Monday, April 30, 2012

Waiting on a Biopsy & Why Letting Go Requires Holding On

Flickr Creative Commons - Vic

Last week I told you I would be having a biopsy. Thank you so much for praying.

Here is what we found out: The lining of my uterus was thicker than normal (which was expected), but my doctor also found a polyp in my uterus and cyst in my left ovary. He biopsied the lining and polyp that day. We are scheduling a hysterectomy for sometime in May and during surgery he will also biopsy the cyst. I have a follow-up appointment next Monday for the results of the first biopsy.

I find myself once again in this uncomfortable place of waiting. Since having melanoma in 2004, every time something is abnormal I get to do a biopsy. I have had moles, cysts in my thyroid, and a lipoma all biopsied over the last several years.

I am so thankful all but the first report in 2004 have been good news. I think of my friends who have gone through and are going through much more challenging circumstances. We never know where our life adventure will take us or how many bumps we will encounter along the way. We do, however, know that God is the author of our story and our final destination is too incredible for words.

Each time I have a biopsy fear tries to direct my thoughts. But this time, it's different. Through this waiting I hear God saying:

"Let go. Let go of trying to figure things out. Let go of trying to avoid the bumps. Let go of trying to manipulate or control the outcome. Let go, but hold on. Hold on to Me. Hold on to Me when you don't have the answer. Hold on to me when the bumps are necessary... because sometimes they are. Sometimes the rough places empty you of you and fill you with more of Me. It's in these places My purposes for you can be fulfilled and My glory can be revealed. Let go of fear and anxiety and worry. Let go. And hold on to Me."

I wonder how many times I've allowed fear or distraction or negative reports to drown out these words?

Today I choose to let go. I choose to let go of the things that would try to paralyze me and keep me in this place, year after year, test after test. I choose to let go of worrying about what my future on this earth holds.

Today I choose to hold on. I choose to hold on to His promises. I choose to hold on to His Word. I choose to hold on to Him.

Lord, be glorified in every place in my life. The easy places, the hard places, the narrow places, the challenging places, the happy places, the rough places, the mountains tops, and the valleys.

Pour out Your glory through me.

Is there something you need to let go today? When our hands are full and gripped tight around things beyond our control, it is difficult to receive all He has to offer. How can we hold on to Him if our arms and hands cradle the very places we need Him most?

Let go today.

Let go, but hold on.

Hold on to Him and allow His glory to be revealed through your story.

Father, thank you for your mercy and grace. Thank you for loving us and never giving up on us. We know that some things are too heavy for us to carry and we weren't meant to carry them. Today, we let them go. We place them at your feet and we choose to hold on to you. Be glorified in every part of our lives. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.

Linking today with:

Jen and the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood

Michelle at Graceful

Shanda at A Pause on the Path

Laura at The Wellspring

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Let Him Remind You

Today I am talking about the importance of Laughter over here.

And reminding myself of the word God gave me to "keep my faith in the narrow places" here.

Don't you love it when the words God gives you continue to speak life?

How they somehow find you when you need them (again)?

And soothe like a healing balm those places that have become dry once more?

Listen today.

And let Him remind you of the words He has spoken over you and the promises He has made to you, His child.

His promises won't be broken.

Hold on tighter.

Surrender more.

Rest often.

The things that God has prepared for those who love him are beyond human comprehension and imagination (1 Corinthians 2:9).


Linking today with:


Monday, April 23, 2012

Put Down the Broom, Sister

My sister delivered another beautiful baby girl this past week. We are thanking God for this precious gift to our family. Meet Ms. Channing Grace :)

I drove four hours and missed her grand entrance by 15 minutes...we shall have a talk in a few years! haha! After spending countless hours and a few days staring at her and telling her how beautiful Aunt LaLa (that's me) thinks she is and how great God's plans for her are, I had to tear myself away and go home. It was hard to wake up this morning without kissing those sweet cheeks.

Of course, all of that snuggling gave me warm fuzzies and stirred up feelings I haven't had in quite a while.


Those feelings.

But then I remembered our kids are 19, 15, and 7.

AND that I will be 40 this September.

Then my friends on facebook reminded me of a few other things:
  • Potty training
  • Two year olds (enough said)
  • Missing meals/baths
  • Feedings every two hours
  • Dirty, stinky diapers
Now, don't get me wrong. In the middle of all these "inconveniences" with my sweet little angels, these weren't really inconveniences. I counted them as blessings (well, most of the time I counted them as blessings...).

