Month: August 2013

An example of light brought into darkness

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This weekend is a pretty special weekend. I didn’t actually realize it until just this morning. But it’s the 10-year anniversary of the Lord melting my cold heart and bringing me back to Him, after 2 years of wandering. He used the Lifelight Music Festival. But He also used dear friends who chose to do whatever they could to not let me go.

As I’ve mentioned lately, I’m in the middle of writing a book, a memoir of sort, and it’s been heartbreaking to go back and remember those first years of me and Pat’s relationship. But it’s also been amazing to remember how God pursued me. How He did not forsake me.

How He loved me, even as I wallowed in despicable sin.

I wanted to share a little bit from one of my chapters. The chapter that describes that day in 2003. Lifelight was a lot smaller. But God was moving and just as alive as He is today.

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I was so nervous as I drove back to the festival grounds the next morning. Nervous again about who I would encounter. Nervous about what I would hear. Nervous about finding my friends Pam and Nona. Attendance at the worship service was much higher than the previous day. There were 40,000 in attendance and I had no idea how I would find them. Thankfully God took care of even that small detail and within no time, I had found them and set up my chair next to Brooke.

I don’t remember the message or anything about the service. What I do remember is that right before I sat down, Brooke’s dad Pat said to me, “We love you Missy,” as he gave me a great big bear hug. 

I immediately started to cry and I couldn’t stop.  I had never felt such love.  It’s one thing to feel love and acceptance when you have not made horrible choices that hurt the people in your life. But it’s another to turn your back on family and friends and everything you know that is right, and still receive that love and acceptance.

I cried during the entire service as I sat there. At the end there was an invitation to either start a personal relationship with Jesus, or to recommit to Him. The worship team started to sing “This is the Air I Breath” and as I stood there I wept uncontrollably. I didn’t know what to do.

Brooke, my 14 year-old angel, put her arms around me and whispered in my ear, “Just let it go Missy.”

And I did.

I immediately fell to my knees and I finally opened up my heart to the Lord. After so long of denying any wrong doing on my part, I admitted my rebellion and acknowledged the sinful choices I had made the past two years. I cried out to Him and asked Him to forgive me.

It was as if I was literally transported from the pit of the deepest darkest hole, up into a glorious light.

~~~

Tonight we are going to celebrate at Lifelight! We are going to celebrate Jesus and His work in our life! We are going to celebrate that in His unfailing love and devotion, He not only brought me back to Him that day, but He later brought Holly and Pat to Him too.

I want to challenge you today also.

It’s probably likely that you have people in your life that don’t know the Lord. Or maybe they do, but they have been wandering away from Him.

Do not lose hope friends.

Be like my friends at Lifelight that year, and allow God to use you. Step out in faith and give an invitation to Lifelight or to church or just to coffee to show them how much you care. And then just LOVE them. Hug them and tell them you love them and let God do the rest of the work!

And perhaps as you read this, you are the one who doesn’t know the Lord. Perhaps you are the one who does know the Lord, but has been wandering away from Him.

Dear friend, Jesus loves you so  much. Even in your sin. He is willing and able and ready to reach down into the deepest, darkest pit, and rescue you.

You just have to let it go.

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Angel Quittem Day

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It’s Angel Quittem day today!

Woo hoo!

Today is the day we celebrate our girl and remember the official official day that she became ours forever and ever!

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Me, Holly and Angel hanging out before court.

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Look at her smile!

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She’s not too impressed. But we had a wonderful judge we was so thrilled for our family.

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I’ll have to show her this. She’s solemnly swearing to always listen to Mommy and Daddy. Ha!

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After court we had a party at our house for friends and family. I love this picture with our bud Jamen!

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Blessed beyond measure!  Just love looking at pictures of my girl when she was so tiny!

And then in the blink of an eye, she’s almost 6. And smart and sassy and ready to take on the world!

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We love you baby girl!

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Finding a way to take more time

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The days seem so long.

Ironic because I often struggle with the “hurry up” syndrome.

I’ve been a “hurry up” mama for a long time (maybe since I’ve been a mom?) and I was encouraged in this beautiful blog post to take more time.

Well actually, when I woke up one Tuesday morning and came to find my parents had died, with no goodbye and no warning.

That is what encouraged me to take more time.

Everyone says it.

“The days are long. But the years are short.”

I’ve heard it a million times. But how many of us actually live our lives to reflect that reality?

I know I often don’t. Even after the horrific reality of June 12, 2012.

I’ve been trying and trying and trying.

And finally I’m finding a way. I’m finding a way to take more time.

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To play with play dough, instead of just do other stuff while they are entertained.

To go on walks and collect flowers and leaves.

To make art out of every day stuff.

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To rub backs and “write” letters and guess letters.

To push on the tire swing. For the hundredth time.

To sleep in a tent in the front yard.

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(We only lasted an hour. The 400 degree heat and creepy noises were just too much.)

To read their favorite book. For the hundredth time.

To go outside and kick the soccer ball, instead of just watching from the window.

To bite my tongue and double-check my attitude and demonstrate patience, instead of just always preaching about it.

To say “I love you.” Just because I do.

To serve. Even when I get nothing back.

To teach them, instead of just doing it myself because it’s faster.

To put my phone down, and give them the attention they need.

To be truly present in their lives.

I could go on and on.

So many opportunities every day.
So many ways to take time.
To make memories.
To cherish and embrace the short time we are given.

