Stress, Sadness, Celebration, and Blessing

A quarter of a year has past since I sat down to write to you. That seems so weird to say, a fourth of a year has come and gone. I didn’t intend to go so long without writing about the journey of trusting the Lord that I have been on, but the writing just did not come. The end of September, October, November, and December brought about many joys and many sadnesses and now I am ready to share it with you.

Five days after my last post, Allison, the friend fighting cancer whom I asked many of you to pray for, passed on to be with the Lord. My heart broke. While I had not been close to Allison in life, I felt an intense call from the Lord at the beginning of her journey to be a prayer warrior for her, her husband, and their sweet baby Judah. God called me to pray at all hours, while I ran I prayed, while I worked I prayed, in the middle of the night I would wake up and pray, and I begged many others to pray with me. Only one other time in my life have I ever felt so desperately compelled to pray unceasingly (some may know her as a sweet little miracle named Maybre). I was sure that the Lord would save Judah and heal Allison. I believed so strongly that He had an amazing tale for Allison to tell and would draw so many to Himself with her story.

I was right in believing those things. They just didn’t unfold the way that I thought they should…the Lord calling me to trust Him more.  Judah is full of life and healthy, a sweet little baby boy. Allison is healed of all that ever ailed her on earth and now lives with her Heavenly Father. On October 17th, 2015 at Allison’s Celebration of Life, I watched in tears and in awe at what the Lord is doing with her story and how He continues to use her to draw people to Himself. I felt personally stirred by Allison’s young life to seek the Lord more deeply and to more strongly pursue the things He has placed on my heart. The Lord whispered to my heart that Allison was much more needed with Him and He would use her life to bring so much glory to Himself and to Allison. It was a gift to watch how many people were and are touched by Allison’s faithfulness, see some of it here.

Also in September, I began a journey at school that has repeatedly broken my heart and my heart continues to bleed for many of the children at my school. I had my first of several encounters with needing the police and CPS to intervene. So many of the children I serve, teach, and love everyday do not live the life you and I plan to or do give our children. My heart has not yet learned to live in the tangle of caring about my students/my children, trying to help and love them, and still giving these cares to the Lord for Him to carry. This has been an on going struggle for the past 4 months. I clearly cannot share much of their stories so please pray for my students and their families, their safety, that the Lord reveals Himself to them, how I can help them, and how my heart should respond to these situations and how my heart should respond to the Lord.

I don’t think I can think of a time where I have felt at the same time so much pain and joy at the same time, which I might add is very uncomfortable. While Allison was going to be with the Lord and school had become a very sorrowful place, the Lambert’s were adopting their beautiful baby girl, they had been awaiting her arrival for years (read more here and here). I was and am ecstatic for them. Another couple, we love dearly was also getting their bundle of joy through adoption. It was so confusing, painful, and beautiful to watch the Lord work in so many different ways.

During all of this, we were preparing for our new home and getting ready to move. We watched prayerfully and joyfully as the Lord and the construction workers built our home. It was a beautiful time, we wrote verses and prayers on the frame and foundation of our house, family came and wrote well wishes, proverbs, verses and prayers for us, as well. We visited frequently praying for the house, the people that worked on it, the ministry we would have in and through it, and we prayed above all else that it would be dedicated to the Lord and His work and that we would not forget that. The Lord planted beautiful things in mine and Luke’s hearts, the seeds of what He has next for us and what He would use our house for.

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My heart constantly was and is skipping from joy to sorrow. At times I felt and still feel overcome by the sadness and grief in my heart and then in an instant joyous over the many amazing gifts that the Lord has brought: babies (adopted and birthed) of friends, marriages, debt reduced by over $40,000, a beautiful new home, a job that gives me my husband back, friends completely giving themselves over to the Lord, engagements, pregnant friends, myself growing so much in trust and faith, and whispers of joys, ministries, and service to the Lord yet to come.

These three months have been amazingly and awfully difficult and yet amazingly beautiful and joyful. I have learned that I cannot save the world, the people and children I love, or even myself, that job is reserved only for the Lord. I feel here and now, I begin to embark on a new journey of trusting even deeper and in new ways our awesome Lord. Won’t you come too?


A Little More

WARNING: This post is not my typical post and does not deal with my normal content… it is more controversial….

There is a lot of controversy going around this week (and just let me go ahead and add to it ; )*, Friday being the day that the federal government legalized gay marriage in all 50 states, even though that is a state issue. All the controversy, arguing, and general atmosphere of hate surrounding this topic has been so sad and overwhelming to me. But God is still God no matter what we say or do, thankfully, and I just want to remind myself and my fellow Jesus lovers out there that our commission is to make followers of Christ and to love our neighbors as ourself. I don’t know about you, but “myself” felt the hope and love of Christ before I knew I needed a Savior…before my sin was lovingly pointed out to me and I realized I needed to repent and it most certainly wasn’t rudely shouted about on social media. I felt broken and down and He was my hope, He offered love and forgiveness and healing…I wasn’t scared into loving or accepting Him by knowing I would go to Hell if I didn’t stop my sinful ways.  If you were, color me surprised.

I can’t find any verses in the Bible about Jesus trying to force people into His way of thinking or following, accepting, or even loving Him, He pointed things out to people that CAME to Him. Like the way He spoke to the woman at the well and how He spoke to your heart when He called you to Himself. And if they didn’t want Him, He didn’t yell at them or chase them and demand they see His side.  I also don’t recall Jesus, Paul, Peter or anyone else trying to stop, change, or in anyway influence the government. I am NOT saying there isn’t a time and a place or a reason to fight for something you believe in as far as the law is concerned. I am just saying, have we forgotten our purpose? Have we forgotten that this world serves evil not God and His perfect will?

I wonder if we are trying to make this country a mini heaven, a comfortable place to live until we go to Heaven? Rome, Jerusalem, or Corinth didn’t have  “Christian friendly” laws that nicely matched up to all the beliefs laid out in the Bible. WHY do we think our country should do that?!?!?! So confusing to me. Guys, things are going to get worse and gay marriage will be the least of our worries and it seriously already is folks….come on… we want to blow up Facebook with our outrage on gay marriage, when there are children being killed by the likes of ISIS, people in other countries literally being killed for their beliefs, people starving to DEATH, sex slaves, people in our own country being gunned down for their color and faith and we are freaking out because some people can get married now?  I’m confused as to how that bothers me, hurts me, or stops me from pursuing my purpose in life, loving Jesus and making disciples.

But yelling about it, being ugly about it, and posting damning things about it, certainly does hinder me from my purpose…making disciples. No one, is changing their opinion or lifestyle because someone yelled out to Facebook how upset and outraged they are. Because let’s be real, YOU are making it all about YOU. Those posts are about our rights as Christians, our freedoms as Americans, and don’t get me wrong I hate having my things taken away or infringed upon, but that feeling in me didn’t come from Christ it comes from my own selfish wants and desires. Yet, Christ calls us to die to self. I have yet to read a post (and I read as many as I see) that was really trying to appeal to people that don’t know Jesus and get them to love Him and reached out to them by being upset by this ruling and even if there are those articles, I doubt they will work. This is not about about me or you or Joe the Jesus lover down the street. It is not about going to Heaven and saying Jesus aren’t you happy I really told those guys they are sinners…IT IS about God and His glory and His amazing love and how He is going to use this situation for His glory because that is what He does. IT IS about going to Heaven and bringing a bunch of folks with you.  That is ALL of our purpose. GOD said so! I could be wrong I doubt it though, but I don’t think arguing with people is going to help me reach my God-given purpose in life (so I won’t be arguing with anyone in the comment section FYI).

And please, please, please, PLEASE my heart begs of you please don’t insinuate in anything that is posted online that gay people are going to Hell or aren’t saved. WE DO NOT KNOW THEIR HEARTS!!!! The heart is what matters folks and we do not know who has accepted Jesus Christ into their hearts. IF we are saved based on whether or not we sin, we are ALL going to HELL. Our lives do reflect our hearts, but we do not know where someone is in their faith or what they are wrestling with the Lord about. Please don’t say or type things like that, its embarrassingly pompous of us to assume we know who the LORD has saved.

This sermon that Shea Sumlin gave had some great things to say about marriage and Christ and this article speaks my heart and love for people struggling between what the Bible says and their pain in the very first lines and brings up some interesting thoughts. I love both of these, they are both very thought provoking. They are directed at a Christian audience. And follow this link for more posts on marriage  and some great thoughts from Sheila over at To Love, Honor, and Vacuum on the Supreme Court ruling.

To sum up this post that hopefully moves us to love and our purpose as Christians and scares the poops (my new favorite word) out of me to post, this world is not about us.  We are promised a rough time and persecution by loving Christ, we are not promised our “rights”, preferences, or the favor of our country. So let’s do what we are asked to do, follow Christ in making disciples.

*I try very hard not to shout my opinions on social media because I realize that does not reach hearts most of the time, like speaking in person does, but I felt led to write this. This is thoughtfully and prayerfully written, not flippantly written please do the same in commenting :).