Yesterday was nothing short of divine intervention

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I’ve been thinking about God’s timing a lot recently, about how all things work as a part of His divine plan that we just cannot understand on this side of Heaven. Yesterday was an interesting day, to say the least. And without God’s amazing timing it could have worked out so differently than it did.

Depending on how you look at it, yesterday I saved the life of a baby or almost killed a baby. Without God’s amazing timing, that baby would have died yesterday afternoon. I guess I should start at the beginning.

Because of everything going on with the family right now, my weekly schedule has changed quite a bit. I used to go to my mom’s on Wednesdays, but I’ve started going on Thursdays the past couple of weeks. On our way there, I knew I was going to have to stop at the local grocery store, and I considered stopping on my way there rather than on my way home. In the end, I decided just to stop on my way home.

We spend the afternoon together and I ended up getting a slightly later start home than I wanted. While shopping, the boys dragged their feet and basically just made me crazy as I was just wanting to get home. We finally got up to the checkout, and as the cashier started to ring me up, I realized that I had forgotten the one thing my husband had asked me to pick up. I wasn’t going back through the store.

As I loaded the boys and groceries into the truck, I considered texting my husband to see if he really needed what I had forgotten. Then I remembered that the small town we were in had just opened a Dollar General and I could get the forgotten items there. It was the complete opposite direction I had planned on going, but I decided to run over there anyway. We drove around the block and pulled out on the main road.

Heading west, the sun was shining down on us, and it was a little hard to see. A car a little ways ahead of me swerved to go around something. I wondered if it was a bicycle. No, that’s to small to be a bike. Is there a dog in the road?

As I got closer, the object became more clear. IT WAS A BABY WALKING IN THE MIDDLE OF MY LANE!

I slammed on my brakes, turned on my flashers and put the truck in park in the middle of the road. There were a couple of cars behind me and I was scared to death that they would swerve around me and hit the baby. I opened my door as fast as I could, hollering to the boys that they were not to move, and motioned to the car behind me to stop. I ran up to this little girl who couldn’t have been much more than a year old toddling down the road.

Where I found her, there were a couple of houses on both sides of the road but no people anywhere. I wasn’t even sure what house she belonged in. A buggy stopped as I reached and picked up the little girl, and a man ran up and started hollering for her parents. I asked if the closest house was hers, but he didn’t know. I carried her up towards the house as another little girl, around five years old, came running up from around the back of the house. The front door opened and her mom came out.

I was so sick and shook up all I could say was, “She was in the road.” I handed the baby over and the woman just stood there looking at me. “She was in the road.” As I started to head back to the truck, the woman said that the child had just been in the yard and thank you.

I got back into my truck and the boys told me how nice it was that I saved that baby. I was just sick. I wanted to throw up. I was shaking.

How amazing is God’s timing? If I had gone over to Mom’s a day earlier like I used to do, I wouldn’t have even been in that county yesterday. If I had gone to the store before going to Mom’s, I wouldn’t have been in that town. If I hadn’t forgotten something, I wouldn’t have been on that road. If that first car hadn’t swerved, I may not have seen her. (Why didn’t they stop?!)

Everything that happened led up to me being in that place at that time.

The next time that something doesn’t seem to go according to your plan, or you forget something at the store and have to make an extra stop, remember this story. Maybe the reasons won’t be as obvious as they were yesterday but know that it’s all a part of His plan.

What happened yesterday was nothing sort of divine intervention. I was at that place at that moment because that was right where God needed me to be.

Let Him Dream For You

It’s been a rough summer around our crazy little house. Although we are normally happy and mostly healthy, we’ve had some rough times. I’m a little sorry I used Laura Story’s Blessings for last week’s Worship Wednesday. It would have fit perfectly with our week this week.

I talked a little about how our vacation was not all we wanted it to be, about how so many things had gone wrong. We thought getting sick was the last bad thing that was coming out of the camping trip. We were wrong.

We had a 10 month old puppy who we took camping with us. He enjoyed it all but the fireworks for the 4th. Last Thursday as we were all finally recovering, our puppy started throwing up. Saturday morning we learned that he caught Parvo, and he had to be put to sleep.

With the time line for the puppy’s sickness, the vet was pretty sure he got it while we were camping. And the whole family has just been heartbroken. 2crazylittleboys have been champs, but there have been very hard times through this all. After I took the dog’s cage down, the three of us sat on the couch and cried.

It’s been a rough month for pets around here. At the beginning of May we had 3 fish, a puppy and a cat. Today we have two fish. Our cat died a couple of weeks ago from old age. I’d had her for 14 years. It’s strange there being no animals roaming our house at night.

