Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Baffeled and Embarassed

I love words.

No seriously.

I am not well spoken or even overly educated for that matter but I love words. They can pack a lot of punch, have more power then intended or they can quickly lose meaning as we lose site of what we are hearing.

Words penetrate our souls. Deepen our understandings. Expand our imagination to places impossible.

Why is it then have they lost there value when it is seemingly most important? In todays world negativity abounds. I am bombarded with negative words by the hundreds upon logging into Facebook. Words like; "Hate","Don't trust ", "Kill", "Some people really need too..", "Stupid."

My question is why? Why do we feel the need to label, citizen, judge, and hate others before we are compelled to love, trust, encourage, and embrace one another? Do not get me wrong, I have been just as guilty of these words hitting my posts at times too.

It is my opinion that we don't think of the impact we are having when we are spilling our frustrations and reflecting our hurts. Not only to those reading it but to ourselves. By making the choice to put those words out there we are storing them in our hearts until they become all we see in the world.

We focus in on the negative and lose sight of the goodness and light of the world.

You see, I started down this path tonight when I was reading and soaking in the words of this great book. In it was words that HIT me. Words that came from God. "He was pierced for our transgressions..."

Well, being the squirrel that I am ...I thought of the song and immediately had to YouTube it.

Pretty intense. I cried. I bawled. I blubbered. Then I had this embarrassing epiphany. Even I had failed to literalize the words I knew to be true. I have read the bible as a story. Reminding myself later that it actually happened. I was not letting words sink in.

Words God intended for us to absorb with every ounce of our ability. To read and experience the pain, torture, and turmoil that Jesus has to go through for us. We don't picture the gruesome images that were portrayed in that video and I am sure were far worse then our imagination will allow. We don't let the impact of every ounce of sacrifice Jesus made FOR US hit our hearts as it was intended to do. At least not regularly.

How would we live differently if we watched this video every morning and started our day praising God for the gift only he would have been able to give?
He was pierced for our transgressions.
By His wounds we are healed.

It is horrifying that people could be that cruel to someone so perfectly good. We could totally and probably justifiably (I happen to be queen of justifying things) go down that road, but then we would be missing the point.

Jesus loves us enough to endure every lashing and piercing He received. Each one would have been enough for most people to give up. He believed we were worth every stabbing ounce of pain. He loved us in a beautifully, uncontainable way.

Leaving His words to guide us. Leaving His words to comfort us. Leaving His words to teach us.

God knew the power words can hold if we let them. We just have to choose to instill the right words into our hearts.

Mark Batterson said it perfectly:
“‘Let there be light.’ 4 little words that began to defeat darkness at 186000 miles per second. A minute later there were 11 million miles away with all of creation in its wake. Sound waves that God spoke began to create not just our little planet or our nearest star not just our tiny little galaxy but billions of galaxies. Those 4 words spoke at the very beginning of creation are still creating galaxies at the outer edge. That’s the power of God’s voice. That’s the power of words. That’s a picture of the words and the power of words that God has entrusted to each one of us.”

What will you do with the power the Lord has given you?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I'm aware

Today is infant and pregnancy loss awareness day.

But for those of us who have lost a child, everyday is our loss awareness day.

We are reminded daily of the child we live without. Sometimes suddenly without warning and others on our own behalf.

We are reminded of our children when we see yours who are the same age they would be.
We are reminded of our children when we look at our own and know there is one missing.
We are reminded of our children when we see a pregnant Mama.
We are reminded of our children when hear certain words.
We are reminded of our children when we hear certain songs.
We are reminded of our children when we see a special picture.
We are reminded of our children when we go to certain places.
We are reminded of our children when we see our family picture, minus one.

We are all reminded of our children constantly and have to make the choice weather or not we want to let our selves submerge in the memories of our loss and longing or weather or not we quickly move on into our reality. Both options come with the feeling of hurt and faint emptiness.

Our reminders are daily. Our reminders are painful. Our reminders are necessary.

You see, while with each reminder we quickly experience our loss all over again, we also have the opportunity to focus on the positive. That is the life of our child and while they may not be alive in this world they are more alive then our heads can contain in heaven. We can relish in the fact that our children will never know what it is to suffer or hurt. They will never feel pain or loss. They will never know rejection or anger. 

They know Jesus in a way we aren't able to in this world. They dance and play and love. They get to personally witness God and all his Glory. They live a life our imaginations can't touch.

