Raising up the Broken to Life

It has started happening again, and I promised myself I wouldn’t let it.  All the old stresses and lies creeping back in.  The stresses of my house is not clean, my kids are not clean, my schedule is a packed mess and so is my brain type stresses!  I knew this would happen.  Its why I wrote this post: I Never Want to Forget…  But now, being in it again, its not as easy as I thought it would be to turn off all the crazy and hone in on what is most important.

Today I found myself in my kitchen, frantically cleaning and packing lunches in between the 9:00 am dropoff, the 11:30 am Gymboree Class, and the 1:00 pm pickup (seriously, like already??) and I just…had…to…stop.  My brain has been whirling lately and 90% of it has been downcast thinking.  The wah wah wah’s of all that is bad about me, my days, and my current state of crazy.  Its a mindset I am familiar with, but honestly it hasn’t flared up again since Gideon.  Gideon changed things, and now here I am changing back??  No.  I can’t.  I won’t.  But what can I do.

For me its praying and singing praises.  When my mind gets full of lies and my days gets full of scheduling, its easy to get into the routine of giving into the first thought that pops in my mind, whether its good, bad, or ugly.  Sometimes I need to just stop.  Stop.  And while stopping not filling that space either.  Not even running to my journal, or writing, or reading, or studying…not even those very good things.  Just stopping and letting words escape my mouth on an over to over basis.

This morning it was these:

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound

that saved a wretch like me

I once was lost, but now I’m found

Was blind but now I see

I can see you now

I can see the love in your eyes

Laying yourself down

Raising up the broken to life

Bringing up the broken to life.  Bringing me up, from broken to life.  That is what He did in me before and I know He can do it again.  Yes even the mundane small issue of my today.

My husband said something very wise in response to my blog post last week.  He said, “You know what is really awesome?  Is that God meets you in the exact moment and in the exact way that you need it.  And it won’t be the same for us as it is for someone else.  God meets us each according to what is going on in our own lives.  He knows us.”  Dave is so right.

At one point I used to hesitate in writing, in blogging, in sharing because I was afraid of people either criticizing or praising me.  I was afraid of the criticism for obvious reasons, but I was afraid of the praise because I know if I do anything at all that is praiseworthy it is not mine to take credit for.  And if God has done something amazing in us, in our family, in our lives, and in our loss it is not something to copy and paste…its something to bring attention to how amazingly strong, powerful and good God is.

And so today, it was me in my kitchen, dropped bread at my heels that I was about to put away, my cute 2 year old looking at me like I was a mad woman, and singing at the top of my lungs because that is what I needed to get the junk out of my head.  It might look different for you.  In fact I pray that it does.  But I believe God wants to meet you in your kitchen too.  Or bedroom, or office, or the horrific carpool line, or classroom, or dorm room and give you too a stop dead in your tracks think on the God of this universe moment.

This weekend I went to a Mother Daughter retreat with my very good friend Greta and her daughter Joyner.  I was out of my skin excited to spend such time with my daughter Faith and to go to a place where she too could have a meeting with God moment.  She was a joyful ball of contagious excitement and I wanted to live in every moment with her for forever.  At one point she even looked at me and said “this is great!”  And it was, it was a memory with her I will treasure forever.

But I hadn’t tackled my brain crazy before I left for it, and at times I found that my mind was simply going through the motions.  See that’s the thing, I’m not sure if its both men and women…you can holla at me and let me know what you think about that…but I somehow have the ability to be both entirely present in mind and body in one place and totally still off in lala land burdened by something at the very same time.  I was there with my daughter, with my friends, having a blast and so thankful for that time but the lies of life were still swirling and they needed more attention then just me keep pushing them aside.  Pretending they weren’t there at all.

ricecrispie

Thank God that even sometimes, though our brains are distracted, He still blesses us with amazing memories and learnings.

Thank God that even sometimes, though our brains are distracted, He still blesses us with amazing memories and learnings.

I needed to stop.  To stop fully and wholly and hone in.  And I don’t know about you but for me I need to battle bad thinking out of my mind until it finally leaves.  This was the verse I kept reminding myself of, “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.  The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”  2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Divine power, is right.  Strongholds, is right.  Having to literally weapon away thoughts that crumble my spirit, that…is…right.  For clarification purposes I will confess that in the midst of the stress my brain decided to convince me that I am a pretty crappy person, that my decisions are horrific, and that every large to small regular life hiccup that our family experiences was somehow traceable back to me.  I shouldn’t write, I shouldn’t teach, I shouldn’t do anything but sit on my couch and feel bad for the people who have to know me.  Please I’m not telling you this to feel bad, not at all.  I am being honest with you in hopes that maybe, just maybe, you might think like this too sometimes and realize that you are not alone.

