Life Verses...Psalm 63:3-5

Psalm 63:3-5
Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You. Thus I will bless You while I live.
I will lift up my hands in Your name. My soul shall be satisfied...and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Will You Trust Me?

Psalm 91:1,2
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, "My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."

I recently wrote a note to my niece who is graduating from high school. I sense that she is nervous about leaving home, beginning college, stepping into a new season of life. As I quickly (in the car on the way to the party!) jotted her a note of encouragement, this is what poured out of me.....go with an open mind and an open heart. Have a teachable spirit. God is going to use all the circumstances in the days and months and years ahead to ask you this question...Do you trust Me????

And then I realized that is exactly what God has been doing in my life. He has been using all the situations of life to ask me...Do you trust Me? Will you rest in Me?? Even when it hurts. Even when you dont understand. Even when you doubt and question and ache and mourn. Will you trust Me???

It's been a very long time since I have written on this blog. So much has happened. I havent been able to voice many words. Amber is in heaven. Charlie is in heaven. There's a void in our lives and an ache in our family that will be there for as long as we are on this earth. . But God has used that ache to draw me close to Himself, to give me an insatiable desire for His Word and for Him, and for that I will always be thankful. This song comes to mind as I type, as it speaks whats on my heart so well!

Steady My Heart

In the days to come I will update my blog, and perhaps find my voice again. I have so much to be thankful for! New life! Logan and Zoe have become part of my family, and I certainly need to make some additions on here!!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Mended, or Should I Say in the Process of Mending....

   Wow, its been a REALLY long time since I posted anything on my blog! I'm not sure where to even begin. I guess rather than go back, I will just move forward from here!
   Amber passed away on May 19th. I loved her soooo incredibly much. There is so much I could say, but for now I dont have the words. I process life in the quiet and eventually it will pour out in the form of words, but for now I am in the quiet place. I reread the book "I Will Carry You", by Angie Smith. It is a testimony of a woman who carried her baby knowing the baby would die shortly after birth. Angies words were comfort and encouragement to me and to Schuyler this past year or so, and they are a comfort to me now. How to trust God when life hurts, how to find joy in sorrow, how to love others and appreciate life to the fullest regardless of the difficulties life brings.
   I have a hard time focusing during times like this, so I find myself struggling to know what to read in Gods Word and how to keep focused on Him. After I read Angies book, I found she wrote another called "Mended". It is devotional excerpts from stuff she wrote in her blog during the time she carried her baby. I purchased one for me and one for my study partner, so here we go to see what God will teach us!

   In the beginning of her book, Angie recommends finding a used piece of pottery..perhaps a pitcher, and smashing it! Someone recommended this to Angie after her baby died, God nudged her to do it, and He taught her many things thru her broken pitcher. Sooooo, earlier this week Paula went shopping, found each of us a pitcher, and we smashed!

   Picture the broken pieces of my pitcher as my life.Things that seem a mess to me, things I wish I would have done differently, hurts and disappointments that seem unmendable, things I wish I could fix but cant. God is ALWAYS in the process of restoration! He wants to make something beautiful out of the ugly pieces of life. At the end of the first chapter of this book, Angie recommends that you think of one word that comes to mind and ask God to teach you. The word that quickly came to my mind was "redeemed". God is teaching me, thru the breaking of the pitcher and thru the simple dictionary definitions, a deeper meaning of the word redeemed.
Redeemed - 
*to buy back, repurchase
*to free from distress or harms
*to change for the better
*repair, restore
*to atone for
   Now I am supposed to put my pitcher back together! Really? How do I do that? First of all, Paula and I cant seem to find any glue that will work! So, this is what God is teaching me so far about Him...
*When I am broken, sometimes God has to hold me for a very long time before I am whole again. And in between I often fall apart and he pulls me together and holds me again.
*He uses different methods to restore me. If one doesnt work, He tries something different. God never gives up on me!

Psalm 56:13...For You have redeemed my soul from death and my feet from stumbling that I may walk before God in light of life.
Psalm 103:2,4...Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits. Who redeems your life from destruction and crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies.

...still sooo much to learn, will share in the days to come....

Friday, September 21, 2012

Keeping My Head Up!

