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!

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..........

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Whose Face Are You Seeking?

I came across this verse the other day and have been thinking about it ever since...
1Chronicles 16:11....Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His face continually.

What exactly does it mean to "seek God's face"?  To me, it means to purpose for intimacy with Him, to desire Him, and it has much to do with prayer.When I first read the words, "seek His face", all I could picture was the closeness I have experienced face to face with Amber! She LOVES for you to be right up close to her face..and I LOVE to look in her eyes, take in her character, listen closely for her voice.It is THE BEST!
Seeking God's face must be like that! Such intimacy, such joy and closeness and desire to be as close as possible to Him and know everything about Him! Ahhhh! What a most precious picture to me!
Psalm 27:8...When You said, "Seek My face", my heart said.."You're face Lord I will seek".

But as I thought about this, I went to bed the other night thinking....."Do I seek God's face? attention on Him, wanting His attention, adoring Him, wanting to please him, wanting His love and much as I seek the "faces" of others???....Or as much as I seek FACEbook????....ouch!!!

What does it REALLY mean to be a "seeker" of God's face? go in search of, look for of the definitions is expression, countenance
To seek God's face in every circumstance of life would be to want to know His reaction, His expression, His countenance in every situation of life. I picture this....watching His sadness, joy, compassion, tenderness, lovingkindness, hurt, anger, sorrow,....over the choices I make and the things I am going through. To seek Gods face is to WANT to know His reactions and how He feels about my life.

The word "seek" in 1 Chron 16:11 comes from the Hebrew word, "baqash", which means to search out(as in worship or prayer).  The word "face" comes from the word "paneh", which means the face(as the part that turns!!!)

So here I am back at that picture of Amber....wanting to be soooo close to her face, her wanting to be so close to mine,...watching every expression, her reactions, her countenance, the way she turns to me and touches me and responds to me.....

And you know what I realized?? The only way it happens is if I position myself there! Amber is ALWAYS overjoyed when I come face to face with her, but she cannot come to me. I must go to her. I have to be the one to go and purpose for it.....and so it is with God......

Psalm 27:7-8...Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice. Have mercy upon me and answer me. When You said, "Seek my face", my heart said to You, "Your face, Lord, I will seek!"

..and The Message says it this way..."When my heart whispered, 'Seek God", my whole being replied,'I'm seeking Him!'"

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Filling the Void....

I have been soooo restless lately. Unsettled in life about things I wish were different, things I dont know how to fix. . Feeling empty. Like I'm starving. Like something is missing. Wanting to fill the voids but at a loss to know how to do so.
And then this hit me. Music being practiced over and over and over by my daughter in preparation for a performance, but just now the words are penetrating my soul.

"Jesus is all the world to me, my life, my joy, my all;
He is my strength from day to day, without Him I would fall...."

Is He REALLY? Is He really the world to me???? My life, my joy, my all? Then why do I so quickly run to other things, other try to fill the emptiness, the restlessness, the voids...?

Oh how I long to live out the words to this hymn. That Jesus would indeed be ALL the world to me..
My LIFE...that I would live to serve and please Him always...
My JOY...that my life would be a reflection of my trust in Him....beaming with joy inexpressible!
My STRENGTH...that it would be Him that I run to when I am empty and weak...
My FRIEND...He is indeed my closest friend. The One I love most and long most to be with. Oh how I need to go to Him with everything..all the restlessness, emptiness, and desires. Who better to guide me and give me counsel than my very best friend?

There is NOTHING/NOONE this world has to offer that is better than Jesus!
Thank you for the reminder Mikayla! Your music is music for my soul!
Jesus IS all the world to me!
 Lord, show me how to live it!

Jesus is all the world to me, my life, my joy, my all.
He is my strength from day to day, without Him I would fall.
When I am sad to Him I go, no other one can cheer me so;
When I am sad, He makes me glad, He's my friend.

Jesus is all the world to me, my friend in trials sore;
I go to Him for blessings, and He fives them o'er and o'er.
He sends the sunshine and the rain, He sends the harvests golden grain;
Sunshine and rain, harvest of grain, He's my friend.

Jesus is all the world to me, and true to Him I'll be;
O, how could I, this friend deny, when He's so true to me?
Following Him, I know I'm right, He watches o'er me day and night;
Following Him be day and night, He's my friend.

Jesus is all the world to me, I want no better friend;
I trust Him now, I'll trust Him when lifes fleeting days shall end.
Beautiful life with such a friend, beautiful life that has no end;
Eternal life, eternal joy, He's my friend!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

I Am in Awe!!!

As I anticipate the arrival of my family from Massachusetts.....just one week from today!!.....I am in absolute awe!! In awe of Gods wonders, His answers to my prayers, and His mercy toward my family. My heart has just been melting the past few days as I think of how He has cared for us!!
Amber's little body is so fragile, and we know that each month, each week, each day of breath for her is a gift from God. Over the past year we have prayed that God would allow us to enjoy specific occasions with Amber. We prayed that God would give Amber health and strength so that our entire family could rejoice in the celebration of Noah and Sarah's wedding!