Do you need to stop dead in your tracks for a minute today too?  If you do, I am praying for you.  That God will meet you in the perfect time, place, and way to show you that He is there and that he wants to bring your broken to life.

If you haven’t been able to tell already, I’m mildly/very obsessed with Hillsong United and they sing the Amazing Grace version I was embarrassingly belting in my kitchen called Broken Vessels.  Here it is, its another good one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are You Fixated On?

Driving off of a bridge into water with my kids in the car.

Intruders coming into my house at night to hurt us.

Miscarriages.

Spinal taps.

Tsunamis (this is due to recurring tsunami nightmares I have)

Sharks, definitely getting eaten by one.

Cancer.

Jesus coming back again (just being honest, the idea of the end of the world used to freak me out).

Car accidents.

Plane crashes.

Tornadoes.

Shootings.

Being too fat.

Being too skinny.

Being a terrible, mom, wife, person, friend, family member.

People being mad at me.

Baby Loss.

Child Loss.

Losing a baby far into pregnancy.

Loss, crisis, tragedy…death…

When Faith and David were little little I remember laying in bed each night so plagued by the fact that my immense love for them seemed to have created in me a heightened sense of fear.  I couldn't sleep thinking of all the terrible things, out of my control, that I feared could happen to them.  I wondered how I could survive with fear weighing heavily on me all the time.

When Faith and David were little little I remember laying in bed each night so plagued by the fact that my immense love for them seemed to have created in me a heightened sense of fear. I couldn’t sleep thinking of all the terrible things, out of my control, that I feared could happen to them. I wondered how I could survive with fear weighing heavily on me all the time.

These are all things I used to fear on a regular basis.  You might have a list like this too.  I wonder what yours looks like?  I am sure it looks a little different than mine., but if we are honest, the list can get pretty long.  Too long.

I got the privilege close after Gideon passed away to speak to a group of women about all that God had taught me through carrying and losing a child.  I shared similar things with them, about all the things I used to be afraid of.  When I was finished talking one of the women looked at me and asked, “You mean you really don’t fear those things anymore?”  This question took me a little off guard.  I found myself pausing and asking myself, “Wait, DO I REALLY mean it? Do I really not fear them anymore?”  What happened in me next is why I am so excited about teaching a class on fear.  What happened in me next is why I was so confident that my answer was truly YES.  Yes I really mean it, I don’t fear them anymore.

What happened in me next was a fast rewind and fast forward sequence in my mind of all that has happened and what could happened.  I pictured the ultrasound, the crying, the kisses, the casket, and more crying.  I saw the Gideon tattoos, Gideon Blue, Gideon Bear, and the peace of Christ transcending all understanding.  Then my mind wandered through my fears.  I pictured losing another child, car accidents, drownings, even plane crashes.  All in a whirl my brain went to all the scaries of the past and future.  All the places we don’t want our mind to go because it ups our heart rate and prompts anxious living.  When I went “there” what I found was that my heart was still…well…at peace.  God’s work in me stood strong.  His surgical removal of fear was successful and that is why I cannot wait to sit hand in hand with my friends and sisters in Christ and show them what He showed me.  

“Therefore we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”  2 Corinthians 4:16-18

The pages of my Bible are tear stained.  On my darkest days, when I could barely get out of bed, if I mustered up anything it was just to open up the Bible.  If even for a second to grasp at a truth to get me through the next moment.  What I found is that that the options are limitless.  When it comes to the human heart and our feeble attempts to grasp control of our life,  the Bible is full of help.  Because I believe that more than anything, throughout history, fear grips hearts.  I mean there were days and still are places where war lives outside of front doors.  Outside the very beds where babes sleep there is death and destruction.  The mother, the parents of those children, they are just like you and me.  Fear potentially taking hostage every second of everyday.  What about The  Roman Coliseum?  I cannot explain to you why, but I have thought about those families a lot.  What did it feel like to be staring at the gate, your precious children in your arms, knowing that once its raised you will be brutally murdered in front of a crowd.  How??  How…how…How as a world, as a race, as human kind are we even still functioning knowing that such evil exists?

