Thursday, March 31, 2011

Light it Up Blue!

My blog-friend Debi, over at Who Says 8 is Enough? has a little boy, Will, with autism. He is adorable and full of JOY! I know he is the delight of his mother's heart. She posted today:
"I hope there will come a day where autism isn't viewed so negatively and the key to that is awareness. Autism Speaks is an organization that gives a voice to the cause and this month, through them, we are Lighting it up Blue for Autism. I have bought blue light bulbs and on April 1st and 2nd, my home will be lit up blue.
Won't you do it too? For Will and for every child you know that is on the spectrum and for all of the ones who might be..."

Please, be a voice for these children who so rarely get to express themselves. Shine a blue light and tell others about a little boy or little girl you know who is the delight of their parents' hearts. Consider donating to Autism Speaks and say a prayer for the families who've been touched by this little-understood condition. Lord God, gather Your precious children into Your arms, touch their hearts and minds, give them peace and strength! Thank you!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Time to Laugh

After such a sobering week dealing with my Grandpa's illness and his move into a nursing home, accompanied by Gram (and I'm so far away, so far...), I needed a little laughter.

Rocky's favorite books are the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series of "graphic" novels. I have to say this is genious! Simple, fun "kid's life" stories with doodle-style cartoons to illustrate the most serious or funniest moments. Last year, when the movie came out, Rocky and I had a "date" and went to see it. It was way funnier than I thought it would be. This year, they came out with a sequel, and you know we'll have to go see it!

I found a great link on Facebook to "Wimp Yourself" promoting the movie. I couldn't resist. So here's my version of myself in the Wimpy universe. ;)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Time to Weep

I happened to call my parents this evening about 15 minutes before they hit the road to drive from Iowa to Oklahoma. My grandpa, Don, is in the hospital with clots in his legs and lungs. They're running tests, but believe this is the result of some form of cancer. They're recommending hospice care.
He's 90-years-old and his health, mentally and physically, has been declining steadily over the past few years. This year, however, has been the most dramatic. I was fortunate to be able to visit last July and, although he was obviously confused and slept a lot more, Grandpa was up playing cards, escorting my Gram to the senior center for lunch, dabbling in the yard, and walking to the post office for mail. When my mom went down last week for her spring break, he was so weak that he had to lean on her when she took him into the yard. He had little interest in things and couldn't tell the difference between the suits when they played cards. She had gone down, not only for a visit, but for a serious meeting with her brother and sisters about getting her parents into an assisted living facility with security in case Grandpa went wandering. It's a difficult transition that has been the subject of discussion for the past few years between "the kids." By the end of the week, no move had been made, and now this – just 4 days later.
I am praying peace over Grandpa. I'm praying peace and strength over Gram, Momma, Uncle Rodney, Aunt Carol, and Aunt Susan. Please join me with your prayers.

Grandpa Don Huffer – July 4, 2010
"To everything there is a season. A time for everything under heaven... A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn, and a time to dance." Ecclesiastes 3:1,4 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Mother's Great Voice in Heaven

The tag line on this blog is "the joys and trials of raising 7 children in a house of prayer." I realized that I haven't been sharing too many joys lately. I experience them, but haven't written about them. Which is maybe (part of) why God felt that I needed this word from Him. My friend Susan, whom I've known for at least 15 years, but only lately have come to be on any kind of intimate level with, got this word for me and typed it up. She gave it to Nick while he was visiting his family last week to bring home to me. I am so grateful to her for her ability to listen to that "still small Voice" and her obedient heart. I'm sharing this because it gave me such joy and encouragement and I think it will do the same for some of you.

Do you not know?
Have you not considered this:
         A mother has a great voice in heaven
         A mother's prayer, a mother's tears move the heart of God that He may tenderly bend down to His daughter to catch every whispered heartache.

Is it enough that God the Father knows your name?
Is it enough that angels are dispatched when you pray?
Where would you be great? Upon the earth that will burn with fire at the end?
Keep looking to Me, to My words, for My words will build you up, they will shape you and mold you.
        Who knows your name? Where do you go for praise and recognition?
        Who holds the secrets of your heart?
        Who walks with you?

