Thursday, January 9, 2014

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

Over the last several days, the temperature here in East Texas has been pretty chilly! Late Sunday evening, our heat went out and we called our friend Glen who owns Duke Heating & A/C. He came right over. In a matter of minutes it was nice and toasty again in our home which was great since the temperature was predicted to dip down in the teens overnight. I don't know about you, but I don't particularly like to be cold. I will layer clothing, pile on the blankets, rub my hands together or even blow warm air from my mouth through my hands just to get a smidgen of warmth. Have you ever noticed in cold months how people seem to want to hibernate? It takes something extra to want to stick to the job, keep your kids happy in the house, get to church, or do just about anything outside.

I think we experience frigid temperatures in our faith, too. There are cold days when hope dies, love walks out the door, a friend moves away, the job ends, the doctor calls. God seems distant. A prayer fades in your throat before you barely utter a word. The Bible stares back at you with a blank page. Maybe its like spiritual frostbite. Dangerous. Painful.

During the winter we keep our fireplace going. I enjoy sitting in a cozy chair beside the fire with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate. The warmth of the fire makes me feel relaxed and it seems to help clear my mind of all the things I have swirling around in it! What if the church is intended to be God's fireplace? What about all the people who need each other's warmth to survive the winters of their lives? We need a place to warm up, relax, and be encouraged by other believers. I recently read a story of a man who stopped to talk with a young boy on a blustery morning while waiting at a bus stop. "Are you cold? the man asked. The boy answered, "I was until you showed up." To someone who is starved for a kind word or the warmth of a smile, even a casual but personal question can be life-giving because it shows you care. As a member of Christ's body, the church, will you warm someone else today? When you warm someone else with a smile, a hug, or a pat on the back, you receive their warmth back.

Stand beside someone who is standing alone. There are people all around us that ache for someone to put an arm around them and squeeze tight. Unless you've been there, you have no idea how good that feels to a person who gets little or no affection. Not everyone has a spouse, parent, or even a friend who offers physical touch, but everyone needs it. Experts say twelve hugs is the minimum daily requirement. People who know me know that I love to give and receive hugs!

Touch someone with a warm word. There are people who are subject to other people's complaints all day long. Give a compliment or a friendly greeting to a store clerk, janitor, nurse or office manager. Their ears are hungry for something positive, encouraging, and helpful to the spirit. Think of as many phrases or sayings that can bring a smile to all of the faces you will meet throughout the day. Bring them JOY! Lending some kind words might mean making someone's day. In the extreme cold of life, we need each other. Reach out and warm a heart!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Dashed Hope (Making Sense of It All)

Over the past few days I have been reflecting on life events from this year. I must be honest and say that although I'm thankful for all the blessings I've received in 2013, I'm also feeling some disappointment because my biggest hope for this year has been "dashed".

At the beginning of this year, Emma was recovering from surgery on her feet to help her to walk. She had little pink casts on both legs to protect the incisions where her achilles tendons were released. On January 1, 2013, I put a picture of her standing in her gait trainer  and asked for prayers for her to walk this year. Many of our friends and family member from all over shared her picture and story. By the next morning we had hundreds of "likes" and comments with words of encouragement. The local newspaper heard about it and contacted us about writing a feature article. Friends came together and "Pray for Emma" tee shirts were made to help with medical bills. I just knew this would be her year!

As this year comes to a close, I'll say what is on my mind as I try to make sense of it all. Very little about Emma's life makes sense. From getting that first phone call about a tiny baby girl needing a forever home, the emotional roller coaster we were forced to ride while wading through the muck of the legal system just to make her officially ours, to receiving the devastating diagnosis of cerebral palsy. The only way to account for the happenings in her life is to believe that God works miracles and He has a plan that supersedes our senses. When I consider all the reasons why God's plans don't make sense, I start to feel justified in running far, far away!!!!! My heart and mind feel this is what is best. Then, just about the time I get my running shoes tied, I'm reminded that He keeps His promises. He hasn't run out on me. He is running beside me like a coach training an athlete for a marathon. My marathon is this life.

One of the highlights of this year for me was to attend a Hillsong United concert with some very dear friends (our praise band from church) who are a huge support system. Taya Smith is featured in the song "Oceans /Where Feet May Fail". I had heard it before the concert and listened to it many times. The lyrics are perfect: "Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters, wherever you would call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander, and my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior."