Today is a disappointing day for me. We planned to leave for Massachusetts this morning to spend the weekend celebrating Ambers 3rd birthday. We cant go because we have had sickness in our home and cant risk passing it on to Amber. All children's birthdays are special, but to an I-cell family...birthdays are precious beyond words.Each day is precious beyond words. So how's a Gramma to handle such disappointment?

God is so good to me. He speaks to me so clearly when I am running. I was running along this morning, and breathing prayer as I always do when I run....its soo cool how when I run my prayers just pour out of me in this disconnected-desires-and compassions-and all the cares of my heart-form!!

I have been thinking about this Ladies Retreat that I am speaking at in Oc.t and went to bed thinking about this verse in John..."But as many as recieved Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name."
And this in Ephesians.."For by grace you have been saved thru faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God."

God has been impressing me for the past week that I need to be very prepared to simply share the Gospel..that it needs to be part of what I speak. Many of the people who attend this church are needy....needier than most that I rub shoulders with on a regular basis, and that makes them hungrier to know Jesus. They are people with mental illness problems, people who have been in and out of jail, people who live in poverty, and people who have just not fit in other church situations. Its an awesome ministry!

I keep thinking of my life, the mountains and the valleys that I have experienced and the way God is allowing me to see ALL as His gifts. I want to be able to convey that and to help others see the difficulties of life as ways that God draws us close to Him....they are not curses, they are gifts. And what God has been impressing me with is...that others can NEVER have joy in life and especially during the trials of life unless they have recieved the gift of salvation. What Jesus did for us is THE ULTIMATE gift!!!

But in light of all that this morning...I cant overflow that gift, my love for Jesus, the reality that ALL is grace unless I REALLY live it!! If I really trust God...than yes, it ok to be sad today be cause I am extremely disappointed, but there is still joy in my life and my countenance because I trust that all is grace and there are gifts within this package for me today! Ways that God has to show me He loves my family.

So I was running along and thinking about all this and praying about my day, when all of a sudden I look up and there is a whole FLOCK of deer scattering both ways on the road. They were right in front of me and I never even saw them! and God so gently and beautifully whispered to me...."You miss what I have for you if your head is down!!!!"

Oh my friends, was the most vivd and beautiful illustration EVER!!

BUT...What does God do next???..I look up and there right next to me on the bank is the mama deer who scattered the opposite direction of her babies and was there waiting to cross the road. My head was down again and I didnt even see her!!!! God knows I am sooo thick-headed that again He says..."You miss what I have for you if your head is down!!!"
So this time I kept my head up and watched and walked slowly and there in the brush right beside me is Mama deer...

she stood and I stood and we just looked into each others eyes for the longest time as still as could be!! She had these big beautiful brown eyes that were saying..I just want to go across the road to my babies!!..and she meandered up thru the brush on the side of the road. and as I walked God just kept whispering to me..."Be still and know that I am God...Be still and know that I am God"

Sooooo......on this day of disappointment I will keep my head up, I will be still and know that God is God and He loves us and is in control, I will be prepared to share how much I love Jesus with others, and I can have joy today because I trust that inside this gift that I did not choose today there are treasures within and that God will use it to teach me to love Him more!!!

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Sound of Our Breathing...YHWH

My friend Joyce L. sent me this link today. Oh, the timing of it. Watch first...
The Name of God is the Sound of Our Breathing...Jason Gray

Wow....I dont even know what to say to respond to that. It made me melt inside for a whole bunch of reasons! such a significant thing to me. What others take so easily for granted, our family values like words can not even express. Every single day of life and breath is from God..every moment a precious gift. And to relate that to the very name of God...His name, His breath!! the most beautiful thing to me ever.

