water apiece, some trail mix and granola bars for each of us and received a lot of good information about which trail we might want to take.  One trail was easier, with water, a bathroom, and a lot of shade – however, it was not going to be the most scenic.  Another trail was going to be back in the caves and the scene wouldn’t be as magnificent, but there was water available.  The one Mickey chose for us was the one with the greatest panoramic view, with no water and a “toilet” 1 ½ miles down.  It was rated “steep” and there would not be much shade later in the day – the South Kaibab Trail.  We would follow our leader. 

 

I had seen the trails from the top and from there they looked like they were only about 6 inches wide so I was pleased to discover that they were indeed about 3-4 feet wide.  So much hard labor had gone into the preparation of the trails.  I cannot imagine having the job of making trails on the side of a cliff that dropped to an average of a mile deep.  And so a little after 10:00 we began.  I felt a little more confident after seeing the width of the trail and we were feeling good.  Some of the folks that we rode over on the shuttle bus with made us feel real good – if they could do it – surely we could.  I had pointed out the sign on the shuttle to the boys about how every year about 250 people succumb to the Canyon and have to be rescued.  There was a picture of a healthy young adult male looking quite the part and under his picture were the words, “Most of them look like this one” – referring to his strong, handsome, confident physique.   My hope was that the boys would heed this warning because there would be nothing I could do if they were to slip and fall.  I was going to be watching my every step and had claimed Psalm 121:3 –“He will not let your foot slip, He who watches over you will not slumber; Indeed, He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep” – for the morning.  So, from the git-go I had entrusted them to You.  It was great brother building for them and I think the thought of really pushing one another off, if ever a thought, quickly subsided after they each got their own “first glimpse.”  We were in this together!

 

We had a great time thinking and talking about how Hannah would be enjoying the hike.   I imagine she would have been clinging pretty closely to her Daddy.  We laughed on the way back up about all of the mule “droppings” and how that would have put her “over the edge.”  She would have been holding her nose no doubt!  She was experiencing the day with us from a whole different view-point.  I bet she would have said just “enjoy the beauty of God’s creation, and fear not.”

 

We didn’t go very far until we met several folks “coming back up” the trail.  They seemed a little winded and weren’t moving as quickly as we were.  So in the back of our minds we thought, we must be in a lot better shape than they are.  We aren’t even breathing hard and haven’t had any need of water.  I was gaining a new appreciation of what it meant to “cling to the rock that is higher than I,” and “Rock of ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee” as I clung to the “inside” lane next to the rock.  I figured the folks on the way up had already had more practice than me and I would give them the “outside” lane!  Ha!  The view was breath-taking and we quickly realized the greater appreciation you gain from actually going down into the Canyon than just seeing it from the top.  It comes to me just now the spiritual application of that truth.  We gain a greater appreciation of You, Lord, when we actually go down into the valley with You than when we just observe the valley from the top – not really needing to desperately experience You.

 

 It was about ¾ of a mile to the first point called “oou-ay.”  It was a fabulous viewpoint and we could see ahead to where our next destination point would be – a large flat area of red dirt and the facility with no water.   We could make it to “Cedar Ridge.”  The first goal accomplished and the second was in sight.  We would stop along the way to “look around,” “down” and “up.”  It was hard for me to walk and look around very much at the same time. 

 

Several folks we met along the way told us that it would take twice as long to get back up as it did to get down.  We finally arrived at the “flat” plateau area and were quite pleased with our accomplishment.  We were ready for a granola bar, water and a break.  We talked to the gentleman who volunteered there – past middle age – and he told us about going on down the path.  It was already about high noon and the sun was getting very warm.  We rested under what shade we could find – scrubby trees that you wondered how in the world they could grow there and discussed what we would do next.

 

During our stay there a group of mules and their human passengers arrived.  We heard the story about a young boy, probably about 11 years old who was riding on one of the mules.  The mule had been panting hard during the trip back up the trail and just a little while before they had arrived at the place we were, the mule had begun convulsing and had died.  He had just collapsed with the boy on him.  I couldn’t imagine how frightening that must have been for the mother who was riding behind him watching all of that happen.  It was by the Lord’s grace that they were in a wide spot and were able to get the boy off safely.  He was pretty shook, as any of us would have been, but was able to mount another “extra” mule they had with them to complete the trip.  That reconfirmed in my heart and mind that if I was going down and back up the mountain I wanted to do it on my own two feet – not depending on anyone else’s! 

 

We stayed there for about an hour and enjoyed the beauty of the surroundings and watched others who were on the same journey with us.  So many people from the Orient – in great shape!  I was again reminded of every tribe, people, tongue and nation bowing together before Your throne!   It would take us another 1 ½ hr. to go 1 ½ miles to the next point where we could see the first glimpse of the Colorado River at the bottom of the Canyon.  We were all really tempted to “march on” and wanted to.  However, we also realized that we only had a quart of water each, and a healthy but not huge snack.  We would be fine going down but it would be a long haul back up the mountain 3 miles and it was high noon.  It had been a great hike down and level headed Michael felt strongly we needed to head back up.  And so, with a little bit of wanting to go on, but feeling that was the right thing for us to do, we began our ascent back up the canyon. 

 

It didn’t take us very long to appreciate the folks we had encountered coming up while we were going down and their seeming lack of breath.  Ha!  It was a steep trip up!  The boys moved on quickly ahead and Mick and I took our time, enjoyed our water and took advantage of the shade we found.   What an incredible experience!   Next time we will begin very early, take a gallon of water each, have lunch packed and maybe camp at the bottom for the night.  We were so glad we had that experience and we were able to continue our hike on the Canyon Rim after we reached the top.

 

You know, Lord, some of the things I believe You were desiring to teach me was that in fact, we only need look at the “next step” of our journey.  We can’t be looking too far ahead or even looking back.  We must trust You with the steps our journey will take us on for just this day!   It can be overwhelming to look too far ahead and we really don’t need to see what is beyond the next “switch-back.”  We need to be prepared for the journey that You have each of us on.  You prepare us through our relationship with You and through Your word.  So many parallels I am seeing with ourselves and Babylon – through the Daniel study – seeking other things to satisfy the deepest longing in each of our hearts which is a relationship with You.