But, yes, my time of child bearing is over. In fact, it may be over soon whether I want it to be or not. I have a doctor's appointment on Wednesday for an endometrial biopsy to find out what is causing some unpleasant issues I am having (I am sure some of you ladies know what I'm talking about, but for the sake of my few male readers I will omit the details). Say a prayer for me?

(Flickr Creative Commons - The Italian Voice)

On another I the only one who hears God speak during housework?

While a broken vacuum lay resting in the corner, I picked up the broom to sweep the carpet. Although this works well for surface cleaning, it doesn't touch the dirt that has worked its way deep into the fibers of the flooring. And, sweeping carpet is quite the job, I might add. My arms were worn out when I finished (I'm sure I burned some calories).

(Enter spiritual revelation and God speaking.)

How often do we wear ourselves out trying to "fix" things in our lives (sin, anger, unforgiveness, hurt, bitterness, strongholds)? Sometimes we feel like we have to "be" or "do" or "say" all the right things in order to be accepted in the church and our "Christian" cliques. But appearing perfect or saying hallelujah at the right time doesn't mean we are whole (or even saved). It doesn't mean we have allowed Jesus to heal those wounds that have worked themselves way down deep into the secret places of our heart. It doesn't mean we have found joy and forgiveness and grace and peace. It doesn't mean we have surrendered our lives to Him.

It is draining to try and do everything on our own. Trying to be perfect and always appear like everything is 100 percent okay 100 percent of the time creates an illusion to a life that doesn't exist and offers a heavy burden. Trying to "will" ourselves not to do something or feel a certain way usually ends in failure. How do I know, you ask? I have been there. And I found myself worn out, burned out, stressed out and far from God.

He is the One who forgives.

He is the One heals.

He is the One who offers grace.

He is the One who loves unconditionally.

He is the place we find peace and joy and contentment and mercy.

It's not what we can do to fix things, or how much effort we put forth, it's what He's already done.

Put down the broom, sister.

Allow Jesus and the Holy Spirit to do the work only They can do.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God's unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it]. Hebrews 4:16

Even when we were dead (slain) by [our own] shortcomings and trespasses, He made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ; [He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He quickened Him, for] it is by grace (His favor and mercy which you did not deserve) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ's salvation). Ephesians 2:5

Linking today with:

Jen and the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood

Michelle at Graceful

Shanda at A Pause on the Path

Monday, April 16, 2012

Even If I Fail a Thousand Times

Flickr Creative Commons - Henrique Pinto

This past weekend I attended my first local writer's group meeting in person. After attending She Speaks last summer, I have numerous writer friends and relationships online, but locally, not so much. I love that we are able to transcend state boundaries and miles of highway and form relationships with the help of the Internet, but I also know the importance of face to face time. (And I am kicking myself for not getting a picture of all the lovely new faces I met!)

I know we go through various seasons in our lives, some more lonely than others. I have been there. And all those seasons are necessary. But I am thankful also for those times God connects us with people and partners and soul sisters.

There is something about being surrounded by others who share your passion.

It feels like community. It feels like home. And it feels nice.

But it's also scary.

It requires vulnerability and transparency and willingness to receive correction. And of course, there is always the possibility of rejection.

But what would life be like if we never took chances?

If we never risked being hurt for the chance to be loved? If we never risked failing for the chance to succeed? If we never opened ourselves up to correction in order to grow?

Just like relationships, the very calling on our lives can be (and usually feels) risky.

For me, putting my words out there for all to see and judge and criticize can welcome anxiety if I think about it too much (and sometimes I do). Writing a book seems overwhelming at times, and has actually caused me to lay the whole project down a time or two (or three).  Once published, there is no taking words back.

I could just sit home and socialize via facebook and email. And I could keep my words hidden in my journals and private files on my computer. (Some days this is definitely my reality)

But I've decided I don't want to miss out on all the good God has planned, even when there's some yuck mixed in (because you know, there is always some yuck).

Flickr Creative Commons - Abi Skipp

I've decided the chance for success and the hope of fulfilling my purpose is worth the risk of failure.

Even if I fail a thousand times.

(Remind me of this every so often, okay?)

All dreams and goals and big plans require risk on some level.

What is your response when faced with something that feels a little scary?

Linking with:

Jen and the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood

Michelle at Graceful

Shanda at A Pause on the Path

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

There is No One

(Flickr Creative Commons -

There is no one who loves me the way He loves me.

Even when I am unlovable. Even when I think I can make it without Him. Even when I am absent and far from Him. Even when I am rude and selfish and ugly and full of  pride. He loves me.

There is no one who knows me the way He knows me.

When I am lonely, He knows. When my heart is broken but my face still smiles, He knows. When I am overwhelmed or lost or afraid or discouraged. He knows every single thing about me, even when I don't say it out loud. He knows me better than I know myself.