We prayed that we would be able to celebrate Amber's second birthday!


We prayed that Amber would be able to enjoy the pleasure of being a big sister!

My most recent prayer has been that Amber would be able to come to Grammy and Pappy's again....this time with her brother! To be quite honest, I have doubted. Their last trip to Pa. was in the beginning of Oct. 2011. Amber has been so sick since then....once at Thanksgiving and again just recently in Feb. and March, and each time I have thot Amber will never be strong enough to make the trip again. But look what God has done! She is strong, she is healthy, and they are preparing to be here in one week!
 I have wanted the joy of having both grand-babies in our home, and maybe this sounds silly, but I long for Amber to swing on Grammy and Pappy's swing again. Last year at this time, we rejuvenated our old swing set and made it all ready for Amber, and she was able to enjoy it one time so far.

As I look forward to next week and the extravagant joy of having my whole family together, I am in absolute awe of how God has answered our prayers and granted the deepest desires of my heart. These words have been flooding my mind for days, and so I take this day to praise God for what He has done!

Psalm 40:5...Many, O Lord, are Your wonderful works which You have done; and Your thots toward us cannot be recounted to You in order. If I would declare and speak of them they are more than can be numbered!

Psalm 139:17-18...How precious also are Your thots to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Place I MOST Want to Be!!!

"As they continued their travel, Jesus entered a village. A woman by the name of Martha welcomed Him and made Him feel quite at home. She had a sister, Mary, who sat before the Master, hanging on every word He said. But Martha was pulled away by......" Luke 10 The Msg.

I was thinking about Mary and Martha this morning. Wondering, what does it mean to sit at Jesus feet? Who else in scripture did so? And what in life distracts me and pulls me away from doing so?

The only other direct reference I found to someone sitting at Jesus' feet made me melt inside. It was in Luke 8:35..."They came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had been sent, sitting at Jesus feet."
 It was the man who had a legion of demons that Jesus cast out and into the pigs! After being healed, this man was found sitting at Jesus feet!
What does it mean to me to sit at Jesus feet? is to spend time with Him listen to His Word not be pulled away from/distracted by..all the things in life that seem more important but really aren't!
...I am sitting at His feet every time I read about what He has done, read the words He spoke....
...every time I pray
...every time I curl up in my favorite chair and need His counsel, wisdom, comfort, encouragement, strength....
...every time I long for His presence and listen for His voice
...sitting at Jesus feet is being still before Him is to be in awe of who Jesus is...(imagine the awe that the demon possessed/now free man must have felt!)

Sitting at Jesus feet is to realize there is NO place I would rather be - NOTHING I would rather be doing!
This is where I want to begin every day of my life - sitting at Jesus feet!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Living With Eyes Wide Open!

"Your eyes are windows in your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar. If you pull the blinds on your windows, what a dark life you will have!"...Matt 5 The Msg.

   We need to open our eyes WIDE to see God's blessings - His wonders - His gifts. Sometimes God's blessings are sooo evident, but at other times they are small gifts wrapped within an ugly package that we would not have chosen. We have to embrace what God has given! Be willing to accept and unwrap the package to see the beautiful gifts within!

 Don't live life squinty-eyed, not trusting....but enjoy and be thankful for what God has given. Live life with eyes WIDE open to see God!!

On my recent trip to Massachusetts, God opened my eyes to soooo many sweet gifts. His blessings....wrapped within the not-so-pretty package called I-cell Disease. I am so very thankful for the way He has opened my eyes to see His grace, His goodness, His wonders..... my son and his wife... the way they love, laugh, maturely handle the difficult, and sweetly enjoy the simplest pleasures of life each day!

...Vin and Jodi, Skyes parents...
 the love, sacrifice, care, compassion and commitment they offer my family day in and day out!

...a knock on the door, a woman who physically looks like me, whose name is Joyce, whose arms and heart were filled with love and compassion and practical gifts for my son and his family.  God allowing me to see with eyes wide open the way He answers the prayers of my heart......

...the endless revolving door of caregivers who help to meet the needs... and do so, not with duty, but with abounding love and tenderness!

 How could words ever begin to convey what God has taught me already thru these two precious lives?

..that life is to be treasured...every sweet expression, every breath a gift
...that a smile could be the biggest blessing of my day

...that so much in life can be communicated without any words at all!

 Who would ever guess that some of the greatest joys in life could be found in watching one sleep?

...or to have them look in your eyes
 ...caress your face
...and giggle!

 Live Simply!!!!

 Treasure life!!!

Embrace each day with eyes wide open to see Gods wonderful gifts!!

Many, O Lord my God, are Your wonderful works which You have done; and Your thoughts toward us cannot be recounted in order. If I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered!...Psalm 40:5