        My very precious daughter, your faith is a delight to Me. I shall lead you to the altar and re-ignite the passions of your heart as you have desired, for it is My desire.

        Take heart, this is only for a season, the way you feel now will not be forever. All mothers/mother hearts go through this. I know, for I too have a mother's heart for I am El Shaddai, the all-sufficient One, the Provider. I nurture all who come to Me.

        What seems to you a smoldering wick about to go out is quite the bright light in the courts of God.
Your faithfulness amazes the angels before Me, for you attend to Me without seeing My Glory or Holiness. Blessed are you My little one, for your children will rise up and call you "blessed".
         You say, "I have done no great thing for the Lord. My deeds are small."
         I say, your deeds are only small to human eyes. Eternity is being planted in the hearts of your children, being raised to know and glorify the Lord. This is an awesome work before Me that no angel, no cherub, no seraph or living creature is able to do.
         Your day is coming my very precious daughter, the day when I will draw you deeper into My chamber, I will cup your face in My hands and look lovingly upon you. In that place, great things are before you.
         You have yet to know this place but have yearned for it.
         I tell you it is a surety in My heart and shall be.
         Take heart, for your God is strong on your behalf and delights in the faith you have in the small things.
         Great things grow from small seeds.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Fear of the Lord & Repentance

Romans 2:1-5 says: "You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed."

Do you ever wonder if you're experiencing the fullness that God has for you? Do you ever "just know" that you're missing something? I do. For sure. And it wasn't till last week, listening to John Mulinde speak over the IHOP-KC webstream, that I realized why I was missing it. I am not fully repentant for some of the things I do or think. I ask for forgiveness, most of the time, but there are many times that I just go ahead and do it again because - hey, I'm human. But, true repentance takes an active act of change. Change of WAYS. If I think badly of someone, even if they "deserve it" for acting nasty, being hurtful, or not appreciating me or someone I love, it's not okay! How can I judge them when I am doing the same thing in my head to them? The plank is in my eye!!! 

I don't know about you, but I want to stop storing up wrath against myself ASAP!!! There is a reason it's called "the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord!" I want to see the treasures and rewards, not God's wrath. I do not want to be one of these: "Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’"(Matthew 7:22,23) And I also don't want the Lord to say to me:
"I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked." (Rev. 3:15-17)

God is calling us out of our human ways to walk fully in God's ways. The work done on the cross was fully complete. If we are still dealing with woundedness, bitterness, selfishness, we have not died to ourselves, so we cannot be experiencing holiness. Holiness comes from God.
We are being called to deep repentance and total surrender to God.

This place of comfort I've come to live in is not good enough. It's time to get radical, and it starts with myself. Lord Jesus, help me to fully repent of my ways. Show me the things I need to change, and guide me in YOUR WAYS. Holy Spirit, reveal to us the fullness of God - the awesome power - so that we live in reverent fear and love. Don't let us stay lukewarm in our sleepy complacency of Your forgiveness.
He cannot forgive what we do not repent of.

As I wrap this up, I'm reminded of something Misty Edwards, one of the leading worship leaders and intercessors at IHOP-KC, said at the Onething 2008 conference. "You can't run the race with one foot still in bed." That really resounded with my spirit. There were things holding me back - things I wasn't ready to change about myself. Things I wasn't ready to give up. It's time. I'm ready to run this race with excellence. With God's help, I will follow His ways and leave mine behind.