There is no one who completes me the way He completes me.

No matter how hard I search, nothing I find will fulfill the place that was meant for Him. There is a place inside me created for His presence, His spirit. It is molded and shaped for His character and His love. Nothing else fits there the way He does. Completely. Wholly. Perfectly. When I am undone, He is my missing piece.

(Flickr Creative Commons - Nattu)

There is no one who will ever love you the way He loves you.

Jesus loves us so much that He died for us. He gave His life for us. Even in our sin, He loves and offers forgiveness. His love for us is unconditional. It is difficult to understand how someone could love us this much and never change. But He does. Even now, where you are at this very moment, near Him or far from Him...He. Loves. You.

"But God shows and clearly proves His [own] love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for us." Romans 5:8

There is no one who will ever know you the way He knows you.

He knows every detail about your life. He knows your thoughts, your dreams, your hopes, your fears, your sins, your sadness, your loneliness. He. Knows. You. There is nothing that can be hidden from Him.

"O LORD, you have searched me [thoroughly] and have known me.
2You know my downsitting and my uprising; You understand my thought afar off.
3You sift and search out my path and my lying down, and You are acquainted with all my ways.
4For there is not a word in my tongue [still unuttered], but, behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
5You have beset me and shut me in--behind and before, and You have laid Your hand upon me.
6Your [infinite] knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high above me, I cannot reach it.
7Where could I go from Your Spirit? Or where could I flee from Your presence?
8If I ascend up into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol (the place of the dead), behold, You are there.
9If I take the wings of the morning or dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10Even there shall Your hand lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.
11If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me and the night shall be [the only] light about me,
12Even the darkness hides nothing from You, but the night shines as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to You.
13For You did form my inward parts; You did knit me together in my mother's womb." Psalm 139:1-13

There is no one or nothing who will ever fulfill you the way He fulfills you.

He is your missing piece. He is what you've been searching for all this time. It's not your spouse, your boyfriend/girlfriend, your children, your job, more finances, a better car, a newer house, another drink, another party, more friends, your local church. It. Is. Him. If you are incomplete and unfulfilled, if there is an emptiness you can't seem to fill, He is what you've been looking for.

"Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we're a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth. It's in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone." Ephesians 1:7-12 (The Message)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

God Still Speaks & I'm Making a Garden

I love how God created living things to reproduce and grow and display His majesty. And I love how He speaks through His creation.

I can hear praise when the birds sing. I can feel Him in the wind and see His glory in the clouds.

Sometimes I get overwhelmed with His presence and overcome with love and emotion and no words have even been spoken.

I love how He does that.

I love how He loves us.

And I love how He still speaks.

For years now, I have helped my dad with "the family" garden. I have watched him year after year work faithfully and diligently to bring forth a harvest to bless our family.

Today, my husband and I started the process of turning our daughter's retired hog pen area into our very own garden. We are going to start small, but we are so excited.

I know God is going to speak to us through this whole experience.

I am expecting to hear Him.

While we were pulling weeds, hoeing, and raking, Logan surprised us with some blackberries he found along the fence line and at the edge of the horse pasture. God is so good. Can't you smell the blackberry cobbler already? ;)

After a couple of hours of hard labor, we had our new garden area free of grass and roots. We are going to bring in some new soil and finish preparing our foundation. Once the foundation is complete, we are going to plant tomatoes (for canned salsa), various peppers (for canning, also), and cucumbers (for bread and butter pickles). We may add one or two more plants, but we aren't quite sure just yet.

I can't wait to post more pics as we go and share what God is speaking.

Do you have a garden? I would love to hear what you are growing and if you do any canning or freezing. :)

Blessings, my sweet friends!


Today I am linking with Jen and the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood :)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Happy Easter!

Below are links to three Easter posts I wrote last year:

Day One: Crucify Him!

Day Two: Is Jesus Really Gone?

Day Three: Jesus Has Risen!

Happy Easter, friends!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Crucify Him!

I close my eyes and I can see the trail left in the dirt.

I can hear the shuffling of His feet.

The sun beating down, the crowd unrelenting.

"Crucify Him!"....(click here to read the rest of this post)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Dare to Be YOU

The other day I was considering my life in the moment. Isn't it funny how we go through seasons and stages and up and downs and failures and successes and sometimes never learn what God is trying to teach us?

Rarely satisfied and often discontented, we are unable to live our lives fully and take advantage of opportunities right in the palm of our hands. We compare ourselves to other people and yearn for what we don't have.

Yes, I do that sometimes.

We can get so caught up in who we are NOT that we forget who we ARE.

