Irrevocable

Today I put the final entry in my journal of over 3 years.  It wasn’t a big journal.  It was something that I wrote in sporadically.  As I filled the final page I reflected over the past three years and changes I want to make.

I felt a general feeling of sadness.

I haven’t been as close to the Lord as I could have been.  I wasted a lot of time.

I wrote out my last entry with some pretty basic goals/hopes for the coming years.  I want to see my baby healed.  I want to be closer to God.

I opened my Bible to Romans 11 and read “….for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.” Romans 11:29  I love the word “irrevocable”.  The Greek word here is ametamelétos which means “about which no change of mind can take place”.

The call on your life, the gifts God has given you- those things are irrevocable.  Does that give anyone else a tremendous sense of comfort? 20170712_130709

“For those God foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers.  And those He predestined He also called, those He called He also justified, those He justified He also glorified.” Romans 8:30-31

Foreknew.  Predestined.  Called.  Justified.  Glorified.

I can’t type these words without tears welling in my eyes.  There is a destiny on your life that supercedes the things that bog you down, the pain that leaves you crippled, the sin that separates you from your Father.  His call, his choice…it’s irrevocable. 

“Lord, fan into flames again the dreams you put into our hearts.  Work in us the will, the desire to obey you.  Help us, Lord, to be courageous and to be more than overcomers through Christ Jesus.  Thank you, Lord, that you knew us before the dawning of time.  You chose us and your banner over us is love.  We love you and we trust that you are working all things out for our good, because we love you and are called according to your unshakeable, irrevocable purpose.”

 

 

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A Decade

As I have been getting the ball rolling on starting college I have realized it has been a full decade since I was a student.

A decade of holding little hands.  I graduated high school 7 months pregnant.  Future didn’t look super bright.  I remember trying to fill out the fafsa form as a single 18 year old mom and being overwhelmed with fear and insecurity.  I didn’t go to school.  I watched as my peers went through their college years and everything I was missing.  I felt pangs of regret for wasting my time in high school and not reaching my God-given potential.  I remember seeing older moms and how confident and self-assured they seemed and thinking, “surely confidence will come with age and life experience.”

I realized yesterday that it indeed has.  I again faced the fafsa form (now online).  I felt only mildly overwhelmed.  I called to request my transcripts from my old school… “we’ll have to transfer you to archives…”

Life experience, motherhood, walking with Christ; it has changed me.  The confidence gained has been hard won through weathering all kinds of storms and finding my identity in Christ.

The school of ‘hard knocks’.  Just kidding.  But for real I have faced all sorts of challenges in raising these little ones.

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Of course being a wife has made it all possible.  The consistent love and support of my husband has helped shape me and made me into who I am today.

2015-01-04 15.19.19My ‘baby’ Shiloh will be three next week.  I know she’ll be in school before I know it.  I feel like the time is right.

The winds of change are blowing.

Truth be told, I have always wanted to be a counselor.  Since I was a child, once I knew there was a job listening to people and helping- that was what I wanted to do.  Once I got older and realized that it required a lot of schooling (expensive schooling!) I thought I better chose something more practical.  Like nursing.

I tried to sign up for nursing classes like 3 times but the fear and uncertainty stopped me.  I realize now that it just wasn’t right for me.

When, prompted by my little sister, I took the Meyer-Briggs personality test I came up as an INFJ- branded…wait for it…. the Counselor. 

With time though I realized the dream isn’t going away.  It is getting stronger.  I really believe this is what God designed me to do and if I don’t do it, I will regret it my entire life.

I know that the Gospel changes lives.  It changed mine.  I want to spend my life serving God and helping hurting people.

I thank God he made me a young mom.  It has been a precious and sacred journey.  A decade of one hand reaching toward God’s and a small hand tucked in the other.

Resurrecting Dreams

Ok, this is a clip from a kids movie, an awesome kids movie.  This is my favorite scene from my favorite childhood movie.  I think God can speak to us in so many ways.

“Remember who you are….He lives in you.  You are MORE than what you have become.” 

Holy Spirit goosebumps galore.

I’ve let fear and low confidence stop me from pursuing my dream for so long.  I want to be a Christian counselor.  I need to go to college for that (duh).  It isn’t going to ‘just happen’.

So I am going to do it. *deep breathe* I am going to sign up for online classes and start this journey towards seeing these dreams of mine become reality.

What are the dreams of your heart?  Do you know they are most likely put there by God himself?

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Romans 8:37

“For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?” Romans 8:29-31

Through the Storm

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I’ve shared a bit about my 6 year old son, Gabriel and his health struggles.  We’ve been battling eczema for about three years.  He also struggles with anxiety and fear.

I think it really began before he was born.  The pregnancy was awful.  My husband and I went through a brutal custody fight for my son, Michael.  I was consumed with anxiety and fear and couldn’t sleep at night.  I started having major health problems that continue, in a way, to this day.

He came into the world in quite the dramatic way.  Three weeks early I was up most of the night with intense contractions (sorry guys, avert your eyes!) my water broke after my husband had driven to work (an hour away!)…I called him to race home and take me to the hospital (which was a 1/2 hour away).  He made the trip somehow in half the normal amount of time.

I was gripping the counter when he got home and practically swearing like a sailor!  We raced off to the hospital through morning traffic.  I was in active labor and we were dealing with pokey drivers!  Through the contractions I noticed one of the most beautiful sunrises I had ever seen.  I remember thinking, ‘what a beautiful morning to be born.’