P.S. Thank you, Keliah, for giving me an opening to teach you and your siblings about the fear of God.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

How a Week Can Change You

It's been an amazing, humbling, saddening, maddening, joy-ride week. There were several times within the past week and a half that I've been hungry to get on here and have a little self-therapy and share. I'm finally forcing myself to step out of my head and get it all typed up. Although, it may take a few posts to do so.
First off, let me say that I am missing Nick like CRAZY right now. He flew out to Nebraska on Tuesday quite suddenly because of a death in the family. I will get to that. I hate when he is gone because I tend to cocoon until he gets home. I wrap myself up in the kids and too much Netflix surfing and recognizing the mess I'm living in. I haven't even been communicating much online because my heart is kind of unraveled and I feel undone. Plus, I don't sleep well when he's not in bed with me. This is why I rarely complain about him hogging the bed. I am just BETTER when he is around me. How wonderful to be married to a man that loves, cherishes, and champions me! I am truly blessed.
On Monday, I got a voicemail from my mother-in-law, Connie. Not sure why my phone didn't ring, but I listened to her prayer request for her step-daughter Janice who was in the hospital with pneumonia and already had hepatitis. Now, the relationships in this family are somewhat confusing from the outside. Connie is Nick's mom, she married Bill almost 29 years ago after he'd been married and divorced twice before. They didn't have any children together, but Bill had 2 children with each of his other wives. A son and daughter (Janice) in the first marriage, and 2 daughters in the second. The 2 girls from Bill's second marriage are very close in age to Nick and they spent a lot of weekends and vacations together. Bill's first wife remarried and they lived in the Kansas City area; his son ended up living with Nick, Connie and Bill for a short time in his teens and Janice came to visit for a while too, but they were largely out of the picture. Now, it's sad to say, but I have been married to Nick for 15 and a half years and I never met Janice nor any of her 3 kids. I did meet Bill's son, Lenny, once as well as his daughter. This has gotten kind of drawn out, but it's important to get a glimpse of the family dynamics. Janice spent time in and out of prison during her adult life. Her 2 sons also have been in and out of jail (the older one is in now.) Janice was actually serving time for the past few months and got sick in prison. Her daughter, Skye, was staying with Janice's stepdad because her own father is out of the picture now. Nick had met Skye before because he went to see Janice when she was still with Skye's dad. When Janice was sent to prison this last time, Nick was on the phone with Bill telling him we were willing to take Skye in and make her part of our family. No one really listened. Then, Janice got sick, Bill rushed down to Kansas City to see her because they didn't know how long she would last. I found out not long after that when Bill got the call she had already flat-lined once and been brought back. By the time he got there, she was already brain-dead. Her systems started shutting down, her younger son (barely 20) was faced with making a serious decision, but she passed not too much later. We were praying, we had many people at OHOP and in the mid-west praying for her. Janice was only 41 years old. Skye is only 9.
Just 2 years ago, Janice's brother Lenny died at about the same age - quite suddenly. Then, their mom died a few months later. Bill did not handle the death of his son well, he was just starting to open up and talk about it in December when Nick was visiting them. Connie's mom, Marcella, has been living with them for the past few years and has become completely dependent on them for her care. Nick felt compelled to fly up as soon as he could to help his family. He knew that his mom should be with Bill for the funeral service, so he thought at the least he can stay with his Grandma. However, Nick had Skye on his heart from the beginning of all this. We prayed about all driving up, but it takes at least 2 days to drive and we were not prepared to make the trip at all. (Now we're going to have to make a plan because all of our grandparents are getting near the end.) We prayed for Grandpa Bill and Great and Grandma Connie and Skye. We prayed traveling mercies over Nick and that God would use him. We're still praying.
Janice's stepdad is now trying to get official custody of Skye. He didn't want to have a service for Janice, Bill made the arrangements. It seems that no one takes Nick seriously when he says that we are more than willing to bring Skye into our family. It's not a good situation there. However, Nick's uncle and aunt are coming to stay with his Grandma while he goes to the funeral in Kansas City with his parents. He will have an opportunity to see Skye and her grandfather. I was praying for her and God showed me how He had been taking people out of her life for a purpose. She is precious to Him and He has a plan for her. Whether she is with us or not, I will not stop praying for Skye.
All of this has been sobering and humbling. I have been impressed upon within the past month to understand the fear of the Lord. He loves and forgives, our repentance is accepted. But, we can't stop fearing the Lord. There is power and authority there. More on this tomorrow.
Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’ John 14:27,28