 

Looking back, in my minds eye, this morning and through the night at some of the places we were yesterday is really scary.  We were “out on some cliffs” that looked a lot scarier once we were able to look at those places from the top of the Canyon.  Some of the places we have been this past year have been scary places.  I am so thankful to You, Lord, that we didn’t have to see around the next “switch-back.”  You took us just step by step and You were trustworthy!  Help me continue to live my life one step of the journey at a time and not try and figure out the whole picture You are painting! 

 

We drove around and looked over several more points on the Canyon rim.  We left around 5:00 and had a great trip to Williams, AZ through miles of seeing so much sky, shrubby low growing trees, and not much else.  Water is a precious commodity here – one we often take for granted.  Williams has been an interesting little town – we prayed for folks we saw wondering the streets last night as we went to eat.  Everyone needs You Lord!    We have no purpose in our living without You!  Reveal Yourself, Your plan and purpose to this people and this town who live on the “edge” of the Grand Canyon.  Allow them to see Your grandeur in creation and not be caught up with only how having the Canyon close can “help them.”  Give them Your greater picture! 

 

I hope I will get some sleep in the car today, Lord.  Heights are not my thing and I have replayed over and over the places we were yesterday.  Funny how I wasn’t really scared while I was in the middle of the experience – just after I came through it!  I just want to bless Your name and give You thanks! 

 

It is only “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for Your compassions never fail.    They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”   Lam. 3:23  Oh, Jesus, thank You for Your new mercies, grace, love and compassions for this day!  In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

 

              

A Grand Canyon Sunrise – May 30, 2007

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for He founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.  Who may ascend the hill of the Lord?  Who may stand in his holy place?  He who has clean hands and a pure heart; who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false.  He will receive blessings from the Lord and vindication from God his Savior.  Such is the generation of those who seek Him; who seek your face, O God of Jacob.”  Psalm 24:1-6

 

“In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course.  It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other, nothing is hidden from its heat.”  Psalm 19:4-6

 

“Every eye shall see Him. . .”

 

From the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe – “He’s a scary God, but He’s a good God.”

 

Wow, Lord that kind of speaks to this little heart this morning.  You cannot sit here at the edge of the Grand Canyon without a sense of awe, wonder and reverence.  It is just too massive, strong and majestic.  It really gives you a sense of your own insignificance in the big scheme of things.   “Who among the gods is like You, O Lord?  Who is like You?  Majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders.”  Ex. 15:13

 

After we had watched the sunset last night Mickey wanted to come back at 10:00pm to see the stars.  The darker the night – the brighter the stars.  What a spiritual application – the darker the night of our souls, the brighter is the light of Your presence.  I was really sleepy but one of things I love about him is his love to see the stars at night in the darkest places.  I napped on the short trip back and the moon was absolutely beautiful! In fact, it was so bright that we couldn’t see as many stars as if it hadn’t been so bright.  But, oh the beauty of the Grand Canyon in the moonlight!  Quiet, dark, majestic, strong. . .  I hope I never forget the picture in my minds eye.  I was so thankful I came back with him.  Some moments you can only capture one time – and many times I miss those moments – thank you for not letting me miss that one!!

 

You know I told You last night that if You wanted me to come this morning that You needed to wake me up at the right time.  I awoke at 3 and thought I probably wouldn’t awaken again at the right time but at 4:45 You woke me up and I made it for the sunrise at 5:15am.  I’m so glad I did!  There were hundreds of others who had come to watch You rise the sun for another day!  Many of them from other nations, tribes, tongues and peoples.  You know I have prayed for them this morning, Lord.  How tragic it would be to come and worship the sun and miss worshiping the Creator of the sun.  Only You by Your Holy Spirit can write eternal truth on the heart of men.  It is completely out of my power.  But Oh Father by Your Spirit even this day bring someone here to question the majesty and work of Your hand and begin to think about their own personal standing with Creator God!  I am here by myself this morning.  I feel very small.  But I think it is a good thing to come to You in Your glory alone.  That is how each of us will stand before You – alone.  I suppose the more we are in Your presence alone here on this earth –the more comfortable we will be when we stand alone in Your presence there.

 

I just spotted a bird floating down into the canyon – and it brings to my mind “The Eternal God is our refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms” from Deut.  A scripture that I have come to love so much.  Your everlasting arms are under me.  It is really scary to sit here – I think you mean for it to be.  We have You so in a box.  Oh, Father I want You to build my confidence and my relationship with You so that I am not afraid to sit here.  The crowd has mostly cleared now and it is quiet.  People from every tribe, nation, tongue and people will kneel before Your throne together forever.  At the observatory that we were in last evening many places it spoke of the millions of years it had taken for this Canyon to “evolve.”  It was very sobering and sad that in all of the things I read, nothing referred to our Creator God.  It was blasphemous in a way and very eye-opening at the way we just leave You out of our lives.  You know Lord, I am pretty simple and You could have started the Canyon 1,840 million years ago – that is fine with me.  But I am so thankful that I don’t have to have it all figured out and that I can just trust that You created it just like You tell us in Your word in 7 days.  Mickey told me on the way home last night that was why he didn’t stay in there very long at all.  You desire for us soak in absolute truth – truth found in Your word.  We can trust You and Your word and we don’t have to have it all figured out!  It reminded me of the Daniel study that I have just begun and how Babylon sought after so many things and those things came up short and Babylon fell.  We, in America, are seeking after so many “things,” “philosophies,” and “ideals,” that many times we leave You out.  Oh Father, be merciful to us.  Turn us back to simple, childlike faith in You.

 

The air is cool, the battery is probably about gone and I need to get back to the guys to get ready for our “hike” today!  Thank You for meeting me here Lord! 

 

Thank You for the scenes and memories of yesterday – Sedona – Your majesty once again in those red humongous mountains.  A great visit with Uncle Don and Aunt Carol in Phoenix.  Sunglasses for Andrew, Oaxaga’s for lunch, Red Feather Inn – things have changed so much and have become so commercialized in the last 22 years.  I pray it hasn’t been a time of leaving You out of our lives while we build our castles.  Speak volumes to our hearts this day about Yourself – awe the boys of who You are and Lord, just keep us safe – this place is really scary – You bring to mind just now from the 121st Psalm – “He will not let your foot slip” – thank You Father- I pray and claim that verse over our lives for this day!  I stand in awe of You!