I staggered into the hospital alone as Tim parked the car.  It was close.  They rushed my into the delivery room.  It was too late for any pain relief.  I was freaking out, totally unprepared for the pain and urgency.  Then the umbilical cord prolapsed and it turned into a dangerous life or death situation.  Gabe’s heart rate was dropping as his oxygen supply was getting cut off.  The Doctor raced in from the parking lot (there had been none there incidentally when we arrived) and the room filled up with nurses ready to take me in for an emergency C-section.  The Doctor told me I had to push this baby out NOW.  I bore down through the agony and pushed with everything I had.

I think it was only a minute or two before he was out.  It was awful.  He was blue-ish and not moving.  I started crying out to God and they whisked him away to give him oxygen.

He was pretty tiny at 5 lb.s 10 ounces but healthy and beautiful.  1931405_115168950073_2317_n

We went to ‘meet’ our son in the nursery and while all the other babies were crying Gabe quietly looked up at us.  He was so alert and calm after such a dramatic birth.

He has been such a blessing and joy to us.  He got my hazel-brown eyes and sensitive soul.

I see in him a heart for ministry.  He is so sensitive, loving and caring.  He is so receptive to the things of God.

I feel in my heart that he has had to deal with so much because there is a very real struggle for his destiny.  He had low muscle tone and needed a lot of help learning to walk.  He has always struggled with fairly severe anxiety.  And a little crusty patch that started on the back of his knee has slowly consumed most of the surface of his skin with dry skin, crust, and oozing sores that itch constantly.  It is a constant battle.  He often doesn’t sleep well because of it.  He is often in pain.  The eczema has brought us to our wits end.     My baby and I last summer- 10574293_10202019693968587_408779126700107518_n

So, yesterday when my mom texted me that there was going to be a healing service especially for children at her church that night, I was all over it.  Just before we left ominous storm clouds had blown in.  Gabe and I got into the car just as heavy rain started to fall.  Pretty soon the rain got heavier and it started to hail.  I thought briefly about turning back, as it was an hour drive.  I pushed on though because I felt like this was some sort of bizarre spiritual attack to keep me from taking Gabe to the service.

I drove slowly through the rain and hail, while many people had decided to pull over to the side of the road to wait it out.  I felt a growing sense of purpose and destiny in this trip.  For most of the way I could see a beautiful rainbow ahead, seemingly leading me through the storm.

As I type I have tears in my eyes.  There is nothing like seeing your beloved child suffer.  It has been a hard road.  I’ve held onto the verse and promise that God will cause all this to work together for Gabe’s good.  It has been a pretty big leap of faith a times.  20150503_173812_resized

The service was very anointed and Spirit-filled.  Pastor C.J. at Discover Family Church in Burnsville was prophetically calling people out of the audience to recieve healing.

He spoke about a passage in scripture that I had just been reading.  How Hannah had dedicated her child to the Lord, her child that had been an answer to prayer.  I thought about the many times I had dedicated Gabe to the Lord in prayer.

My mom and I brought Gabe up to be prayed over.  Pastor C.J. prayed over his mind (without me saying a word about his anxiety) and spoke to my fears- that Gabe IS going to grow up to be a strong healthy young man in spite of the diagnosis and words spoken over him.  He looked me in the eyes and said, “you need to protect him.  He has a very special call on his life and the enemy is trying to stop it.”  He prayed for me as well and told me a long-awaited breakthrough is coming.

I think of the importance of a single life.  Jesus died for it.  The enemy works furiously to destroy it.  Every life matters.  Every human being is knit together with inherent purpose, destiny, and value.

Perhaps Gabe’s healing with be a process that we will have to keep walking out.  Please pray for us.  I want so much to triumph and completely derail the enemy’s plan for my family.  I want my children to grow up to be mighty warriors for God.

20150503_204946_resized  -My little Warrior

I know the struggle is real.  I feel like the enemy tried hard take me out and very nearly succeeded.  I am determined to stand against and expose his schemes.  He will not get my kids.  I will stand in the gap.

“‘Then I passed by and saw you kicking about in your blood, and as you lay there in your blood I said to you, “Live!” Yes, I said to you while you were in your blood, ‘Live!'” Ezekiel 16:6

If I had a ‘life verse’ that would be it.

We serve an Awesome God.  We have to go through many trials to inherit the Kingdom of God, it’s true.  But there is always a rainbow after the storm, when God is involved.

He looks at the dying and hopeless and says, “Live!”

I will look at my difficult situations and chose to trust and believe and know that God is working out something huge.  Every trial is shaping and strengthening us and bringing us closer to a God-breathed destiny.

“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

The Dance and the Dream

“You deserted the Rock, who fathered you; you forgot the God who gave you birth.” Deuteronomy 32:18

The Hebrew word here for ‘gave you birth’ is חוּל– chuwl meaning whirl, dance, or writhe.  It is associated with childbirth and anxious longing.  I really love the intimacy of it.  God is laboring in a sense, over each of us.  He is dancing with us.

I understand as a parent that the labor process doesn’t end when the child comes into the world!  It is really just beginning.  You tenderly care for them, love them, nurture them, you are there for them through the good and the bad, watch with great joy as they develop… you have hope and dreams for their life.

This verse shows that God very much feels the same about us, his children.  He carefully formed us and chose the exact time in human history we would be born.  He gave us our characteristics, personality, giftings, and room for flaws as well 😉  He has hope and dreams for each one of us.  He longs that we would go through life ever mindful of our Father-creator.  That we would engage him in the dance of life.

There is a song by Casting Crowns called ‘Let me Dream for You’.  Some of the lyrics are-

So come on, let Me dream, let Me dream for you
I am strong when youre 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

It speaks to the deepest parts of our heart.  We all long to know that we are loved, that our lives matter, that there is a reason for our existence.  There is.  God is bigger, better, and kinder than we know.  He wants to dream for you today.