So now you understand why last week’s song would make so much sense this week. It just fits. I know there are blessings in these rain drops and mercies in these tears.

Since I’m not going to use the same song two weeks in a row, I’ve chosen a song today that gives me great joy. This song fills me with hope. I may not be able to see God’s path for me, but I know He has one and it is great. And it’s Casting Crowns again. I could use their music every week. It’s all so great.

 

Dream For You

Hey, David, I hear you’ve been dreaming
About being a big time shepherd some day
You’re gonna prove your brothers wrong
You’re gonna sing your shepherd song
To the cattle on a thousand hills
But I’ve been thinking

I’m having trouble with a giant down the road
You’re the one who’s going to face him toe to toe
Wipe that grin right off his face
And whip this army into shape
I’m going to turn the nation back to Me
And, David, you’re right about one thing
Your little shepherd songs are going to make the whole world sing
And I’m gonna make you king

So come on, let Me dream, let Me dream for you
I am strong when you’re weak and I’ll carry you
So let go of your plan, be caught by My hand
I’ll show you what I can do
When I dream for you
I have a dream for you

Hey, Mary, I’ve heard you’ve been dreaming
Making plans for your big wedding day
You and Joseph are gonna be
The picture perfect family
Maybe a couple of kids down the road
But I’ve been thinking

Even before time began
I had a picture perfect plan
Of how to save this broken world
Through the life of just one man
I’m gonna send my only Son
And, Mary, you’re the one
You were right about one thing
You’re gonna have that family
And you’re gonna raise the King

So come on, let Me dream, let Me dream for you
I am strong when you’re weak and I’ll carry you
So let go of your plan, be caught by My hand
I’ll show you what I can do
When I dream for you
I have a dream for you

I’m stronger than you think I am
I’ll take you farther than you think you can
You sing and call Me Great I Am
So take your stand

My child, if you only knew
All the plans that I have for you
Just trust Me, I will follow through
You can follow me

So come on, let Me dream, let Me dream for you
I am strong when you’re weak and I’ll carry you
So let go of your plan, be caught by My hand
I’ll show you what I can do

So come on, let Me dream, let Me dream for you
I am strong when you’re weak and I’ll carry you
So let go of your plan, be caught by My hand
I’ll show you what I can do
When I dream for you
I have a dream for you

If you haven’t heard the song, you need to play the video below. The words are so powerful and the music just adds to it with its fast tempo.

I love this song. I can picture David with his sheep. He thought he was just going to be a shepherd. Taking care of his flock was his big dream, proving to his brothers that he wasn’t too small. From his spot on the hillside, he couldn’t see God’s big plan.

David wanted to tend to his flock and God gave him His flock to take care of. God had a dream for David, and it was so much bigger than anything David could have thought up on his own.

And having planned my own wedding, I can imagine Mary, so excited to be getting married. Sure, her planning would have been much different from mine, but a bride is a bride. She would have been excited and probably nervous. She would have had this idea of how it was all going to work out. How could she have even begun to imagine God’s big plan for her life?

She would have thought that she and Joseph would get married, have some kids and live happily ever after, but how much more amazing was God’s plan? Mary became not just a mother, but the mother of The Son of God. There’s no way anyone could imagine that being God’s plan for their life.

As I look at my life, it’s not what I imagined. Sure, I always thought I’d be a wife and mom. But being this mom, this wife? This is so much better than I ever imagined. And having this spot to write these words and then having all of you come and read them? I never could have imagined this.

If we let go of our plans and look to God, where will He take us? He took a little shepherd boy and turned him into a king. He took a young girl and made her the mother of the King. What amazing plans does He have for you and me?

I pray we can all let go of our own plans and get caught in His hand. How amazing is it when we let Him dream for us?

 

 

You can find all of the Worship Wednesday posts here.

Sometimes God’s Blessings Really Do Come Through Rain Drops

Laura Story’s song Blessings has given me some new perspective. It’s an important way to look at some of the things that happen to us and around us. I really felt led to it. I heard it for the first time a couple Saturdays ago and thought it would be a great song for our Worship Wednesdays. The next morning, it was one of the songs we sang at church.

Blessings

We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering

And all the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way to much to give us lesser things

‘Cause what if Your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if the trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your word is not enough

And all the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe

‘Cause what if Your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if the trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not,
This is not our home
It’s not our home

‘Cause what if Your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near

What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life
It the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
What if the trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise

 

 

What a way to look at life! I can look back on my life and see so many times where, if God had answered my prayer with a yes or given me what I asked for I would not have the blessings I have today. Had I not had the heartache years ago, I would not have the amazing husband and crazy little boys I have today.