First Day of Vacation – May 27, 2007

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

Good morning Lord!  Even my computer knows the time has changed!!  It had to restart before it would let me begin!  How funny!  Mickey and Michael spent the entire evening telling us we just needed to forget about the “old time” zone and move on with the new!  My body doesn’t just “adjust” that quickly and neither does the laptop!  I was wide awake at 3:11am and talked myself into going back to sleep for awhile.  At 5:23 I could stand it no longer and so I think this day will probably begin sooner than we might have originally thought!   You know Lord, I guess if you were to keep flying – you could virtually never experience night time or darkness!  That is how heaven will be, won’t it?  No darkness – only light because You are the light of the world!!  How cool is that?  How does it feel to be the Light of the whole World?  No darkness surrounding You ever!  The scripture tells us that men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil.  You are the exposer, the revealer – You bring all things into the light!  I can only imagine what it will be like to be in a place of no darkness!  I long for it!  I love the daylight!    

 

Oh Father, my heart is full and I want to capture for posterity our trip!  I want to journal and not forget the ways You are continuing to reveal Yourself to us!  So help me Lord – bring to my remembrance those little things and huge things You are doing to show us Your watch-care over us!  I don’t want to take those things for granted.  I want to give You praise and thanksgiving.  I want to be in tune with Your spirit so that when You bless me and show me Yourself, I don’t miss it!

 

What a sweet time of fellowship in Cary, NC with the Davis family Saturday evening!  “Friends are friends forever when the Lord is Lord of them” the song says!   It is so true!  Being of like mind and of the same spirit allows you to pick up right where you left off!  And it is rich, deep fellowship!  Friendship that is based upon a relationship with Yourself!    That was the first time we had been to see them since they had moved 4 years ago.  The core of who we are doesn’t change, does it Lord?  You continue to purify us and mold us into Your image, to grow us up in You!  It was a blessing to see Your faithfulness over their lives!  And to hear them express that even though they still miss their relationships and friendships in Sptbg, they know You have placed them there.   The places You put us sometimes aren’t the places we would have chosen but there is no other place we would rather be because it is the only place of peace and rest and You are accomplishing things we can’t see as of yet!  A delicious dinner!  A trip for Mick and John to Best Buy to purchase a new camera for the trip!  What a treat!  Dear friends had it in their hearts that we needed to capture this trip on film and we are so excited about the “Canon” that has joined our family!  I had every intention of being the one to master the thing!  I was going to read every word of instruction and “be the one.”  The instruction manual was a book!  It blew me away!  But Lord I really would like to master it!  Help me stay focused long enough!!  Ha!   I am going to have to digest it a little at a time!     The guys, however, are not intimidated at all by the instruction manual and have already taken many great pictures!!

 

And then to Amanda’s recital!  We knew that she had choreographed her senior piece in memory of Hannah.  We didn’t know it was to “How Great Thou Art!”  How absolutely beautiful!  “How Great Thou Art” will forever have new and deeper meaning in our lives because of Hannah and we shed several tears!  We will spend eternity dancing to You Lord – declaring the greatness of who You are!    She has already begun!  What an expression of praise.  You tell us that if we don’t cry out – the rocks and hills will.  What a blessing to see the young woman You have grown her up to be!  What a confident, focused young lady.  She wants to major in Elementary Education and minor in dance.  Wrap her up, Lord and use her life in an exceeding, abundant way for Your glory!  Use this experience of having a good friend come to heaven with You to allow her to “never be the same.”   One of the things I was so struck by, was another dancer that had the same opportunity to communicate herself, her values and beliefs through dance and the difference between what she communicated and what Amanda communicated.  Neither said a word – however, much was spoken through their dance and the song they chose.  In the same way, each of us has the opportunity to use the platforms You give us to bless You or to ignore You.  All other factors being the same, we choose how we respond and what we will communicate through our lives!   Oh Father, let me not forget that lesson! 

 

John took us to the airport at 4:45am for our 6:15 flight!  Very quiet in Cary that time of the morning and it was such a blessing to be “dropped off” right at baggage check-in.  The gentleman assured us that it was his job to make SURE our luggage was in Tucson when we arrived – it was worth the $5!  Ha!!   And You know Lord, we flew into a whole different area of the Houston airport – which is massive – and it didn’t even look the same as last summer.  That was a blessing.  We only had an hour lay-over and our gate had been changed so we didn’t have time to let any grass grow under our feet! 

 

It doesn’t take very long for me to be in an airplane to be reminded of how small we are!!  And You very quickly reminded me of that again!  Your grace is amazing that You don’t just “snuff us all out.”  We go about our lives acting like we are so “in charge,” so “cool” and not acknowledging the very God who has given us life and breath!  There are “so many” of us down here “scurrying all around” when in reality the only thing we do that will last on this earth, amount to a “hill of beans” and that is of any eternal value is our own individual relationships with You and how we bring You glory and point others to You on this earth!!  And despite all of our “scurrying around,” we are so important to You!!  You tell us our great value and worth in the 139th Psalm!  Every thought of Yours to us is precious!  I have shared that Psalm with several of the graduates this year – write it on their hearts Lord!  How important each of us is to You! 

 

I didn’t take the opportunity to talk with the young lady on the other side of Andrew on the airplane until we had almost reached Tucson.  She had looked at a magazine most of the way and it was very early.  However, near the end of the trip, I asked her if she lived in Tucson and was headed home.  She told me she was heading to CA for her sisters’ wedding.  She has just finished her residency at Duke.  She told me that she wants to do surgery on patients with breast cancer.   It was a pretty obvious lead-in Lord and so. . . I took it.  I shared just briefly about Hannah and that our desire was to share “hope” with others who don’t have “hope.”  I showed her a copy of “Hannah’s Hope – A Journey of Faith” and wrote down the web-site for her.  I pray that You will bring it to her remembrance at the right time and point others to the “hope” we have in You that will not ever disappoint us .  She said her own father had cancer several years ago and how it has changed his life – that it is always in the back of his mind.  One of the things she said really struck me.  She said one of the hardest things to watch is all the things people put themselves through after they receive a diagnosis of cancer.  I’m sure she was referring to the treatments, etc. and fighting for life on this earth.   She went on to say how much easier it would be for them if they would just make the most of the time they have been given on this earth.  I could hear Dr. Corso’s heart and him saying the very same things!  However, from our conversation, I was not convinced that she knew You herself.  I pray for her this morning, Dear Jesus, that You would reveal Yourself in saving power to her through Your Holy Spirit.  That she will be able to offer her patients a “hope” beyond this life as she enters the field of medicine!   Because the bottom line is, we are all “terminal.”