I am sharing life very transparently here, and I hope its OK...I have come to the point of realizing life is best shared openly with those you love. The deepest, most valuable relationships I have are those that are most transparent. So here you have it.. some of my bare thoughts.
... Although we have known Amber's diagnosis for a very long time now, the reality of it hits me sometimes. It has been that way lately. The fact that one day.....Amber will no longer breathe. It hits me at the oddest times. While shopping...I come across little panties that I know Amber will never wear...and I end up in my car in a puddle of tears. Or I see a little girl with her Grammy, laughing and playing and doing the things 2year olds and grammys should be doing. Or the other day..I needed a dress for a wedding. I found this beautiful dress that fit me like a glove..but it was black. I didnt want black for a wedding. But there have been nights over the past year..that I have laid in bed and some point we will get the call and we will need to go very quickly to Massacchusetts..and I dont want to have to worry about clothes and what to wear. No grandmother should have to think about these things.
..I shared this with my friend Paula the other day, and afterward I kept feeling guilty about thinking about death. About focusing on the negative instead of rejoicing in God's goodness. This morning as I was running and listening to music and worshiping, the Lord gently reminded me that what I REALLY desire is for each day to be about LIFE!!  God has given me...and Amber and Charlie life today!!!...I thank Him for that!!!...I am in AWE of Him for that!!!....and I want each day to be a celebration of life and breath and God and all the simple pleasures that go along with life!!! This mans words, and his song....they are absolutely beautiful to me today.
The other thot that keeps coming to mind about this is...I often refer to talking with God as "breathing prayer". When something is sooo close to my heart and mind, and I am constantly talking with God about it, it is like breathing to me. Breathe out my cares and concerns to Him, breathe in God...His peace and His presence. How very precious to mesh this all together...breathing, prayer, Gods very name....I cant even quite express is so very sweet!

I came across the name YHWH in my Bible a year or so made me melt inside then too, and I just sort of parked myself on those verses for a very long time. I had to leaf thru my Bible today to find them..I could picture the markings in my Bible in Isaiah because I had contemplated them for so long...

Isaiah 26:3-4...You will keep Him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. For in YAH, the Lord, is everlasting strength.

Isaiah 12:2...Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; For YAH, the Lord, is my strength and song.

YAHWEH...the very name of God, His very breath..."What if the name of God is the very sound of our breath!!"...what a precious thot that is to me.

PS...and dont tell her, but for Ambers 3rd birthday...her Grammy has decided she needs frilly, fun panties!! :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Reflections on the Amish Life (Amick Style!)...part 1

In May I read this book called 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess.
It's about recognizing that we are on overload...we have toooo much, we do tooo much, we waste tooo much, we stress out tooo much, and in other words we would be so much better off if we would simplify life! It made me think about the areas of life that are just "tooo stinkin much"!! The author decided to take one month at a time and fast from these areas. She chose 7 different areas of, clothes, spending, media, possessions, waste, and stress. For food..she whittled life down to 7 foods for one month! Clothes...she only wore 7 items of clothing for one month! Possessions....she gave away 7 items a day for that month!  Media....she chose 7 areas of media and her family refrained from those for an entire month. You'll have to read the book to see how that all played out for her, but what a challenge it was to me!

As our family headed into summer, one area of "too much" was very apparent to me! All of a sudden with no school to keep us busy, TV and computer seemed to be consuming our time! So for the month of June we TV, no FBook, no computer. Let me tell was painful....

I have always admired the Amish. I LOVE their simplicity! I LOVE seeing their simple clothes hanging out to dry, children working and playing outside, bare feet, no electricity, thier habit of early to bed and early to rise, and their worship, rest, and family time on Sundays. In many ways I have thot..I could live like that! And in many ways I think I could. BUT...there are things in our modern day that I have become accustomed to, and it was very hard for me to give them up for even one month!!!

God taught me soooo much during this month. Here are some of my simple reflections as our family refrained from TV and computer for the month of June. In Part 2 to come I will share my deeper thots..... is VERY quiet with no TV or computer!
...I had NO problem whatsoever giving up TV, in fact I LOVED it! up FBook was painful without computer is lonely
...I got soooo much more accomplished each day!!..WOW does the computer eat alot of time....
...the quiet gave me time to pray. I prayed for so many more people as they came to mind
...I wrote alot of seemed to be my only form of communicating! I'm not a huge phone person...
...bed time was much earlier
...we read ALOT!!!! I read 3 or 4 books very quickly, and the girls were found all day long nestled in a chair with a book!
...I was much more available to my family
...the no TV was much harder for Mike and the girls than me
...I missed my Massachusetts family terribly. The little snippets of life that they post on FBook keep me connected and knowing what is going on in their lives from day to day. I felt like I was cut off from them...but remember I was the one who did the cutting....
... I grieved that I also had cut off my entire family and friends from hearing what is going on in my life....
...I missed the people who I have come to love and interact with on a very regular basis. I was lonely, and it made me scratch my head and wonder how can being without a computer make me feel sooooo lonely??
...we had people to dinner often! When life is no longer full of TV or crave something to do and someone to be with!
...we went out for ice cream ALOT in the evening!
...we took naps relationship with my girls grew tremendously over the month of June. We had THE BEST summer days together..without distractions!
...we exercised ALOT!! 5 days a week at the YMCA!
...I missed Paula. Am I allowed to say that without offending anyone else?? We have communicated every single day...many times a day...since she was diagnosed with cancer. It has been a huge source of encouragement for me to share life with her, and to discuss God and His Word together and how to apply it to every day of life. She long ago simplified life by not spending time talking on the phone. So here were girl who doesnt use the computer,and the other who doesnt use the phone...and it was like someone completely cut us off!
...I cheated. Several times. I longed for a glimpse of my family in Mass., and I longed to talk to Paula and didnt want to call her. So I cheated....
...the computer is an outlet..a place to throw yourself out there for others and an easy way to interact. I spent the first 40 years of my life keeping all of life completely to myself. I dont want to be that person who keeps life all to myself anymore.
...I still love the Amish, but in many ways I dont want to live their life. Technology can be a good thing!
...I already knew this, but I realized in a much deeper way..that what really fills the void in life, the lonliness, the pleasure that we seek, the longings that we God.

Part 2 to come soon.....

Friday, May 11, 2012

I Took the Challenge!!

My friend Cindy and I pray together every Wednesday morning. It is a delightful thing in life to have a prayer partner!! Cindy's son is a Pastor..the Pastor of Outreach Ministries at Independent Bible Church in West Virginia. Cindy shared with me a message her son Brad preached this past week. Within the message Brad issued a challenge to write your testimony...your story of how you came to know Jesus Christ... in 100 words. You can listen to that thought provoking message and the reasons for his challenge here....The Power of Story...Pastor Brad Heacock

What a challenge this was for me! I didnt come to know Christ til I was 26 years old, and my story is long and detailed! Or so I thot! It took me 2 days to whittle this down, and now I truly understand the reasons he asked me to do so! And isnt it soooo cool how God tied in so many things I was thinking about this week....John 3:16 and being overwhelmed about what He has done for me, and that He used this quote from a book I was reading to make me start thinking on all of this!! ..."Every life tells a story, through words and actions and choices...and I dont know if there's anything better in the world than when we lay ourselves wide open and let HIS story become OUR story!"

So in light of all that, here is my story in 101 words!!! I would LOVE to hear your story! And if Jesus is not yet part of your story, I would LOVE to tell you more about how He changed my life!

I grew up in a Christian home but I never really understood what it meant to have a personal relationship with Jesus. I wanted to be loved and accepted, so in my teens I did everything my friends were doing - drinking, smoking pot, having sex. When I was 22 I moved in with my boyfriend Mike. After 4 years I was miserable with our lifestyle and broke our relationship. Then Mike became a Christian. His life totally changed, and I wanted what he found. In 1988 I made the best decision of my life and trusted Jesus to be my personal Savior!

1 John 3:1...See what love the Father has lavished on me that I should be called a child of God...and that is what I am!!!!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

For God Soooo Loved Joyce.......

For God so loved the world, that He sent His only Son, that when Joyce Ann Lewellyn believed in Him she would not perish but would have everlasting life!!

What an incredible gift!! A present I did not deserve or earn - it was just given! I am sooooo humbled, and realize that in the nearly 24 years since I received that gift, I have only begun to unwrap what is inside the package!

A personal relationship deeper and more intimate than I could have EVER imagined. A Companion, Teacher, Counselor, Comforter, Guide, and Friend. His book - the greatest treasure I have ever owned. His Spirit - the very mind of God, ever present with me.

Gods love: Available. Consistent. Dependable. Unconditional. Personal. Proven. Trustworthy.

How Deep the Father's Love For Us!!..(click to listen)

I am in awe and extremely humbled as I think about Gods love for me..........