I will go with God even when He calls me to do something that goes against everything I ever thought I would be doing. All of those years ago when He called me to ministry, I thought He was calling me to Student Ministry. Little did I know He was calling me to be the mother of a Special Needs Child. It is the hardest thing I've ever done. So, when I said my greatest hope for this year had been "dashed", what I meant was I had intended for Emma to walk this year, but God said, "not yet".

To listen to "Oceans /Where Feet May Fail" click on the link below

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Ch...Ch....Ch Changes

Over the next few weeks there is a BIG change a comin'! See, I'm preparing my heart for my eldest child, to LEAVE the NEST. That's right! He's going to spread his wings and fly all the way to Austin, Texas. The State Capitol. Where they say they are "keeping it Weird"! He's going to be a Longhorn and attend the University of Texas. I am extremely proud of him because he has worked very hard and has a very nice resume with all of his accomplishments from his high school career. However, I AM NOT READY for him to go. It seems like we just brought him, YESTERDAY! Where did eighteen years go???? I know that he has a good foundation and with lots of prayer along with the mighty hand of God leading us, we've raised him right and he is definitely ready for this next phase in his life. However, I am the one who isn't ready for this! I have warned my family that I might be the first parent to lay out in the middle of the football field while bawling and squawling during the graduation ceremony. Just kidding! Not really.......but the potential is there.

In preparing my heart for this life changing event, I can't help but think about how Moses' mother must have felt when she placed her infant son in a basket and sent him out in the crocodile infested Nile River. But, I'm reminded of the Lord's presence during that time. God protected him and even brought him into Pharaoh's household where he was raised among the sons of Egypt. I know that God is going to continue to have his hand on Caleb's life and He will be "with us" as we let Caleb go.  My prayer for all my children is: Go with my children, Lord. Be with them wherever they go, and in whatever they do. I pray they will know you as their Immanuel (God with us).

Thank you, Lord for your presence and your protection. Also, thank you for all you have blessed me with! "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!" Ephesians 3:20-21

Monday, April 8, 2013

Holding on to Hope

Once upon a time there was a beautiful little princess. The little princess was born to a young lady that could not take care of her so, she asked for help. God knew of a family who had prayed for a baby girl to love and take care of. God blessed them and gave the princess a forever family.

The little princess was welcomed by a Daddy, Mommy and two big brothers along with many more people to love her. After a while, the princess’s mommy noticed she wasn’t developing the way she should be and thought it would be best to take her to see a doctor. That doctor visit prompted several more doctor visits with lots of testing. When the princess was one year old, she was diagnosed with a condition that effects her brain and muscles along with how they work together called Cerebral Palsy. The princess could not walk, talk or even sit up on her own. The princess’ mommy and daddy were very sad because they wanted their little girl to be happy, healthy and able to do the things that other little girls her age could do. 

Mommy was so sad and heartbroken over this news that she prayed to God and asked Him “why?”. “Why does my baby girl that I’ve prayed for and wanted so badly have this awful condition?” God quickly reminded her that He doesn’t make mistakes! He said, “I have called you by name. I chose you guys to be the princess’s mommy and daddy.” In God’s word it says, “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons and daughters through Christ Jesus, in accordance with his pleasure and will.”---Ephesians 1:4-5
Mommy said, “but, Lord, I don’t know what to do! I don’t know how to take care of her!” He said, “trust me to show you the way. Do you trust me?, he asked my mommy. She said “yes” but I’m afraid I won’t do it right or that something may happen to my baby girl. God again told her to have faith and hope in him and He would help her. He promised he would never leave her and would be right there with her ALL the time. He also said He has big plans for my life. 

What is faith? Faith is being sure and certain of something. Faith is believing God is who he says he is and believing in his promises--that he will do what he says he will do. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” God assures us that all who honestly seek him and believe he is who he says he is will be rewarded.--Hebrews 11:6 When we believe that God will fulfill his promises even though we don’t see those promises materializing yet, we demonstrate true faith.

Many doctors told my mommy and daddy that I would never walk, talk or much less be able to function on my own. They even said I would remain as an infant for the remainder of my life. (Which, by the way, they said would more than likely be a short life) So far, I’m proving them wrong! I’m now a thriving, smart, and happy 4 year old princess! I do have lots of challenges that I face daily. Many tasks that come natural or easy to you are extremely difficult for me. For example, chewing and swallowing food is extremely hard so, whoever is feeding me has to take extra caution to keep me from choking or aspirating on food/drinks. As for talking, my mommy and daddy say that I speak with my deep brown eyes and long eyelashes. I am still not verbal communicating yet but I am learning to use an ipad to make choices to tell you what I want. Recently, I said my name for the first time. It was a really BIG deal! Everyone was so proud of me and clapped and cheered. ( I don’t really like for people to do that. It makes me shy and I want to hide my face) On December 14th I had surgery on my feet to help me walk. My family and friends are hoping and praying that I will walk this year. My mommy is certain that I will walk! She says it may not be while we are here on earth but one day when we get to heaven, I will get a new body and there will be no more CEREBRAL PALSY! She says then I can walk, run, dance and sing with Jesus. Do you believe this too???? Will you be in heaven one day?  If you don’t know if you will be or not, ask Jesus to come live in your heart today. He is waiting for you to ask him. He died on the cross so you can live with him in heaven. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Everybody is God's Somebody

While watching a recent episode of Oprah, I was moved to tears. As I listened to the story of 82 year old twin sisters, Helen Ashe and Ellen Turner, I was so inspired by their story of giving to those in their community who are in need. The episode was really suppose to highlight Dani Johnson, who went from homeless to millionaire, and her adventure on the season premiere of "Secret Millionaire". However, as I watched, I couldn't help but focus on these two feisty sisters who were all about serving others. During the interview the sisters told of ideals instilled by their parents and how thankful they are for the truths their father taught them: 1) there is only one Father and that is the Heavenly Father, 2) there is only one race and that is the Human Race, 3) never take the last piece of bread from the table because someone may come by who is hungry, 4) Everybody is God's Somebody.
In 1984, Helen dreamed of creating a program to serve the needy in her community of Knoxville, Tennessee. one day she saw a soup line operated by a local church and she knew then what her mission was to be. Her twin sister, Ellen, quickly shared her excitement and joined her in her venture. That dream became a reality in February, 1986, in the basement of a small church. The first day the "Love Kitchen" opened it's doors, 22 meals were served. Today there are 2000 meals served each week with more than 80 % delivered to the elderly who are homebound.

This story and a sermon series by Pastor, Jeff McDonald entitled "Beyond These Walls" has really impacted me and stirred my heart about how I can minister to those in my community who are in need. Jeff  recently gave some statistics about how many children are on the "Free and Reduced" meal program in our school district. This makes me wonder what these children have to eat on weekends or more importantly during the summer months when school is out? I also wonder, how many elderly and homebound residents are there in my community that don't have anyone to even check on them regularly? Much less, make sure they have food to eat? I am reminded of this scripture:

Matthew 25:35-40 (New International Version)

35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
   37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
   40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

I am praying that the Lord will reveal to me what he would have me do to further His kingdom. I have many things going on in my life. Since Emma has special needs, my schedule is pretty full. However, I still have this constant thought coming to my mind, there are so many people in my own backyard that need to know somebody loves them and cares about them.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

I'm Baaack!

To my faithful followers who check my Blog regularly to see if I've made an entry, my sincerest apologies. It seems I have been too busy to sit down and post what all goes on in this crazy mind, much less, the latest news concerning the CADE CREW. The last few months have been pretty busy. I won't bore you with that and besides there isn't enough space on here to tell it all. Needless to say, I have turned over a new leaf and I will put forth my best effort to keep you all up to speed on current events.
I hope you will be waiting on the edge of your seat, with baited breath or however you see fit. I will have a new post soon, I promise!
Blessings to you and yours!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Wrestling with an Angel

This is from the book entitled ,"Wrestling with an Angel" by Greg Lucas. It speaks volumes to me!
“I hear religious minded people say all the time with good intentions. ‘God will never place a burden on you so heavy that  you cannot possibly carry it.’
My experience is that God will place a burden on you so heavy that you cannot possibly carry it alone. He will break your back and your will. He will buckle your legs until you fall flat beneath the crushing weight of your load. All the while He will walk beside you waiting for you to come to the point where you must depend on Him.
‘My power is made perfect in your weakness,’ He says, as we strain under our burden.
Whatever the burden, it might indeed get worse, but know this-God is faithful. And while we change and get old, He does not. When we get weaker, He remains strong. And in our weakness and humility, He offers us true, lasting, transforming, and undeserved grace.”

-Greg Lucas