 

How fun to see the “white sands” of NM and AZ from the airplane and show them to the boys.  Michael said, “Is that just dirt?”  Yeah, it is!  Dry, hard, cracked dirt.  So neat to be able to see the variety of Your creation!  From the mountains to the seas, to the deserts. . . What an incredible Creator You are!!  At one point, we began to see these large round green circles right in the middle of the dry, hard, dirt.  We couldn’t figure it out and asked the stewardess.  It almost looked like someone had painted perfect green circles on the desert floor.  She told us it was the irrigation system and how the sprinklers went around in perfect circles and hence the patches of “perfect green circles.”  It was so funny to see!  Man had gone to a lot of trouble to make something grow there!!  I hope it grows Lord!  

 

And then to fly into Tucson – where we began 22 years ago and see the desert landscaping, the cacti, the tumble weed and the flatness of the land!  A whole different look at Your creation!   You could have made it look all the same. . . but no, You didn’t!  And the huge mountain ranges that surround the city of Tucson – massive mountains around this desert floor!  What a cool idea!  The boys were more than a little amazed!  Our flight was on time and we were off to the car rental place!  A white Dodge Charger!   How cool Lord!  What a fun car!!  I think I want one of those!!  Ha!!  Help Mickey not get too attached!   And with map in hand to find FSBC Tucson for the 11:00 service.  It had already been a big day!!   We found the church!  It didn’t look the same and I was having trouble getting my bearings.  We got out of the car and headed for the door we saw others going through.  And the next thing that happened was pretty incredible.  The greeter at the door who met us with the most beautiful smile and handshake was from . . . Woodruff, SC.  How funny was that!  Yes, she knew exactly where Roebuck was!  Patti Toci!  We had an instant friendship because of You!  She told us that the church had burned 9 years ago and this was a new sanctuary turned in a different direction.  No wonder I couldn’t remember!    We talked and talked with her and shared a little about our journey over the last year and this being the beginning of a new chapter.  She asked where we were staying and we told her.  She told us that she has a bed and breakfast and would love for us to spend a night with her.  How wild You are Lord!!  Mickey had just realized yesterday morning that our flight home is not until Wednesday, the 6th instead of Tues. the 5th like we were thinking!  We have a night with no where to stay!  But You knew, didn’t You Lord?  We are to stay at Ms. Patti’s bed and breakfast.  Thank You for a new friend!  Allow us to be a blessing to her!  She kind of reminded us of Lee and Lil Mauer, a retired couple, who took us under their wing when we arrived at that church years ago.  We will spend eternity with them Lord!  They golfed every morning and loved John Wayne movies.  He was a bi-vocational pastor and they were precious people!  You have Lee and Lil’s everywhere, don’t You?

 

Ron Hart, the pastor, hadn’t changed and we quickly realized why we had been drawn to that church many years ago – a man of Your word!  It was an evangelistic sermon yesterday morning about “knowing” you are a Chrisitan.  I John 3:4-10. 

 

“Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.  But you know that He appeared so that He might take away our sins.  And in Him is no sin.  No one who lives in Him keeps on sinning.  No one who continues to sin has either seen Him or known him.”

 

“Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray.  He who does what is right is righteous just as he is righteous.  He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning.  The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.  No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him;  he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.  This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are:  Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.”

 

When we receive Jesus Christ as our Savior our “want to” is changed and we don’t want to sin.  Our “want to” has been made new and we desire to made like Christ.  We had a great few minutes catching up and think he may have finally remembered us!  The church and his family have been through a lot over the years but You know what?  You, once again, have used those things to purify their faith and draw them closer to Yourself!  Always working for our good and for Your glory in the lives of those that will allow You too!  They now have a Chinese congregation and a Spanish congregation and You reminded us again of how “every tribe, nation, people and tongue” will bow before Your throne together one day soon!!  What a breath of fresh air being in that place was!  We didn’t see anyone else we knew but felt very much “at home.”

 

At then to Mt. Lemmon – 9,000 feet to the top of one the highest mountains that surround the city of Tucson.  The landscape changes as you go up the mountain – cactus at the bottom, then shrubs, then beautiful aspen trees near the top where the snow line comes!    When you get too hot on the desert floor, you take off to the mountains and can sometimes even ski despite hot temperatures on the desert floor!  How cool is that, Lord?  Ant then to Pinnacle Peak – a place Mickey remembered for dinner.  They cut off your ties and hang them in the restaurant!  What a hoot!  I suppose folks come back just to see their ties and show them off to others!!  A delicious meal – I kept reminding them it was “too late” to be eating that big but they told me we had gained 3 hours and it wasn’t that late!!

 

Andrew has just awakened!   It will be fun to see what “time zone” we are in today!  We look forward with anticipation to a great day!  Thanks for listening Lord!  I had a full heart!  Last night when I opened my “bag” I found several things that had been given to Hannah that we hadn’t failed to unpack – soft, decorative footies, hair bands, and a brand new bottle of perfume Erin had given her that we had never opened.  They were sweet reminders of her presence with us!  She is experiencing this trip from a whole different perspective than we are!   Thank You for taking care of her too!!  In Jesus name, Amen!  

 

      

              

“I just want to know that one person has been affected by my story…”

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

When Hannah was being sustained by a ventilator, sometime the middle of July 2006, Deb was sharing the story of Job with her. She reminded Hannah that after Job had been through all of his trials and temptations God restored everything that He had lost 10-fold. Hannah signaled for a pen and paper and she wrote in a very shaky handwriting, “I don’t want to go through this to get lots lots of stuff. I just want to know that one person has been affected by my story.”

I spoke with Hannah’s oncologist last night, Dr. Steve Corso. We were discussing the young lady that Rhonda and I visited on Tuesday. Steve told me that there was a peace with her yesterday morning when he made his rounds that he had not seen in her. She had been very anxious and scared up until this point but now she is very peaceful and accepting of her imminent death. He quoted the above statement from Hannah and he said to me that the Lord through Hannah’s Hope Ministries has changed this young lady’s life. She will never die! Hannah, baby, your desire has been met time and time again. If no one else is affected by your story, there is a new name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life because of your testimony and faithfulness!

I think we could write a book of quotes from sweet Hannah. Dear Father, please continue to use our hands and our feet to spread the good news that Hannah desired to share. Please forever use this child through us. In Jesus Name, amen.

A conversation between Jesus and Lazarus’ sister, Martha: “Martha answered, ‘I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’” (John 25:24-26).

Hope

“Thank You for choosing me…”

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

In July of last year Hannah spent 17 days on a ventilator while in M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. She was miraculously removed from the ventilator on July 25, only four days after the greatest sarcoma doctor possibly in the world told us that Hannah was not going to make it and that she would go quickly. On Wednesday night, July 26 Hannah, along with her friends Jacob and Robin listened to Crossfire via internet. Crossfire is the Wednesday night youth service at First Baptist Spartanburg. After the service went off the air Hannah said, “Let’s pray” and the three of them joined hands to pray. After Jacob and Robin prayed, Hannah prayed this prayer, “Lord, thank you for choosing me for this journey. Of all the people you could have chosen, thank you for choosing me.”

Can you imagine…a seventeen-year-old young lady, one day off a ventilator that had sustained her life for 17 days, lying in ICU with a tumor that had wreaked havoc on her entire body and most of her organs, thanked God for where He had placed her in her life?! That still just amazes me every time I think about it.

Rhonda and I visited that sweet young lady at Gibbs Cancer Center yesterday and we were blessed beyond words. God allowed us to pray the sinner’s prayer with her and she assured us that she was at peace and knows that she is going to heaven. We were allowed the opportunity to serve her physically and oh the flood of memories as we unplugged the IV pole from the wall, helped her into the restroom, made sure her cover was just right around her thin little face. When she reached out for our hands as we prayed, her temperature was so high it nearly burned our hands. An oh-so familiar feeling. My goodness, the memories are not fun. But God placed us in that room yesterday morning and we had the incredible opportunity to share Hannah’s hope with a dying soul. I’m studying Breaking Free by Beth Moore (can you tell she’s my favorite author in the whole world?) and it is a study from the book of Isaiah. Last night, after spending the rest of the day humbled by the opportunities that God puts in my path, I opened the Breaking Free study and there in the second chapter of the study was the following verse:

“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners…” (Isaiah 61:1).

I just stopped and prayed, “Wow, Lord, You really are using Hannah’s Hope Ministries to do just that. Oh, may I ever be found faithful in my calling” and then I found myself praying Hannah’s prayer, “Of all the people You could have chosen, thank you, Father, for choosing me.”

Hannah Sobeski will forever be my teacher. Thank You, Lord, for choosing me to carry on the ministry that Hannah began.

Hope    

He who watches over you will not slumber…

Tuesday, May 29th, 2007

We had the opportunity to spend the day in my hometown yesterday, Bryson City, NC. We enjoyed several hours of God’s beautiful creation as we cruised Fontana Lake, and I was a tour guide for a few minutes showing our friends where I grew up, the church where my dad pastored for 23 years and the home place of my best friend, Lisa Winchester Finch. After we got back home last night, Lisa called – totally out of the blue. She had no idea I had spent the day in Bryson but I thought she had “gotten wind” of it and was calling to blow me out for not calling her. Instead, she was calling me with very disturbing news.

Lisa and her two children, Matthew 13 and Valerie 10 live in Franklin, NC. On Friday night Lisa and Matthew were home and someone shot a high-powered rifle from the road into her house. The bullet entered through Matthew’s bedroom wall, traveled through the walls into the living room and exited about 6 inches from Lisa’s head as she sat in her recliner reading. The investigators still have not found the bullet but the evidence of where it entered, traveled, and exited are throughout the house. Lisa was still very shaken last night and she and the kids were planning to spend the night there at home for the first time since Friday night. How my heart hurt for her and the same fear that she was experiencing swept over me as I imagined what could have happened had Matthew been in his room instead of in the bonus room or if Lisa had been leaning over in her chair only 6 more inches. Oh, the evidence of God’s hand of protection on their lives! As Lisa cried each time she talked about if Matthew had been hit or if he would have had to find his mom shot in the head, I encouraged her to concentrate on God’s protection, not what could have happened. She planned to camp in the floor last night with the two kids because, in her words, “the bed just seems too high off the floor right now.” The shooting was a random drive-by. Lisa has no enemies to her knowledge and no reason for anyone to try to harm her or her children. What Satan meant for evil, God said, “I don’t think so!” and He directed that bullet through that house and out the other end with no contact whatsoever. Do I believe He is in total control of our lives? Absolutely. Do I believe that it was coincidence that Matthew was downstairs instead of in his room? Absolutely not. Do I believe that the bullet only by chance missed Lisa by 6 inches? Absolutely not. Do I believe that God has a purpose for this incident and that He wants to grow Lisa’s trust and confidence in Him and His direction for her life? Absolutely.

Steve Corso, Hannah’s oncologist, called me yesterday while we were on the lake and told me about a young patient that is in her last days with leukemia and asked if I’d visit her today. Do I believe that God has a purpose for taking her life at age 18? Absolutely. Do I believe that it is by chance that she was next door to Hannah during one of Hannah’s visits at Gibbs Cancer Center? Absolutely not. Do I believe that this young lady has a divine appointment with the Maker of Heaven and Earth? Absolutely. And do I believe that He divinely placed her in the path of a doctor who recognizes the need for faith and trust in the only God Who can provide grace, strength, mercy and eternal life? Absolutely.