We went on vacation for the holiday weekend. Most of our electronic devices use the same charger, but my husband’s phone uses a different one. Both chargers were packed, and his was seen by both of us, not only before we left, but once we arrived at the campground. Somewhere between the car and the camper, his charger disappeared. We didn’t realize it was gone until his phone was dead. It was very frustrating to us that we couldn’t find it.

It was later that we realized what a blessing that missing cord was to us. Things happened that would have angered and frustrated both of us and taken away from the fun and family time we were having with our 2crazylittleboys. It was nothing that couldn’t wait and things we had to eventually deal with, but God blessed us with that night without frustration. (Although it would be nice to have that cord back now.)

I look at the illness and pain I’ve had and at the time I wondered why I was suffering, but now I have an amazing story to tell. Look at my oldest and how much he went through at birth. That hardship has blessed us with so much. We didn’t know until he was four that he had hearing loss, which was so heartbreaking to learn (more to learn so late than the loss in general), but because he had trouble hearing, he has learned to pay attention to the smallest of details.

There are times in all our lives where God loves us so much He just says no. There’s are those times of such darkness when we think God is so far away and He is just loving us and setting us up for so much more. He’s loving us through the hurt and pain and frustration straight into something so much more.

Look at what you are going through right now. Look at the hardships and heartaches of your past. Where have they led you? Where are you going? What if His blessings are coming through your tears?

I talk about God’s plan a lot. This song is just another reminder that His plan is bigger and better than ours. And while we may not be able to see the road ahead, know that He is using this time in your life for His betterment and yours.

You can find all of the Worship Wednesdays posts here.

The past

Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about the past. My last three posts have been about specific things that happened to me in the past. The past makes us who we are in the present.

I met a girl when I was in my late teens. In fact, my favorite picture from my senior prom is of me and her. Even though she was a year older than me, when we met she was a friend of my younger brother. Suddenly she was always there, a part of the group that was always at our house. And one day it just clicked.

We became a matched pair. There were many years when I wondered if God had made her just for me, and me for her. No one understood us like we understood each other. At the time I laughed, saying that God made her my brother’s friend first but my friend forever. We were sure that no matter what happened, we would always be together.

We laughed together. We cried together. We dreamed together. We made plans together. We couldn’t imagine a time when we wouldn’t be together.

As we grew through our late teens and early twentys together, we had a plan. We dreamed about our weddings. We talked about the kids we would raise in houses side by side. There was never a time we could envision being apart.

We shared other friends, but we always came first with each other. If we weren’t with the guy we were sure we’d end up with, you could count on finding one of us with the other.

 

Looking back

 

The past and our memories are so tricky. There are those time that you think you will never forget that become faint memories, and then there are those time that you wish you could forget that stay with you forever.

One night I can remember like it was yesterday. A boy broke my heart, again, and there she was. We, the two of us and a couple of others, were sitting outside of my house in that small town. My car was parked on the curb with the radio playing Phil Collins “Against All Odds.” (We may have had it on repeat. It was our anthem.) We dug a hole in my front yard and buried things in it that reminded me of him. It started to rain, but she was still there with me. Sitting here tonight, I wondered if anyone ever found them after we moved.

We laughed together. We cried together. Sometimes we even laughed and cried at the same time. Being with her grew me, not only as a person but also in my faith. Her faith in God was so strong, and she brought me along with her. I was never far from God, but she brought me even closer.

One of the hardest memories I have of us was the day we said goodbye. I had decided to head south. I needed to make a change and had family I could go stay with. It was heartbreaking to leave her behind, but we laughed about how I would send for her. Our plan was for me to go first. I would get settled, and then she would come and join me. We would build our futures together in the south.

During the month between the time my plans were made and the day I would leave, our plans changed again. She would be heading west for a time, leaving just days before I would head south and getting back after I was gone. It would change our short-term plans but not the long-term ones. Instead of me leaving her, she would be leaving first. And when she returned from her trip, I would already be gone. I think that made it harder for both of us to go, but we both knew it was the right thing to do.

 

The beginning of the end

 

And that’s when everything changed. Her short trip turned into a full-blown move west. My move south turned into a summer trip. I remember how hard it was to be home without her. I remember always being sure that I was enough to bring her home. I remember missing her so much even though we tried to stay in contact.

We both made new friends. We both started new lives. We talked on the phone regularly. We sent letters and cards. On one of her rare trips back, she introduced me to my husband. And even then, when I thought about the future, I imagined us together.

She told me then that she was never moving back. Honestly, I didn’t believe her, but we talked of both moving to the middle, of the plan to grow old together, of raising our kids together, of knowing that no matter what, as long as we had each other everything else would be okay.

It turns out she was telling the truth. She never moved back. I married that amazing guy she introduced me to, and she moved all over the west side of the United States. I started a family, and she found a calling. I’m called Mom and she’s called pastor. And as happens with time and distance, we drifted apart.

We tried to hold on. We tried to keep those dreams of youth alive. But we both changed. I’m not sure those girls we were would recognize either of the women we are today. And as people do, we drifted apart. I didn’t even know it was happening until it was too late. And, looking back, I hope she didn’t notice either.

Today we can peek into each others lives through Facebook. We wish each other a happy birthday. Rarely we send real, thought out messages. If you weren’t there for the years when we were as one, you wouldn’t know that at one point we had trouble breathing when we were apart.

 

His plan is better than ours

 

God has a plan for all of us. He knows the choices we will make. He knows the path we will choose. In the spring of 2001, He knew that I would be coming back and that she wouldn’t. He knew we wouldn’t be raising kids in houses side by side. He knew I wouldn’t send for her, and He knew she wouldn’t come,

If I has stayed in the south, I wouldn’t have met my husband. I wouldn’t have the two amazing little boys that are curled up together right now. If she had come back, she wouldn’t have met her husband. She wouldn’t be ministering over her church. I wouldn’t be who I am and she wouldn’t be who she is.

There have been days when I have missed what we were with a pain so intense that I curled into a ball and cried (and prayed that she had days even worse), but I know that we are both where we belong. And I wouldn’t trade a moment of what I have today for a life time of what we were then.

I believe God puts people into our paths for a reason. My life today would not be what it is without those years she and I spent together. There are so many things today that I can point to and say, “She helped get me here.”

Look at the people around you. Look at the people in your past. Look at the people who have come and gone, whether you’ve drifted apart, or they’ve died, or are still there.

God has a plan, and it’s better than any plan I ever made. All those people are a part of His plan for you. She was a big part of His plan for me, and I hope she knows that I’m a better person for the time we had together. I hope I’m a part of His plan for you, and if I am, I pray my words help lead you down the right path, His path.

 

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” -Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

Jesus is hurting with you Part 2

In my last post, I talked about emotional pain and how Jesus not only experienced those same hurts, He is experiencing them now with you. So now lets talk about physical hurts.

Jesus knows about physical pains. Matthew 27:29-30, “When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head…Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head.” He was beaten and whipped. He was nailed to a cross. He died a horrible death. Jesus knows about pain.

Along with the hurts that Jesus himself experienced, Jesus was also surrounded by people with hurts. The sick, the injured, the weak, the blind, the deaf, the mute, the lame, the lepers. Matthew 15:30 says, “Then great multitudes came to Him having with them the lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others; and they laid them down at Jesus’s feet, and He healed them.”

Jesus saw the hurts in the people around Him. And through their faith He made them whole. Jesus felt His own physical hurts, and then rose above them and conquered death to make us all whole for all eternity with God.

A fake brain what?

In 2000, I was diagnosed with an, let’s call it, interesting condition. Its scientific name is Pseudotumor Cerebri. Basically it’s a fake brain tumor. Yep, fake, nonexistent, not really there, you get the point. It is an incurable disease that comes on with little to no warning. So at any point my body could start reacting as if I have a brain tumor. Obviously this is not a common disease and those of you who know me in real life may not even know about it.

My first symptoms were extreme dizziness and trouble with my vision (which could best be described as sunspots all the time only in funny shapes. I had elephant shadows dancing in my vision most often.). I had CAT scans and MRIs and was treated for a number of things including ear infections before a doctor figured it out and sent me to a specialist.

Pseudotumor Cerebri makes your body believe you have a brain tumor, and then your body begins to fight against a tumor that isn’t there. Your optic nerves begin to swell (which cause the vision problems and can even lead to blindness) and it puts increased pressure on your brain (causing migraine like headaches and other pains).

I had a spinal tap to measure intracranial pressure (ICP). It is measured in millimeters and normal is 7-15. I don’t remember what mine was that first time, but it was very high. I had vision tests and learned that the blind spot in my vision is twice the size of a person with normal vision (although not big enough to affect my everyday vision.)

I was put on medication that made all food taste bad (great weight loss plan). I went through a time of deep depression where I was extremely lethargic (which I don’t actually remember but have heard stories from). And eventually the symptoms just went away. We called it remission because there isn’t a cure and the symptoms can come back at any time.

In 2004, shortly after we were married, my husband got to experience first hand the “fun” of Pseudotumor when my symptoms came back. I found a new eye doctor who then sent me to a Neurologist. I had another spinal tap. That time my ICP measured at 36 mm (again normal is 7-15). More pills and less depression later, I was in remission again.

