My dad is still in the hospital recovering from his surgery. From there he’ll go to a rehab facility to receive physical therapy as it’s been so long since he’s walked even a single step. But for now the concern is feeding him. He hasn’t eaten in 12 days according to my mom. Everything is in small steps and that’s ok. I wouldn’t expect things to suddenly be back on course so soon after such a surgery.
I feel as though someone took my world and turned it upside down. Like there we were going along just fine and there it is…cancer. And the worry that comes along with the word “cancer”. Because it’s not just a single word; it’s what “stage?”, are lymph nodes involved? and what does that mean? Google is not your friend. Pathology reports seem to take forever. And when the reports are ready do you really want to know what they say? Of course you do. But there’s that part of you that doesn’t.
I was driving and listening to one of the Christian radio stations we have here and the dj played an intro to a song. The intro was from one of the artists who’s song was about needing Jesus. And it hit me. I need Him. I really do. I was thinking of all the times in my life I thought I could do it on my own or thought I was doing things in my own strength and how very wrong I was/am.
I started thinking of how many times I didn’t thank God for his goodness and mercy. I repented for transgressions that happened a long time ago. He knows. I’m sitting here at the ferry terminal waiting to go to work and I realize He is here. Right here in this building full of people waiting to get to work, school, tourists… Our Lord and Savior is alive and well and He is with us wherever we go even in times or trial, especially in times of trial. I never before thought of The Lord as being so… so tangible. His love is amazing and all anyone has to do to receive it is accept Him as your Savior; the Lord of your life.
I also thought of The Gospel. The truth that God sent his only son who lived a sinless life to die a horrible death for us all of us. It’s so very humbling and unreal and so very real at the same time. The Gospel is indeed good news!
I thought of all this while driving home from bringing my daughter to my Mom’s for a sleepover. It’s amazing how God will meet you where you are when you’re least expecting it. He meets you where you are… You don’t need to be “perfect” or cleaned up or have your act together to meet Him. The Lord takes you as you are and loves you as you are.
Last night I had the privilege of seeing Worship Night in America presented by Chris Tomlin at Madison Square Garden in NYC. Oh. My. Gosh. It was amazing. Truly amazing. I get goose bumps talking about it and reliving it all over again. All the artist he had lined up were so, so talented and so very dedicated to serving our great God. The special guests were Louie Giglio who preached a very moving session on traveling “the 20 inches” between our knees and the floor to pray for our nation. This man had all of Madison Square Garden on our knees and praying, very moving and oh so powerful. Max Lucado was another speaker he was so wonderful reinforcing how much we are loved by our God that we should let Him love us; we can call our Heavenly Father just that “Father, Abba, Papa” because He loves us so.
The musical artists were, Matt Redman, Matt Maher, Phil Wickham, Kim Walker-Smith (whose voice was incredible with all the jumping and dancing she did and never once faltered), Bryan and Katie Torwalk, Stephen Curtis Chapman, Tasha Cobbs and the very talented DJ Promote. When Tasha Cobbs took the stage to sing “There is Power in the Name of Jesus” she had the whole Garden mesmerized and singing and worshiping with her, I wish I could describe the feelings she provoked in her performance. The only thing I can do is link her performance of the song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pD2zIuiC2g She sings from her soul.
Chris Tomlin performed his hit “Good Good Father” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqybaIesbuA. He had everyone singing and worshiping. Honestly all the performers had us worshiping the one true God, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I haven’t been this moved at a concert since I can’t tell you when. I felt filled with the love of Christ, something I feel is desperately needed in our country. To feel that love and to know it is finished, we’ve been ransomed and paid for by the blood of our beloved Savior.Another song was “How Great is Our God” also by Chris Tomlin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBD18rsVJHk. Matt Redman did not dissapoint with “10,000 Reasons” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XtwIT8JjddM
I can’t recall every song that was sung last night but they all prompted you to jump up from your seat, raise your hands in worship and surrender your heart to our great God. f anyone reading this has the chance to see this awesome concert I urge you to go and be prepared to be moved by the power of God, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
This past Sunday I attended the church my sister belongs to. It’s an Episcopalian church much like the one we grew up in. The building was absolutely gorgeous with beautiful stone and wood structure and the most amazing stained glass windows especially those at the altar. The altar itself was lovely. I really enjoyed the priest, he wasn’t so serious he that he would be unapproachable, yet serious enough that you knew he meant what he said especially during his sermon.