We can spend so much time thinking about what we DON'T have that we forget what we DO have..

I read this quote this morning:

"Most successful men have not achieved their distinction by having some new talent or opportunity presented to them. They have developed the opportunity that was at hand." ~Bruce Barton

What opportunities has God laid before you?

What are you holding in your hand, refusing to release?

Honor God today by using the gifts and talents you already have.

"We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us..." Romans 12:6a

Don't long to be like someone else, dare to be who God created YOU to be!

I'm rootin' for ya, sisters (and brothers)! But more than that, God is cheering you on!

And remember, God is always speaking. But if we are not listening, we won't hear Him. Position yourselves to hear from the King of Kings today! He longs to tell you great things!

Really, He does. :)

"Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”
- Jeremiah 33:3

Photo credit: Ian Burt - Flickr Creative Commons

Monday, April 2, 2012

Won't You Join Me on the Swing?

Sixty whole minutes before time to pick Taylor up from the high school. I didn't want to drive home and have to come right back, so we headed to the city park. It would provide a much better waiting area than the school parking lot.

Logan bounced from the Tahoe and went straight for the playground and I, gifted with an hour of leisure (or so I thought), found the perfect spot on the grass for my blanket and books.

I tried to read a few sentences between glances at my wandering seven year old, but my mind had shifted into mama mode making it difficult to concentrate or retain any information other than what pertained to my little man. From the jungle gym to the monkey bars to the merry-go-round and finally to the swings.

Faster and higher and higher and higher.

As a kid, I remember swinging as high as the swing would go, pushing and stretching it to its limits and then jumping off. I remember the excitement and exhilaration I felt as I climbed as high as possible and then contemplated the exact time I should jump. I don't remember being afraid or even getting hurt.

But as I watched Logan do the same thing I did so many years ago, all I could think was, "Oh no, be careful! Not so high! Watch out!"

Where had my excitement gone? Where was the risk taker and girl who wanted to test limits and boundaries and gravitational force?

It seems part of growing up and "maturing" is learning to be afraid, learning to be safe, and learning to accept mediocrity. Now, I know there is an argument on the flip side about how all this is good, because certainly it is wise to be safe. But today, I am exploring the possibilities and opportunities often missed because we are too scared to move out of our comfort zone - our "norm" - and take a chance at greatness. We refuse to take risks because...what if...?

For me, attending my first writer's conference last summer was scary. Getting on a plane and traveling from Texas to North Carolina (without my hubby by my side), sharing meals and attending classes with six hundred women I had never met before, going face to face with two publishing houses for a fifteen minute pitch, sharing space with Lysa Terkeurst, Renee Swope, Ann Voskamp and countless others who are national and international speakers and published authors, having breakfast on the last day with two new friends and finding out one was working on her thirtieth book (yes, 3-0)...all this is a little intimidating.  Hang on I'm right back....


Deep breath.

Sorry, I just remembered I'm signed up to attend again this summer and got a little anxious.

I also remembered I'm taking the speaker's track this year (plus writing classes and meetings) and will have to prepare two short speeches to be critiqued.

Have mercy.

When we refuse to break away from the norm (if God is asking us to do so) and live a dream, write a book, produce a CD, enter a contest, accept a speaking engagement, lead the local PTA or PIE at our child's school, facilitate a Bible study, start a business, coach a team, use our gifts as more than hobbies, change careers or accept another job, we could be missing out on God's plans and purposes.

God often asks us to do things outside of our own ability so His glory and strength and power can be known and displayed through our lives.

Don't listen to the voice that says you can't do it.

We may not all slay lions and fight giants and conquer cities or publish books, but He desires to use each of us to bring His glory to the earth and build His Kingdom (not our own) in one way or another. For some that may mean praying bold prayers and interceding for people you don't know, for others it may mean:
  • raising Godly leaders for the next generation 
  • being a voice in your community
  • teaching children's church
  • encouraging those who are hurting
  • praying for someone in the grocery store
  • going on a mission trip
  • trying out for American Idol or The Voice - vote for Raelynn! :)
I haven't jumped off the swing yet, but I'm swinging. My stomach is queasy and I feel excitement building. I'm a little nervous, but I think that's ok. As long as I don't plant my feet in the ground and refuse to swing (I've been known to leave skidmarks).

Is God asking you to do something out of your comfort zone?

Is He asking you to move forward with something, to take action?

Let me take some pressure off and put your mind at ease. You can't do it. Nope. But He can do it through you. And that's exactly what He wants to do.

Won't you join me on the swings? I'll let you jump first. ;)

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

Linking with Jen and the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood