Friday, August 30, 2013

Worship Behind the Vail: Five Minute Friday

It's Five Minute Friday again. This week we are linking up with Lisa-Jo over at (in)courage. Most of you know the routine...and you know that almost every FMF post I tend to go over just a tad. This has become more of a word prompt that helps me be more disciplined with my writing.  If you aren't familiar just scroll down to the bottom for the rules.
This week's word is...
 Worship
Go...

It was Sunday morning and here I was sitting by the bedside of my 13 year old son. He was in the children's rehab hospital, in a vail bed...zipped in for his own good. Unable to walk without assistance but unable to make the discernment on his own that he could not walk.   I unzipped the vail, the mesh net covering around his bed, and crawled in next to my son.

 Oh how I wished that we were both sitting in church, worshipping together and hearing the words that God had given the pastor to speak that day. To sing with the congregation the worship songs that my son loved and adored.  He's never been much of a singer...but oh how he can worship with abandon!!!

Still unable to speak coherently, he let me know he wanted to 'have church' right there.  This mother and son bond had become so strong in the previous weeks of hospitalization that I had begun to almost read his thoughts. I had become his translator to the world, his fierce advocate.  Yes...I knew what he wanted, his favorite song at the time, and I began to sing...
My Jesus, my Savior
Lord, there is none like You
All of my days, I want to praise
The wonders of Your mighty love
My comfort, my shelter
Tower of refuge and strength
Let every breath, all that I am
Never cease to worship You
Shout to the Lord, all the earth, let us sing
Power and majesty, praise to the King
Mountains bow down and the seas will roar
At the sound of Your name
(Read more: Zschech Darlene - Shout To The Lord Lyrics | MetroLyrics )
He began to sing with me.  When he could not put four words together to form a sentence...when we were playing countless games of 'twenty questions to figure out what he was trying to say to us...he sang. Every.Single.Word!!!  Oh how good is our God!!!  His word and the words of His inspiration do not depart from us...even in the face of brain injury through stroke.

As the words sank in, I felt him relaxing and sinking back into my arms, still singing. Finally, when the song came to an end, he sighed and said, "Now I feel like I've been in worship!"

Worship...it can occur anywhere. Even in the vail bed of a Rehabilitation hospital!  We need only lift our hearts and our eyes to our Father in heaven and acknowledge that He is God and we are not! He holds us in His arms and carries us through this journey we call life.

Doesn't He deserve our worship? Our adoration? Our love? I believe, I KNOW, that He does!

Where were you the last time you worshipped, really worshipped God?







"The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever"
Isaiah 40:8

Now it's your turn...


1. Write for 5 minutes flat - no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments
Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community...

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Grace...It Is Enough...One Word Challenge

Grace.

A word we all use.  But is it a word we fully understand? 

What comes to your mind when you hear the word 'grace'? 

Most of us understand this word or concept in connection with the grace that God has bestowed upon us in the plan of salvation. This undeserved favor of God. The forgiveness of our sins so that those very sins can be removed..forgiven. Redeemed, bought back, with the very life blood of His son, Jesus.

Grace...One Word Challenge
The favor of God is best understood through His grace. (click to tweet)
But there is more to this word, even though the grace of the forgiveness we receive from Him should be enough. Philip Yancey expresses the concept of grace beautifully.  Grace"...contains the essence of the Gospel as a drop of water can contain the image of the sun."  What a picture of the depth of this word. I love this!

As I began to dig deeper, delving into it's original language in the Old and New Testaments, I was touched deeply in the awareness that this word that we use, so glibly at times, has such richness in meaning throughout the Bible.  Honestly, my head began to ache trying to process it all. So I will share the short version of what I have gleaned.

The Greek word for grace is Charis...meaning grace, favor, thanks.  It has its roots in the word charisma, which means gift. Going further back the roots of the word charisma connect to a verb meaning, ' I rejoice or I am glad.'  So grace not only indicates favor on the part of the giver, but also thanks on the part of the receiver.   Grace is a free gift, an undeserved gift of God, but there is also an eagerness denoted in the word. Wow! God is eager to bestow His forgiveness and favor upon us! (click to tweet) That blows me away!

Grace...
"...it signifies the unmerited operation of God in the heart of man, affected through the agency of the Holy Spirit. While we sometimes speak of grace as an inherent quality, it is in reality the active communication of divine blessings by the inworking of the Holy Spirit, out of the fulness of Him who is 'full of grace and truth'..." Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology 

All that we have, as children of God, is this gift of grace that is dependent on the free gift of God through His son, and flows, from Him, to and through us by the inner workings of the Holy Spirit. We accept this gift from our Heavenly Father as a child accepts the love and provision of her father.  Completely dependent on Him for His provision of every gift...the forgiveness we receive as well as the strength to extend His grace to those around us. Yes...even those who have wronged us.