When I was suffering from morning sickness while pregnant with Gideon I was reading a book called Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God by Noel Piper.  The book chronicles women of faith throughout history and what they sacrificed and went through.  It was the perfect medicine for my whinings about simply being nauseous.  One in particular stood out to me.  Her name was Ahn Ei Sook, a Korean woman who stood strong and bold in her faith during a time in the 1930’s when the Japanese were occupying Korea and requiring all people to bow before a shrine of the Japanese sun goddess.  Shrines were built in every city and village and one day, as a teacher, Ei Sook was required to take all of her students and bow to the shrine in front of Japanese officials waiting to arrest anyone who didn’t.  Ei Sook said this, “I could honestly say I was not afraid of dying, but I feared being tortured without dying.  How long could this body endure?  What if I gave up my faith under the relentless torture?  Just thinking of it made me so faint I could hardly see where I was walking…’Let not your heart be troubled,’ Jesus was saying to me. ‘Believe in God, believe also in me…I will not leave you desolate…Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you…Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful.’  A light was turned on in the darkness of my heart…My fear of suffering was transformed into the thrill of starting some splendid adventure.  My mind was calm.”

It is a quick and easy read that really shows what the power of God can do in a life dedicated fully to Him. http://www.amazon.com/Faithful-Women-Their-Extraordinary-God/dp/1581346735

It is a quick and easy read that really shows what the power of God can do in a life dedicated fully to Him.
Its on Amazon here.

Its a beautiful thing to be able to think of such horrors and somehow find peace.  To be faced with mental, physical and/or emotional torture and find calm,  Its what I pray God continues to accomplish, not only in my heart, but in the heart of many.  You see we FIX our eyes, with an obsessed life gripping fixation, on what is unseen.  We do not lose heart.  Though the days are evil and life can be scary, we do not lose heart.

My daughter prayed for me the other day.  It was a moment I will cherish in my heart for all days.  She has not always been the “prayer” of the family.  Her brothers like to chime in and even fight over who gets to pray first!  Any opportunity for sibling rivalry in our house.  I guess prayer is as noble of a cause as you will find! But, this particular night Faith offered to pray for me.  Daddy sweetly shared that I was leaving to go share with the women’s ministry about my class and it would be good for them to pray for me.  Faith spoke up and uttered the most precious words, “God I pray you would be with Mommy tonight.  I pray you would help her to not be worried and I pray that Mommy would know that you are with her every single moment.  Amen.”  Has there ever been a more perfect prayer?

Today I pray for you too, in the words of sweet Faith,  may you not worry and may you always know that God is with you every single moment.  Amen!

Be Strong and Take Heart

Sunday was just one of those days.  The hard, but good, sad, but a woman made new type of crying days.  I did have a warning that it would be like this when my friend Greta texted me before church, “Bring your tissues, you are going to need them.”  It felt good to be known, to be thought of and loved and so I went to church as prepared as I could be.  Off I went with a little faster heartrate, my three kids, and my sweet sister in law Rachel.

As soon as the sermon began I knew why  it was going to be one of those mornings.  Besides the fact that it was the 31st (Gideon’s 5 month anniversary), besides the fact that Mitch was preaching (our pastor who literally walked hand in hand with us from the day of diagnosis until the day we had to say goodbye), and even if it was only for those two things I might have been weepy…but to top it off Mitch was preaching on what we should do in times of crisis.  “And you will have crisis,” he said, “if you aren’t in crisis right now you probably will be soon and you need to know what to do when it happens.”

The first time I sat in Mitch's office, I couldn't even say Gideon's name.  It hurt too much.  I couldn't imagine what was to come and everything felt like it was spinning out of control.  Months later Mitch stood as a pillar of strength for our family.        This was a precious moment, as Pastor Mitch got to give kisses to the very baby he watched change our lives forever.  Mitch is a big reason why Gideon's name is so precious, sweet and easy for me to say today.

The first time I sat in Mitch’s office, I couldn’t even say Gideon’s name. It hurt too much. I couldn’t imagine what was to come and everything felt like it was spinning out of control. Months later Mitch stood as a pillar of strength for our family. This was a precious moment, as Pastor Mitch got to give kisses to the very baby he watched change our lives forever. Mitch is a big reason why Gideon’s name is so precious, sweet and easy for me to say today.