Remission didn’t last as long that time. In 2006, around the same time as my second miscarriage, my Pseudotumor reared its ugly head again. Although I couldn’t get a doctor to say it, I knew in my heart the two were related. Weight gain and hormonal changes can bring the disease on, and when your body starts fighting a war, it fights everything.

Not only had I just been through another miscarriage, I was alone when the symptoms came back worse than they had ever been before. My husband was away on business and my parents and grandparents were in the Caribbean on a cruise. I could barely see because of the fog in my vision and the pain was unlike anything I had felt before. It wasn’t only a headache. This time the pain was in my neck, back and shoulders to the point where it hurt to move.

I laid on the couch and cried. I cried out to God. And finally I managed to get my phone with the hope that my mom would be somewhere that had cell service. Looking back, I’m not sure the exact order of everything that happened next. I do know that eventually I got ahold of my mom, and she then called my cousin who came over, took care of me and took me to the doctor.

Later my doctor said that he didn’t know how I was able to stand, let alone walk that time. With that much pressure on your brain, you shouldn’t be able to function.

Jesus is still healing the sick

Eventually my symptoms started to calm down again. There were so many people praying for me. There were churches that I didn’t attend praying for me. And I know that God hears and answers prayer.

It was my mom who said to me that maybe we were praying for the wrong thing. Maybe instead of me getting better, we should be praying for my healing.

That thought caught me off guard.

There were two parts to it. The first part is to only pray for things you believe can happen. If I didn’t believe that God would/could heal me, then there would be no reason to pray for it. Did I truly believe that God would heal me? Not just make me well but rid my body of this incurable disease.

The second part is knowing that sometimes God doesn’t answer prayer the way we want Him to. Sometimes He answers with a no. I know He has a plan that I can’t see and sometimes the answers don’t make sense at the time.

That may have been the day that I changed the way that I pray, the day that I started to be more exact and more aware of my words. We started to pray for healing over just being better.

I can’t tell you what God’s big plan for me is, and I can’t tell you the reason any of this happened. What I can tell you is that I haven’t had another episode since September 2006, and I absolutely believe that God healed me.

Today I have no problems with my vision. Today I rarely get headaches. Today I have 2 crazy little boys. Today I am healed.

I don’t know why some people are healed and some are not. I don’t know why some people struggle with pain and hurt every day and some do not. What I do know is that God has a plan bigger than you and me.

And someday all who believe that Jesus is the Christ will be hurt and pain free.

This is what happens when you just flip open your bible

I was in the mood to write tonight, but I didn’t have anything burning to write about. Since I mostly write about my faith, I decided to just open my bible and see where God led me. I flipped my bible open to the New Testament and landed at Philippians 1.

“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have in my heart, inasmuch as in both my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace. For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ.” -Philippians 1:3-8

This feels like a timely scripture. It describes how I feel about all of you who take the time to read my words. For some of you, it is vague. Some of you, I don’t know or I do know, but I don’t know that you read this.

Some of you, it is specific. I pray for you by name. I think of you always. My best memories include you. You are my life and my love.

And I do greatly long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ.

Having a blog is a very strange experience. It’s a place where I write for myself. I write when I feel led, when I have something to say. And then a crazy thing happens.

You read it.

And it amazes me every time.

Now I know that it doesn’t matter what I write, my mom is going to read it. It could be just a bunch of random words, and she’ll click on it every time, along with my grandparents.

But the rest of you? You take the time to read this. You don’t have to and chances are high that I’ll never ask you if you’ve read it. But you do and this scripture made me think specifically of you that I don’t know (or know but don’t know read this) and my closest friend in Nashville.

So that was my first thought on this scripture. My second thought was on “being confidant of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ”.

God has begun a good work in all of us and will continue to until the day Jesus comes to take us home. God has a plan bigger than me and you. God’s plan is so big we can’t even begin to fathom it. I know that he is working in me, and I know he is working in you whether you know it or not.

I know that everything that happens God is using for his plan. My part in God’s plan is so big in our terms that I can’t see it and so small in God’s terms that it’s hard to believe that I matter.

But I do matter. And you matter, too, whether you believe or not.

God is using us all, and we are all an important part of His master plan. And His plan is so big, you don’t have any idea what part you are playing.

I pray that you all know you are a part of God’s master plan. I pray you know the amazing power of Jesus Christ. Thank you for being part of my part of God’s master plan.

This passage made me think of you all so I shared it with you. If it brings someone to your mind, I hope you reach out to them, even if it’s in a really vague way like this.