May we ever trust in knowing that God never sleeps nor slumbers. He is always at work in our lives and if we put our complete trust in Him, He will work all things for our good, even when we don’t understand what He’s doing. Praising Him today for taking care of my best friend and praising Him in advance for the time Rhonda and I will spend with the young lady with leukemia this morning. I will quote little Hannah’s verses and those that immediately follow. He who watches over you will not slumber…

“I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD watches over you—the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore” (Psalm 121).

Hope 

Hungry to see Your glory – again!!

Saturday, May 26th, 2007

Oh Dear Father, You have filled my heart with such a sene of anticipation! During the night it was as if You were writing on my heart that the theme of our trip would be the 19th Psalm – which I already love!

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens He has pitched a tent for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat.”

Oh Father, I cannot hardly wait to stand at the edge of the Grand Canyon!! The heavens everywhere declare Your glory! No person of any language can argue with the reality of who You are! You tell us in Romans that it is written on the heart of every man – the reality of who You are!! We can run but we cannot hide from You!! You are a pursuing God! You go to every possible length to pursue us and reveal Yourself to us! And You have written that in Your creation for everyone to see!! I believe You will write the 19th Psalm on my heart in an even deeper way and I am so looking forward to that!!

After those verses, the chapter transitions to talking about the word of God – which I love!!! As spectacular as your creation for us to visibly see . . . so is the power and majesty of Your written word to us!! And I really want to understand these verses to a deeper level! The correlation between the two – I want to know it!! As I stand at the Grand Canyon’s edge and see Your majesty, I want to have a whole new appreciation of the power and majesty of Your written word! I believe with all of my heart that it will “light my fire” with a passion for Your word like as I have never known! And that is where I desire to be! The reality of Your word to me and its power have carried me to this day in my life – through the hottest fires – and it has stood! Praise You Jesus!!!

Oh Father, and then I pick up my new “Daniel study” last night for the first time! I just got it yesterday evening! You know that one of the first scriptures You gave me the morning of Hannah’s surgery was Daniel 3:18. Never in all of my life will I ever forget it! Daniel became so real to me through other scriptures You gave me in the book and then all of the folks who were studying it while we went through our journey – they all kept talking about how it “fit our situation!” You blessed my heart through Daniel so many times over the last year! And now, this summer I am going to dig in it for myself and I am soooo excited!! We are going to meet on Monday mornings at 9:00am in Bradford Crossing – Phyllis Whitley’s home and the door is open to anyone who desires to join us. If we have too many we will move to Bethlehem Baptist Chruch. (864)680-4350. They will begin this Monday morning so that we will have enough weeks to complete the study over the summer! I will miss the first two weeks and many will be in and out because of vacations, etc. but the study will go on! If anyone would like to join us Father, You place it on their heart!

And so I open the front cover last night to the “inroduction” amd I was captive! Beth talked about her new bible! She talked about the things she had experienced through her last bible and different situations it carried her through! Oh Father, You know how much I feel the same way! I, too, bought a new bible after Hannah came to heaven – back in February but I haven’t been able to transition yet! You and I have literally lived in my old bible together moment by moment for the last year. The pages of that bible are priceless to me! Words and prayers are written everywhere – dates, landmarks. I received the bible from Mom & Dad on my birthday in March of 1996. In the fall of 1997 we began MIT. This is the bible I have prayed scriptures over the lives of my children in! I can’t imagine ever again having a bible that will mean more to me than this one!

But last night, it was as if You were giving me permission to “transition” to my new bible. Kind of like a “new beginning.” It brings tears to my eyes right now to even think about it but You know what Lord? I think I will take my new bible on the trip! I might even leave my old one here. It really needs a rest. The old one is like my dearest friend on this earth! Maybe I’ll take it too! Anyway, I thank You for the anticipation of my new bible and the way You will write on my heart the truths of its pages. I can’t see the road ahead. But what I have learned is that the truths that carried me on the pages of my old bible will be the same fresh new truths that carry me on the journey ahead! At the end of the into, Beth says

“I am filled with anticipation over what God wants to say to us over the next 11 weeks. Join me in asking the Ancient of Days to reveal Himself and His Son powerfully, majestically, and personally.”

And Oh, Ancient of Day, I’m asking! You pour it on!! I have never been more hungry in my life! Nothing satisfies like Your word!! It is living and it is thirst quenching!!! And I want to know it!!!

I must go pack my bag, Lord! I didn’t plan to sit here this morning and my heart was so full I couldn’t stand it! Oh Father, the other thing I’m asking is that You allow my guys to have a hunger for Daniel also so that we together can learn from its pages together over the next ten days!! Knit our hearts spiritually around Your eternal word!! In the strong name of Jesus, I pray!! Amen!! And Dear Jesus we are entrusting MaMaw to You! You must take care of her too while we are away! Thank You that we can trust You!! Amen!!

With great anticipation. . . .

Oh Father, one more thing I pondered this morning is the healing of all the precious care-givers and friends who loved so selflessly, ministered to Hannah and prayed for her over those 6 months! Oh Jesus please heal every corner of every one of their hearts. It was hard to watch her suffer. For whatever reason, probably because of so many prayers for us, You have protected me from replaying many “scenes” that could hurt terribly. You have covered me. I stood on and claimed that You would not give any of us more than we could bear and I believed it and You didn’t. But Lord, I am here asking for You to heal every heart that still holds things that are painful. I don’t only want Your healing for me, I want it for everyone who was involved with Hannah and she would also. Lord, You know the deepest recesses of every heart – meet every one in the name of Jesus I pray. And Lord let them each one know this day how dearly and deeply they are loved by me and our family!! And how their prayers have been answered – just not like we were thinking!! Will You take care of all of my friends too while we are away?? Thanks! Lord! I knew I could count on You!!! It is too big for me to try and take care of everybody! Ha!! I’m glad that is Your job!!

Protected in all four corners…

Friday, May 25th, 2007

I am praising the Lord today for His hand of continued protection on our lives and on this ministry. Yesterday I received a box of Boca Java coffee, four bags of delicious sounding flavors. There was no gift card but instead was a packing slip thanking me for my order and advising me of my next shipment. That threw up a red flag. Then I opened a small package that had a bottle of Himalaya Green Tea supplements. ??? Red flag #2.