I couldn’t help but compare “my” church to this one. We don’t have a fancy altar nor do we have stained glass windows. I wouldn’t even say we have a traditional altar per se, it’s more of a stage where the musicians and singers are set up and the Pastor speaks. High on the end wall hangs a simple cross. When I first started attending my church I was taken aback by all the musicians and singers on the “altar”. But I quickly got over it once the music and singing started. We sing contemporary Christian songs with older hymns thrown in here and there such as “That Rugged Cross” and “Amazing Grace” there are more (I am a friend of God) but I’m not so familiar with them to name them so quickly. I love our music worship time. To sing and worship our Lord in language that comes so easily to the tongue…it’s something that is wonderful and heartfelt.
The Episcopalian church has a formality to it. Stand, sing, sit, kneel, stand, sing again, sit, communion, etc…I’m sure there’s a particular order I’m just not used to it anymore. In my church we stand to sing and worship the Lord, we also stand in respect to reading a passage of the bible. It’s usually the passage the Pastor is going to preach on. Then we sit and our Pastor will preach for about 45 minutes to an hour, I’m guesstimating that time frame, I’ve never officially timed our Pastor. I really enjoy listening to and taking notes on our Pastor’s sermon. I like to go back and read what I’ve written and reminisce on the sermon and how it made me feel and how close to the Lord I felt. How much I felt in my heart that the Lord was speaking to me.
It was interesting to go back and attend an Episcopal church after attending my church for the past 8 years. I do prefer my church and our style of worship. To me it seems more heartfelt. I remember I tried to return to the Episcopal church I grew up in. But I left feeling empty, spiritually unfed. And they offered nothing for my children, barely a Sunday school and no youth groups or activities. My church has “kids church” every Sunday that my 9 year old attends and youth groups for middle and high schools. I love it. My older girls attended youth group and grew so much in their walk with the Lord because of those groups and their leaders.
I’m not bashing the Episcopal church I simply can’t help but compare what I have now to other worship styles. Especially after attending service so recently. I realize every church has their own style and customs, some dating back years and years. This post is not to disrespect any church that does things differently than mine does.
Why do people donate badly stained or ripped/torn clothing? I’m not talking cool ripped denim jeans I mean blouses with horrid pit stains and sweaters with obvious moth holes. I don’t get it. Maybe because I’m an avid thrift shopper I only donate things that I would buy. If it’s stained or ripped it goes in the garbage not to the donate pile.
Speaking of which I had a slight laugh when I was thrifting today. I came across 3 tops I donated and yes it took me a minute to realize they were once mine. No, I didn’t buy them back 😜.
I did pretty good today at the thrift. I happened upon a really nice lightweight denim dress that retails for about $180.00 the name is “Bella Blue”. Who knew? Not me that’s for sure. I learned a new high end retail name today. I also bought a new Hollister tank with stones at the neckline and a new silk blouse. Everything is washed and pressed and hanging in my closet ready to be worn.
I’ve been doing some soul searching lately and I’m in a spiritual rut. I need that fire that can only come from the Holy Spirit. I’ve talked and prayed about it and I’m going to attend another bible study tonite. I went to one last night but it didn’t do it for me. I also emailed one of the church staff members asking if he needed any volunteers for anything. I need to be with others and I want to serve or rather I need to serve. I felt a little better after I wrote the email. I also had a wonderful and insightful conversation with Louise who runs tonight’s bible study. Louise is just so good. I’m glad I have her in my life. I listen to a lot of christian music and it is so uplifting and speaks so much to my soul. I adore the band Casting Crowns. Their song “Just Be Held” speaks volumes to me lately.