Mitch is right.  I wish he wasn’t.  I wish that this life came with some type of “pass.”  Some type of “okay you’ve done your time and now you don’t need to worry about one more bad thing happening to you for as long as you live”type pass.  But no matter who we are, how “good” we think we’ve been, or even how close to God we are there is no such pass.  Its hard to hear, but its true.  And so we should be prepared shouldn’t we?  Not fearful or worrying everyday when it will happen.  But armed and ready and surrounded by people who will love us and care for us when it happens.  Grounded in truth that even in death, there is hope.  We will be redeemed someday.  And in all of this a weird thing happened on Sunday morning.   I listened and I cried and I missed my baby boy, but all the while deeply peaceful because  I know that even if it happens again…God will be there then too.

I heard a scream,” he said, “as my son and I were happily playing legos, in the middle of an ordinary day, the screams of my wife coming from upstairs showed me that something bad was happening.”  Well actually I lied, he didn’t say “my son and I” because Mitch likes to leave you hanging until the very end of the morning.  The whole time you thought Mitch was talking about a couple he knew, but little did we know he was talking about he and his wife.  His own story of crisis and what happened when it hit.  His son was 4 years old and his wife was 30 weeks pregnant.  Blood came, then the screams, then the rushing to the hospital.  Then the plea”God I don’t know what is happening but we need you right now!” Then the phone calls upon phone calls from friends, “Mitch we are praying for you.  We don’t know what is happening and we don’t know what will happen. But we are here for you.  We love you.”  They almost lost their daughter that day.  Now a senior in high school, ready to head to college next year, they don’t know why God chose to save Lindsay that day.  And as Mitch spoke the tears rolled, “We don’t know what happened that day, or why it happened, but we know that God was there.  And for the families upon families who have  sat in my office whose child was not saved, in their time of crisis God was there too.”

I wish I had the words to say when my sister in law held my hand and said, “Maria I don’t know how you do it?”  And so Rachel (since I know you are reading and I couldn’t speak through my tears on Sunday!) I would like to answer now!  I honestly can’t explain how I do it, but I do know that I am.  Somehow, someway I wake up each day and fight away the fears and the whatifs and the crippling sadness and I smile because Gideon was mine.  We are making it, somehow someway because of the outpouring of prayer for us.  Literally from the day we received news of Gideon’s Potter’s Syndrome and still to this day people have been praying for our family.  Praying for us in ways we couldn’t pray through our tears and providing for us in ways our hands did not have strength to do for ourselves.  All of this because we decided to lay our lives bare to the people around us instead of hiding (though in the beginning it was all I wanted to do).  Yes, there are good days and bad days sure, but our family is okay.  Better than we ever have been because life is less scary once God is proved true.  I am doing it, because He gives strength to those who ask for it.  You know it is a little funny, part of me thought the same thing as Mitch was speaking.  “How am I still breathing?”  Because at the end of Mitch’s too close to home cliffhanger story telling, there was truth.  Truth that keeps me going, and truth I knew that other people needed to hear too.

I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.”

Psalm 27:13-14

In the upcoming weeks I am going to start talking a lot about fear.  This fall I am teaching a class at Lake Forest Church in Huntersville NC called From Fear to Faith.  You can read about it here and sign up to come join me if you are around.  I mention this, because a sermon like Mitch’s used to instill great fear in me.  I had never experienced great loss or crisis before this and the logical part of me felt like it was only a matter of time before the hammer fell.  I would rationalize myself in and out of fearing what could come and I lost a lot of minutes of my life living in fear.  The ironic part of it is, that in the wake of one of my worst fears coming true I realized so clearly the reasons why fear is a sad waste of non-crisis times.  I will unpack this a ton more in the coming weeks, but for now I pray that my words and Mitch’s words, don’t instill fear but instead inspire an action plan.  Afterall, even if crisis never knocks at your door…there is so much love and help to be given to those to whom it has.

If you want to listen to Mitch’s own words, you can listen to it here.  (its second from the top called Reel Community: Gravity).

 

 

Give A Listen

Permission to be blunt?  I believe that there is power unseen.  I believe that God visits us in ways that cannot be touched or explained.  I believe that He comes boldly and loudly to anyone who is willing to listen.  I believe that He offers encouragement, comfort, joy, peace, and strength by the supernatural presence of His Holy Spirit.  I believe it… because I lived in it.  Swam in it and clung to dear life to it over this past year.  On the day of Gideon’s birth God’s presence was as tangible as I’ve ever seen on this earth and I can rest well at night because I now know that such power exists.