I called Boca Java this morning to see if I could track down the origination of the order and confirmed my fears, someone has stolen the check card number of Hannah’s Hope Ministries and is making purchases online. The good news is that whoever is doing this is a tad clueless. They are making very small purchases, all of which total no more than $50.00. The humor is that they did not change the Ship To address so all of the purchases will ship to me! Not that I drink enough coffee that I would ever use four bags in a year, nor do I plan to pop any type of “supplement” after my experience with iron last weekend. I’ve contacted the bank and the account has been frozen and all is well with minimal damage.

Do you see God’s hand of protection on this situation? The reality of how damaging this could have been to our ministry financially is frightening to consider. But God said, “I don’t think so” and He allowed me to recognize the red flags before any more damage was done. Thank you, Father, for Your protection and for the sweet contacts at the bank that jumped all over this situation. You are not a God in need of anything we can give, By your hand that’s just the way it is. You are God alone!

“To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God. Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me. No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame, but they will be put to shame who are treacherous without excuse. Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long” (Psalm 25:1-5).

If we put our complete trust in Him, we can rest in knowing that we are protected in all four corners! Have a safe and blessed Memorial weekend.

Hope

Let me Stand in Awe of You Again!!

Friday, May 25th, 2007

“I Stand, I Stand in Awe of You!I Stand, I Stand in Awe of You!

Holy God to whom all praise is due, I Stand in Awe of You!!”

Oh Dear Father, I stand in awe of who You are! Of Your ways, Your purposes and Your plans! You are not a God we can “figure out” because Your plans and purposes are based on Your eternal perspective and viewpoint. So many times my plans are based on my limited perspective and viewpoint.

And You reminded me of that again on Graduation Day yesterday. A precious friend who has been coming to pray on Tuesday mornings called to pray with me. Her morning was full because the kids were getting out of school early and so we were able to pray over the phone. She prayed over our day and over graduation last night. I hope I will never forget one of the things she said during her prayer. She said “graduation is an “earthly thing” – it is not a “kingdom thing.” I don’t know if You put that on her heart as she was praying or if she had been pondering that fact, but in some way that truth spoken over this mother’s heart yesterday morning gave my heart freedom! Graduation is a wonderful milestone of accomplishment and worthy of much celebration. And it was a wonderful celebration last night. But my mind goes back to the song sung on Sunday morning after the graduates crossed the stage, “When it’s all been said and done. . . ” what matters in the scope and realm of eternity is my own individual relationship with the Creator God of the Universe. Graduation is another “starting point” – not a finishing point. We will never reach the finish point until we are in Your presence. You walked around the campus with me yesterday morning, prayed over the class of 2007 one more time and I shed some tears. It was healthy and healing. I am so thankful that You have allowed us to “walk through” some hard doors this week and You have been on the other side of every door. Our little steps of obedience are always met with a new sense of your presence, your victory and your freedom!

Your grace, strength and peace have been so amazing this last year and so we anticipated Your grace over yesterday and once again, You did not fail us! It would have been easy to “stay home” but what a blessing we would have missed by not celebrating with so many friends the graduation of their children. It was on the 11th of May last year, the day of Hannah’s surgery, that she was elected as Chaplain of Sr. class. I remember finding that out just before her surgery. I remember over the last year many times thinking that when You restored her health on this earth that You would allow her to stand before her class on Graduation night and declare Your praises and Your faithfulness to her. Well, she did – but not in the way I had imagined. You had chosen Martin Tiller to be the one who would “carry the torch” as chaplain this year. And as he stood to speak last night, there was no doubt that You had chosen him. What a precious young man – another life You have worked in and through and he too will “never be the same.” He shared several quotes that Hannah had written down. “A leader has a mission bigger than themselves.” “God is waiting to use us in an amazing way! Maybe he hasn’t called you or your family to serve full time on the mission field or pick up and move to a different country, but he has called each and every one of us as Chrisitians to turn our lives over to Him completely without looking back. By doing this we allow God to use us in ways that we could never even begin to imagine! Something to think about: When was the last time you asked God what HIS will for your life was? Are you willing to give up your own plans and agendas so that God can use you in an incredible way?” Hannah Sobeski

Your name was high and lifted up and Dear Jesus I pray that You will use the class of 2007 in a way that can only be explained by Your hand! Allow them to be a generation of young people who seek the FACE of God! You will not sell them short!

Morgan came up from Atlanta and sat with us for graduation along with Ally and Keighlee! What a sweet blessing! Tahir, the valedictorian spoke about compassion, kindness and generosity. In the end he mentioned Hannah and the example she had been to their class.

Mickey shared with me during the presenting of graduates that every year the class would put something into the hand of Jerry Wyatt, the principal. He told me that in years past it had been ping pong balls, pennies, puzzle pieces, etc. No one could see what the graduates were putting into his hands but at the end of graduation he announced that they had put bills (1′s, 5′s, 10′s) into his hand and that it was for Hannah’s Hope Ministries! Once again, we stood amazed at You and Your plan! Graduation was a wonderful celebration and a blessing to our hearts! Thank You for using it as healing for us. Nancy shared with me yesterday how important it has been that we have “walked through” these graduation doors because we will never be able to “go back” and relive the experiences of the last week and that we have allowed ourselves great healing in the process! And again Lord, I tell You, I want all of Your healing that is humanly possible. I desire to be “set free.” I choose Your healing and Your sweetness over any bitterness, hurt or pain!

You allowed us to celebrate with some of the graduates and their parents after graduation at Holly Hall! Another test of Your strength! And once again You proved faithful! The thought that came to me yesterday was, “How far will Your grace take us?” And then it was as if You said to me, “Where won’t Your grace take us?” It has taken us every single step of this journey and will continue! We acknowleege our daily need of Your grace and strength! A wonderful DVD had been put together by Laurie Buffo of so many memories over the years of many of the graduates! It will always be a treasure!

And then on Wednesday morning, I went to record a prayer for the end of the DVD that they hope to have completed soon for HHM! If I wasn’t able to talk to You and know that You are hearing everything I say to You, I can’t imagine where I would be! But Dear Jesus, You hear the prayers of your children!

And so another chapter seems to end and a new one seems to begin. . .