A good friend said to me today, “Well, pray on it…Only God can open a door that He wants open”. We were talking about me and working more, specifically working per Diem for a company that hires RN’s to staff wellness events such as blood pressure screening, blood glucose and cholesterol screenings, and corporate flu shot events. Since I’ve been hired by this new company they’ve sent me job offers but the times are not good for me. I still have to make sure someone is home for Samantha after school and that someone is me. I can’t rely on Alyssa and Lelly these days they are both involved in extra curricular activities and jobs, etc… I mentioned this to my friend while we were waiting for the kids to be dismissed after school. So I took his advice and I have prayed on it. I’ve given this over to the Lord. He’s the only one who can orchestrate a job for me that will work perfectly. And I know this will only occur at His perfect timing.
I have to remind myself of all the times God did open that door at just the perfect time. When we bought this house, when we were awaiting residential school for Thomas, when I desperately needed a therapist, I could go on and on…His timing is impeccable and He meets you where you are; I can’t stress that fact enough. The Lord finds you no matter where you are in your life and He meets you there in the exact spot you’d never think you would meet him. I met Him in my car while listening to Casting Crowns “Praise You In This Storm”. I also met Him another time while driving. I had a distinct image of me sitting with Jesus and other people. I was sitting at His feet and The Lord was talking. About what I have no idea. I wasn’t daydreaming it was very clear. And when it was over I knew I met with Him.
I love hearing people’s testimonies. No two are the same and it’s always clear to whom the glory belongs to. The one true living God. He who took on flesh, He knows what it’s like to hurt, to be betrayed, to feel physical pain, He knows what it’s like to love, he knows.
So I pray and wait for His perfect timing that is a result of His perfect love.
I love hearing other people’s testimonies, hearing how the Lord led them here or there, how He has worked and continues to work in people’s lives. I’ve shared my testimony here on my blog about how I met the Lord while crying and listening to “Praise You in this Storm” by Casting Crowns. Lately I’ve been thinking of how God works in my life every single day. How He orchestrates literally everything and every circumstance. How He hand picked and chose every one of my children for me. He knew He was going to give me Thomas and how difficult it was going to be to raise him. He also gave me my girls; Alyssa, Daniella and Samantha knowing how “typical” they would be. Don’t get me wrong the girls been challenging in their own ways but they are nothing like the challenges we’ve faced with Thomas.
I love how God made Thomas so resilient, that when he was 8 years old we had no other choice but to enroll him in residential school for the first time. Thomas did not want to leave us but he did it. He said goodbye to us after every visit, many times in tears but he would bounce back and adjust to his new “home”. He’s adapted even more wonderfully to the school he attends now. I credit God with gifting him the ability to adapt to new surroundings so well. No one else could have known Thomas would need such a gift and there is no way his resilience could be learned.
I’ve been thinking about the Gospel a lot lately too. No matter how many times I think of or hear the Gospel I am so humbled to know that Christ died for us. And the way He died; brutal. I am struck at how much God loved us that He gave up his son for us. Sometimes it’s more than I can think about and wrap my brain around it. I not only believe this, I know this to be truth. It is absolute and it saddens me when people don’t get it or stay away from the church. I don’t know how to spread the Gospel outside of this blog. I’m not one to loudly proclaim it even though I know the truth in my head and my heart. I wish I were more bold in person but maybe this blog is how God wants me to be bold.
I woke up with this song running through my head. The lyrics are quite simple, telling us to praise Him…” all this for our King… He is Christ our King…” I think of how easy it is to praise Him when things are going good or “smooth” as I like to think. It’s when trials come that we are faced with the anger, sometimes feeling as though we’ve been betrayed by our Lord. I keep in mind our Lords Prayer and how we pray, “Thy will be done”. We are actually praying for His will, His plan to be displayed not ours. When I think of the lyrics to this song, “How constant, how divine, this song of ours will rise…” I am reminded of how constant His love is for us. How divine and beautiful that love is. It never fails. His love is infinite. He is holy.