As a mother, all I have ever wanted was for my children to come to know and love the Lord. To find the peace only He can offer. My son got a "go directly to Heaven card." He has the privilege of skipping the hard stuff and only ever knowing unconditional love. And while my soul desperately longs to hold him and see his beautifully created being, this Mama takes comfort in knowing that until I can my Donavin is rockin' it in heaven with Jesus.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Moved to Tears

I took a step back tonight.
I took a look at where this all started.
I am moved to tears by God's perfect plan for my life.

I lost my son. I gained more of His.

The blessings that have unfolded since that painful day are more then I knew to imagine for my lifetime.

I have been focusing solely on the journey at hand. Trekking the paths laid out for me with diligence and determination. Noting the blessings of beauty and hardship that surrounded me in that moment.

Tonight I took a look behind me at the picturesque landscape the Lord knew he was creating. The path I have been on is nothing short of beautiful.

Even more enthralling to me is what's to come. I can feel it stirring in me. I know it is good and I know God will be Glorified!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Tithing and How Much Can Change


Tough Subject.

A place of guilt for most, myself included at one point.

Strong opinions are plentiful on this matter. I would be lying if I said I wasn't slightly nervous about writing this out for fear of offending someone.

It took a leap but now I look back and wonder how in the world I ever thought where we were would be better then where we are now.

   You see, I was like many others I know. I started out giving what cash I could pull out of my wallet in time for the offering baskets to go by. Later giving myself a "well deserved" pat on the back for being so generous. (Paying no mind that I chose the $10 over the $20 that still remained safe in my wallet or that I spent more on coffee in a week then I gave in a month.)

  From then I learned it was about consistency. So I inconsistently tried to consistently tithe random amounts of money to God. Deceiving myself into thinking I was doing pretty good but hiding from the guilt of knowing that I should be giving more money. After all, God wanted more of my money right?

Lets just put that thought away...

Time moved on (Crazy how that happens!) We slllooooooowwwwwwlllllllllllyyyyyyy moved into regular giving. (I'm talking years people) Not always regular amounts but regular giving.

Then about a year ago, I entered a stage of growth in my faith like none I had ever experienced and along that journey my tithing practices were on my heart. I can honestly say that at that point I don't think I had ever tithed a full 10% of any income. I felt the Lord prompting me....challenging me in this area.

Scripture is very clear when we open ourselves to the Lord. I spent a long time justifying WHY I just couldn't give 10% or WHY it was OK that I didn't. "I help out at church." "I'll give when we start making more money." "We just moved into a more expensive place, once I get a handle on things then I will start tithing 10%"

I realized through that period of growth that most of my set backs, my issues with people, places, things, or even God and His word were my doing. They were my excuses. They were my justifications. They were my insecurities. They were my trust issues. Most of my hurdles were perfect placed by no one other than me.

So how was tithing any different?

There were a million reasons not to. There was only one reason to do it.

Trust in God.

After praying and discussing we started tithing a full 10%. I couldn't tell you the exact day or even the month. There was no profound moment or epiphany. Just a tugging on my heart and one of the most difficult decisions to make.

It has been a journey.

There was no instant lottery win but we had food on the table and a roof over our head for a long time when the math didn't add up. We came to a point of extreme financial hardship. Our bills were just more then our income. We came to a point where we were at a loss of what to do. My husband was waiting to hear back from an interview but nothing was certain and we needed immediate help.
We prayed. Hard. Not for more money but for guidance and for God's will to be done. We were prepared for whatever he decided for us, even if it included losing our house. We were at peace.

However, Through prayer and some very generous people God provided our short term needs.

During this difficult time, not knowing if we would need to move next month, our decision to continue to tithe a full 10% was challenged causing us to really evaluate our motives for our tithe.

We sought counsel, who graciously told us to go to scripture and to God. There was no quick answer.

So we prayed, we read scripture, and we asked ourselves why it is we tithe.

The answer surprised us.

It has absolutely nothing to do with the money.

It was our commitment to trust God, not just with money, but everything! It was a tangible way to say THANK YOU LORD for ALL you provide! It was an on going reminder of who is to be first in our lives! It was putting into perspective that money is worthless and God is our treasure!

 It was a weekly leap outside of our worldly comfort zone, into our spiritual growth.

The decision to continue to tithe a full 10% was possibly more impactful then the first.

I could go on to tell you that we have been blessed with new jobs and pay increases, which is true but holds little value compared to the ultimate blessing we have received through tithing. A deeper, stronger relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Now the only question we have is how much more to give. Lord, what would you have us do?

And Because I couldn't help myself, I stumbled across this gem a couple weeks ago:

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