The last chapter will be the foundation of what shapes every chapter for the rest of our lives. Desire as we might, we cannot “go back.” We cannot change what has been. But we can allow it to shape us into what You desire for us to become! And so we “turn another page” in a sense. We will revisit the last chapter often and recount Your faithfulness but it is with a new sense of anticipation that we embark on this new chapter! One that has Hannah so much a part of it – but one where she will never be with us physically on this earth again! That isn’t easy! Mickey spent a couple of hours just laying across her bed the other night on her new T-shirt quilt.. He said he just wanted to kiss her good-nite and tell her he loved her. You passed that along, didn’t You?

On Saturday, the 4th of August, 1984 Mickey and I were married at FBC Shady Spring, West Virginia by our pastor, Preacher Joe Pizzino and Uncle Clay. On that day, we together began an adventure! On Monday, the 6th, we left in a navy blue Chevette loaded to the max (we couldn’t use the AC becasue it took all of the power) for Tucson, AZ where Mickey would be in graduate school for Athletic Training for a year! We honey-mooned across the country and it was a great beginning to our marriage! TX seemed to go on forever and we took almost a week to get there. We arrived on Friday afternoon and visited a new apartment building not too far from campus that would be our home for the next year! It was to be a furnished apartment but all of the furniture was not “in yet.” There was a bed and a couple of lamps. No table or chairs. We told them we didn’t care and would rather not have the furniture than have to pay for another motel through the weekend. They agreed and so we began “housekeeping.” It was a great year! An intense year of schooling and working for Mickey and a year of adjustment for us. I worked in a public accounting firm and was introduced to Bible Study Fellowship They were studying the book of Matthew that year. I had read Matthew many times and felt as though I knew its content. However, it was during that year You allowed me to see that I had no clue about who You were or how big You were. I had You in a little box all figured out! You began a hunger in my heart that year for Your word that continues to this day! Oh how much I don’t know about who You are!!

After that year, Mickey sent out applications to the East coast because we desired to get a little closer to home. He was flying to a little college in Murfreesboro, NC and just before he was to leave, he got a call from Dorman High School. He was offered both jobs but felt as though You were leading him to Dorman. I remember him calling me to ask if I wanted to move to Spartanburg, SC. I said sure, where is Spartanburg? We have been here for 22 years! It was all a part of Your plan, wasn’t it? I stand amazed!

Before we left, we had the opportunity to see the Grand Canyon and see many sights in CA, NV, AZ etc. Every since that experience Mickey has wanted to take the kids “back” to where we began! He has had that in his heart for a long time! We had talked about that possibility last summer. Someone told me that we had our trip with Hannah out west last smmer – to Houston. Not what we had in mind!

Tomorrow we leave for Raleigh, NC and fly to Tucson on Sunday morning! We hope to visit First Southern Baptist Church – the first church we attended together. Mickey was a Christian but was “put under the water” (baptized) in that church by Ron Hart. Last night we looked up to see that he is still the pastor! So many memories – we had one car and Mickey clocked many miles of walking from U of A to Tucson High School where he was the athletic trainer. We are planning to “redo” the trip we took before we left! Michael has been kidding us about “the loop Debbie and I took 22 years ago.” We are going to spend the night in Raleigh with John, Harriet, Amanda and Benjamin Davis. Amanda and Hannah were best friends for many years and she has choreographed a dance in Hannah’s memory that we will see on Saturday evening – it “just so happens.”

You absolutely blew me away by the Grand Canyon 22 years ago!! I was speechless and I couldn’t sleep at night because of its majesty! I am looking to see Your glory and Your majesty in Your creation in a way I have never experienced before in my life! I am desiring to see Your glory in Your creation! And I am anticipating the “new thing” You will begin in our lives together from this point forward! Hannah won’t make this trip with us but she has now seen Your glory in every bit of Your creation! And I know she wants us to see it too!

Oh Dear Jesus, be all over this trip! Show us Yourself! We will have to fly into Houston – that will be hard! But Oh Dear Jesus go before us and lay out Your path and plan. Mickey has worked so hard to put all of this together! Use it in each of our lives to point us in Your new direction of purpose and meaning for our lives! We want Your healing, Your joy and Your direction!

And Oh Father, be with Mickey’s mother while we are gone! Protect her, raise her up, strengthen her body physically.

I can’t wait to get to the Grand Canyon! To stand at its majestic edge!! I want to see Your glory! It is the only thing that will carry me the rest of my life! Your glory and Your presence! I want to “Stand in Awe of You” for the rest of my life!!

Give us so much joy and so many laughs with the boys! Knit our hearts in a new and even deeper way! And maybe Lord, You have even set me free enough to ride a roller coaster!! What is the worst thing that could happen? Ha!!

I love You, Lord and we have great anticipation in our hearts!!

Amen!!

 

 

 

 

An investment in eternal radiance!

Thursday, May 24th, 2007

We finished our Daniel Bible Study last night and WOW! what a way to finish! One of our last statements that Beth Moore provided for us to complete was “We have the assurance that lights willing to shine in the darkness will shine forever” referencing Philippians 2:14-16:

“Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.”

God’s word is a lamp unto our feet and light unto our paths. If we hide His word in our hearts, we will shine like stars in the universe! I wrote in the margin “Hannah made an investment in eternal radiance.” There’s no question that sweet child is radiating all over heaven! She has a new “star” that joined her last week. One of the young girls that Hannah met at M. D. Anderson and I reference in our book, Caroline Manley, graduated to heaven. She was 13 years old. They radiated God’s love on this earth and He has rewarded them for eternity!

“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1).

Walk faithfully in God’s word and love so that others will follow. Paul basically says in the above verse, “Follow me while I follow Christ.” Hannah was a leader and she did so without saying much at all. She wasn’t one to preach to you, she didn’t spend any time pounding you in the head with the scripture, she just lived it. My dad used to tell us that the best testimony is the unspoken one, the way you live your life. I think it was Saint Augustine that once said, “Share Jesus with everyone, and when necessary used words.” That is the example we have from Hannah Sobeski. Beth Moore closed the 12 week study by challenging us, “May we go our ways like Daniels.” The last thing the world needs from us is to blend in. Resolve to be different, take a stand, make an investment in eternal radiance!

Hope