I often think of people who question why do bad things happen if there is such a loving God? Why does God allow such evil things. I was asking those same questions when I had my first miscarriage. Why did God even allow me to become pregnant when He was only going to take it away? I had no answers then and I have no answers now. I do know that when I was finally pregnant and I didn’t miscarry I was blessed with a doctor who treated me like glass. I wouldn’t have had that kind of treatment from my care provider with my first 2 pregnancies that ended is miscarriages. This new to me doctor was truly sent from above. And if I never had the miscarriages I never would have met him and I certainly wouldn’t have my Samantha. Don’t get me wrong I was very angry with God at that time in my life. However His will was done and even though I thought I could never get through that painful time I did, but not without His help. I did eventually praise Him again and asked in prayer for Him to protect the growing child within me.
I’m sure we all go through a season where we aren’t praising Him. And we’re even angry with him for the “No” answers to prayer. Where we feel abandoned by our God. We need to hold on to His promise that He will never leave or forsake us. And even sing a song here and there that reminds us that He is holy.
I woke up having a song running through my head, 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSxocnIaN0A. Specifically the chorus, “Bless the Lord oh my soul, oh my soul. Worship His holy name…” Such powerful lyrics. To not only worship the Lord but also His name. He deserves such worship and devotion, the great I Am. Each day I’m amazed at His greatness, how He can change lives, and change people. I know the Lord has changed me. Changed the way I see situations and how I see people. I’ve seen Him work things out in a way that only He can.
I’ll never forget when Thomas was in the psychiatric hospital 2 hours away. I was called to come in for a meeting and Tommy insisted I not go by myself. The meeting was in 2 days and I had no one to come with me. I thought about my church family and calling the church to see if anyone could accompany me. I didn’t call the church. Instead I went to the Macy’s one day sale. While in Macy’s I ran into Cheryl who is one of the pastor’s wife from church. She immediately asked about Thomas and I told her I had this meeting to go to and I needed someone to come with me. Without missing a beat Cheryl asks, “When is the meeting?” I told her the day and she quickly answered, “I’ll be there.” I almost fell over right there in Macy’s. And true to her word Cheryl came with me. I took up her whole day. And she acted as if it were no big deal. That was the work of our God right there working through Cheryl. This was over 3 years ago and Cheryl is now a wonderful, dear friend of mine.
I’ve been praying for a new job all the while knowing this can only happen on His timing, not mine. Now here I am presented with this new opportunity. I don’t know if this is exactly where He wants me to be I can only step out in faith and trust Him.
I have this song running through my head this morning, Blessings by Laura Story. Yesterday my husband and I were talking to a neighbor who also has a special needs daughter. Many of you know about our Thomas who is also special needs. We’ve been through many, many trials with Thomas. And everytime I hear this song I think of him. What if our greatest trial is God’s blessing in disguise?
Anyway, when we were speaking with our neighbor she mentioned that she often wonders what her daughter would have been like had things been different. My husband replied that he often thinks the same thing about Thomas. I do think that also about Thomas. The big “what if?” What if he’d been born “normal”?. What if? It almost makes you loathe the word, “if”. That word can hold so much. Thomas is one of the greatest achings of my life. It still pains me that he cannot live at home. I know my husband feels the same. I love Thomas for who he is now, not what he could have been. Thomas being the way he is changed me as a mother. And if I were to be able to change him to a “normal” person, would I then have to change myself to how I was before he was in my life?
I honestly don’t dwell on the what ifs because it is pointless. I tend to focus on the present and future which can hold enough worry all by themselves. But this song speaks so perfectly to my heart. Especially when she sings, “This is not our home…” No, this is not our home. I often wonder if when I do meet our Lord will I ask Him questions about my earthly life. Thomas being in the forefront of those queries. Why were we chosen to be his parents? Why did God make things so challenging? Why the heartache? Or will I even care at that point? What I do believe is that when Thomas meets the Lord and joins us, I believe he will tell us himself. It will be glorious to hear my son talk clearly and coherently. I was given a glimpse of this in a dream I had a couple of years ago. Thomas was just a typical teen and him, Alyssa and I were just sitting in our front sun porch talking to one another. I have no idea what we were talking about I just remember Thomas being “normal”. I know when we’re all in heaven together we’ll all talk again. God gave me a preview.