To give it a name, I believe this powerful presence is called the Holy Spirit.  I grew up in a church where we always threw around “The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost,” and even this very Sunday we talked about the three, the Trinity, the amazing ability God has to be our Father, our Savior, and our Counselor all at once.  It might just be me, but I feel like we most of the time emphasize God talk and Jesus’s role but not too often to we give heed to the Holy Spirit.  Maybe people think its weird?  Maybe its hard to tangibly grasp its meaning and purpose and so we skip over it?  Maybe, if you are like my husband, you think the Holy Spirit has been overused in some settings and so at first glance don’t trust what people say about it.  All of these completely understandable and reasonable…but …then…you go through something.  You die on the inside, your whole world around you crashes down and yet somehow you know God is there.  You can feel Him and hear Him and there, to me, is the undeniable important and life giving role of the Holy Spirit.

I mention all this today because I’ve been sad the past few weeks thinking that some people might never get to experience this power in their lifetime.  Some people because they simply don’t believe in its existence.  Maybe others because they simply didn’t know what to look for.  Others maybe because they have been scared or timid of what is unseen.  And so, at least for today, my prayer is just to give honor to the part of the trinity that took me through deep sorrow and pain.  The part of God’s character that is an everyday source of power, one whose mere existence helps me rest my head in peace every night.

The Holy Spirit is…

our advocate  

My live and breathe and die verse that I have clung to through these past trials and pains was John 14:27, one of these days I will be tattooing it on my forehead, but for now “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  But this verse is a part of a paragraph.  Its Jesus talking to his disciples right before he was about to die and verse 25 and 26 say this, All this I have spoken while still with you.  But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”

our overwhelming joy

Every so often joy fills me up in a way that doesn’t make sense.  I credit this joy to the Holy Spirit, Jesus tells a similar story “At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.” Luke 10:21.  I love that Jesus’s joy is about how God chose to give gifts to people the world would deem small.  I love that even Jesus finds a million things to praise God for and so I seek for that joy.  Because even in the midst of tragedy, only through the power of the Holy Spirit, there is room for joy.

Pure joy regardless of circumstance

Pure joy regardless of circumstance

our teacher 

If we listen long enough to learn, He will even guide and provide words  when we need them most “When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”  Luke 12:11

our tangible hope “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

Hope that runs out fear.

Hope that runs out fear.

our power “you will receive power when the Holy Spiritcomes on you” Acts 1:8

our confidence “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.” Acts 4:31

If there is anything I pray for my children its confidence, that nothing life brings is greater in He who is in us.

If there is anything I pray for my children its confidence, that nothing life brings is greater in He who is in us.

our message of God’s love “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.” Romans 5:5-6

our guarantee of what’s to come And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.”  Ephesians 1:13-14

I think I could go on for forever and forever.

You want to know what is even better?  The Holy Spirit is not just for weirdy, touchy feely, emotional people like me.  My husband and I very much compliment each other.  He is logical, I am emotional.  He takes 15 years to make a decision, I take 15 seconds.  He doesn’t believe it ’til he sees it, I am overly gullible.  And the same differences go for how we live in our faith.   In fact, when it comes to the Holy Spirit he and I will debate for hours on its place and purpose in our lives.  However, together we stand confident and in one voice shouting to the mountain tops say…if it weren’t for the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit we would not have survived this past year.

So maybe, just maybe.  If you never have before, or maybe you just have’t lately…would you give a listen?

Ask God to show up.  Ask Him and then listen.  Watch what happens.  Hear what He says.  It might be a day, it might be a week, or a month…but He WILL show up.  When I was young in my faith I would ask God to show up in the most trivial ways.  I mean like I lost an earring will you help me find it can I see a rainbow today if you are hearing me ways.  But God knew where my heart was and He knew what I needed to hear and so He always came through.  He knew I needed all those little listens so when it came for the big time I cannot get out of bed because my tears won’t stop flowing I need you here now God are listening times came…I knew without a doubt He would be there and that I would hear His voice of hope when my bleeding heart heard nothing but sorrow.

Today I heard the dreaded words spoken to me, the one sentence that can cut right through the heart, the one phrase you never ever want to hear, “and you call yourself a Christian?  You are very disappointing.”   My heart sank.  Butterflies multiplied in my belly by the thousands.  My eyes welled up and I wanted to curl up in a ball and die.  Before I could crawl away I paused, and I listened.  See even in the midst of misunderstood words and misplaced promises, I somehow found confidence.  As I listened I heard God whispering gently to me, “Maria, it doesn’t matter what they say.  It matters what I say.  My peace I give you, don’t let anyone else take it away.”  Deep breath and keep moving.  Scratched but not beaten.