~~~

“But I can’t,” you say.

“I’m so tired.”

“I’m so impatient.”

“I’m not present in my family’s life. And I don’t know how to be.”

“I’m at the end of my rope, on the brink of despair, and I don’t know how to move from it.”

I will pray for you today friend.

And I want to tell you that there is hope.

Hope that is found in the Lord.

But also hope that is found in healing our bodies.

Two weeks ago I was at the end of my rope, on the brink of despair, not knowing how to move from it.

And I found something to help me out of it.

“Two weeks? Really? You want me to believe something has helped you that much after only two weeks?”

I can understand that question.
And so check back with me in four weeks or six weeks or twelve weeks.

But I pray you don’t wait that long.

God heard my cries and He has given me a great gift.

I’m so thankful for the opportunity to heal my body.
Heal my mind.
And take more time with those I love.

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5 Minute Friday: Last

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Two Friday posts?

“Where are your children?” you ask.

“Don’t you have chickens to feed or something?”

I recently found Lisa Jo Baker’s blog and I’m prompted to join along with today’s 5 Minute writing challenge.

Write for 5 minutes, no stopping, no editing, no over-thinking… just write.

The topic is “Last.”

And go.

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The last time I saw her was at Ruby Tuesdays. Her and dad had had the kids for a few days, giving me and Pat a little break from the craziness of parenthood.

We met in Mitchell, half way. And she invited us to go to Ruby Tuesday. She would buy.

Dad couldn’t come. He was working on something on the boat.

I ordered the salad bar and shared with Angel.

She ordered the salmon and baked potato and said that she was going to bring half of it home for Dad.

We talked about life. We tried to get the kids to eat. They told me about their mini-vacation with Grama and Papa.

They got to sleep on the boat. They went fishing. There was no greater joy than time spent on the river with their grandparents.

It got late. We still had an hour drive home. It was time to say goodbye.

She asked the waitress for a to-go box, because she did in fact save half her meal for Dad.

That’s what they did. They took care of each other. They shared everything.

We walked out into the parking lot. I noticed that she was driving Leana’s blue car.

She gave the kids hugs. She turned to me and gave me a hug.

She said I love and drive safe.

She got in her car and drove over to the gas station to get gas.

It was the last time I’d see her.

The last time to say I love you.

The last time to see her tired smile and sparkling blue eyes.

The last time to hear her desire to be used of God.

The last time I saw my mom.

I hate Ruby Tuesday.

~~~

And stop.

Wow, that was hard not to edit. But good.

If you are needing some encouragement today, check out Lisa’s blog. Great stuff there. And there are lots of other links for 5 Minute Friday.