I pray that for you too.  I pray that for my church.  I pray that schedules, routines, song sets, and preconceived notions stop getting in the way of just asking…then listening.

 

 

 

Trust Without Borders

As I stood there in the audience, feelings of both sadness and joy ran through me as I sang the words to the very song that immediately brings me back to…

the diagnosis

the struggle

the pain

the fear

the baby feet kicks

the wrestling to finally trust God fully in the season of suffering we found ourselves in.

It really was amazing be there.  At the Hillsong concert the entire arena sang at the top of their lungs, hands raised high, for two and a half hours straight and I couldn’t help but be reminded of how big and powerful God is.  Its a grandeur that I want to sink into, to tackle, to continue to ask questions about, and never stop pondering the things that are possible through a daily time spent with Him.  Once you get a taste its hard to ignore, but if you are like me, you have ton constantly fight to keep God at the top of your priority list.

The name of the song is Oceans.  Its a song I’m sure many of you are familiar with and its a song you probably have heard me mention, and for many of you who have walked this road with us even the first few notes can immediately ensue tears.  I’ll never forget the first time I heard it.  I was at a benefit concert for a family in our church, a family of 6 including four little girls, two of which are twins, who were about to embark on the unforgettable journey of becoming missionaries in India.  To think, what confidence it takes for a young, large family to leave everything they know behind…everything they own, all whom they love, and the life that is theirs to go serve people whom they have never met.  The presence and the power of God has always been undeniable to me when you think about what their family is doing.  There is just simply no way apart from the presence and power of a real and living God.

Here is Dan and Stephanie and their precious little ones. Please pray for them in their ministry. Right now they are training in Colorado and in September they will head to Bihar India. There they will love, empower, and engage all those whom live there. To me they are an amazing example of faithfulness without borders.

At their benefit I heard Reeve  sing Oceans for the first time.  I could do nothing but sit down and cry as I listened to the lyrics and as my heart overflowed with the prayer, “God I want you to call me out on the water too.  I want to go there too.”  Little did I know that weeks later He would ask me to do exactly that, the concert was two weeks before Gideon’s diagnosis.

In the beginning, one line in particular ran over and over again in my mind “Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me, You’ve never failed and you won’t start now.”

You’ve never failed and you won’t start now…

Was it true?  I found myself asking that question.  Looking back frantically through the pages of my entire life looking to see if I could find a time, an instance, a circumstance that I had felt God had failed me.  I couldn’t find one.  Not one.  And while I knew that did not mean that life always went painlessly, I could see God’s presence in it all.  Yes it was true, and since that was the case…shouldn’t I even trust Him now?

Reeve and Matt Glass singing "Oceans" at Gideon's Memorial Service. We video recorded it, but wouldn't you know the battery ran out right as the song started. But you know, I really wasn't that sad about it. I don't think video would have done justice to the presence of God in that room that day. I will hold in my heart forever those moments of praising God for Gideon's life.

Reeve and Matt Glass singing “Oceans” at Gideon’s Memorial Service. We video recorded it, but wouldn’t you know the battery ran out right as the song started. But you know, I really wasn’t that sad about it. I don’t think video would have done justice to the presence of God in that room that day. I will hold in my heart forever those moments of praising God for Gideon’s life.

As I sat there in Bojangles Coliseum this past weekend, a different line stood out to me, “Spirit lead me when my trust is without borders…”  Faith without borders is what happens when you survive hell on earth because God was there to carry you through.  And if He can do that then He can do anything.  If He can call and carry a young family of 6 to missions in India, if He can bring a smile to the face of a mother whose child has died, if He can bring hope to where all has been lost then lead me anywhere you go Lord because I trust in nothing more than I trust in you.

This Bible verse is plastered to my bathroom mirror Psalm 73:26:

My flesh and my heart may fail,

but God is the strength of my heart

and my portion forever.”

A reminder daily to live in the trust that God has fully earned in my life.  Though He never had to prove it to me, though the death and life of His Son was far more than enough, because He loves me like a good Daddy does He showed me.  May you see it too.

Just in case you didn’t see it the first time, or just needed a refresher, or wanted to shed some tears with me…