Grace...makes me think of the words from the old hymn...

Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace...
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within
Grace that is greater than all our sin.

Oh how very thankful I am for this wonderful word! 

Do you hear Him? In His great love and eagerness He is calling you!! Either to accept  this grace or to allow it to flow through you to bless others! Won't you answer His call









For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came through Jesus Christ.       ~    Romans 3:23-24


If you would like to see the  other posts for words and pictures that I have created for friends taking the One Word Challenge click here, and scroll down to the list of words. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Small...The Lie....Five Minute Friday


I am coming really late to Five Minute Friday this week and I thought about skipping this week altogether, except for the one word....SMALL. It seems to be a recurring theme popping up a lot this week so...even if I miss the linkups here goes…
Quote from Mary DeMuth's new book, The Wall Around Your Heart.
www.marydemuth.com
Go...

I think at one time or another every person, every woman, every writer, or whatever your profession or role in life, struggles with the feeling of being small...

A teeny tiny fish in a big blue sea.

Just one tiny petal clinging to a gargantuan puff of clusters creating a large and lovely flower.

Only one insignificant person in this vast universe.

Sometimes we feel small because of the wrongs we have committed and sometimes it is the wrongs that have been committed against us. Those wrongs that make us feel broken, fragmented...small.

This smallness holds us back from stepping into the future that God has prepared for us. The enemy of our souls wants us to be lost in the feelings of being small...insignificant...unimportant. Or whispers into our ears that because of the sins committed against us we can never do anything of real importance in this world.

LIES! ALL LIES!

God tells us in His word that He wants us to have an abundant life! John 10:10 says,
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they many have life, and have it to the full.
To the full...abundance! More than enough, because He is more than enough!

A full life does not mean no pain, disease, warfare, or even death...but it does mean a good life because walking in obedience to God's Word brings about fruit in our life, and fullness. It can be hard at times, but it is still good, because God promises to bring us into a good land in our lives and that good land produces good fruit for His glory.  You can touch the lives of so many others who feel small and insignificant because God will produce in you the glorious fruit of His Spirit.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.~Galatians 5:22-23
If you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then you are a son or daughter of the King of kings and Lord of Lords! That makes you a Prince/Princess, and heir to the Kingdom.!

And that, my friend, is no small thing!

Stop!

NEWS from Gay at Captive Heart...


I created the photo at the beginning of this post using a quote from Mary DeMuth's new book, The Wall Around Your Heart. I have the privilege of being on the launch team for the book so you will be hearing more about the book in future posts. I've only just begun reading the advance copy of the book, but it is already proving to be a book worthy of my library shelf!  Oh and so you know...this post was not a review of the book.  I will be posting the review next month closer to the release of the book.

"And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." 2 Corinthians 9:8

  Now it's your turn

1. Write for 5 minutes flat - no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you &encourage them in their comments
Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community...

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Alone...and Lonely. Five Minute Friday

Yesterday was Five Minute Friday and the prompt for the day was, LONELY.  I am coming a bit late to the game, but as this has been my discipline to get me posting more regularly I feel I must post this today...late as it is. So here goes.

Lonely...
Go...

There she sat, all alone on a sunny day.

The playground was alive with children's laughter.

The sound of iron on iron provided a constant rhythmic grinding noise. The children squealed with delight as they yelled to their partners to push harder, swinging ever higher into the air. Fingers wrapped around the chains as if in a death grip...legs pumping to help the swing move faster and higher, swaying back and forth, over and over in dizzying delight.

The sound of rope slapping the ground, over and over, with the rhyming chants of "Miss Mary Mack, Mack, Mack" as the other girls jumped rope.   She could hear the pealing laughter and giggles as they stumbled and began again.

The sound of bats cracking, children yelling and running...
Sounds of fun and games...as children clumped together in different groups across the playground.

But there she sat...alone...and lonely. The feeling of being unwanted a heavy weight descending down over her...almost as if there were clouds right above her head...muffling the sound of children in the background of her thoughts.

Stop! 
My five minutes are up, but, of course, I can't stop there.

Can you picture that woman...or child in the woman, in the words above?  Are you that woman? Have you experienced that feeling of being alone in the midst of a flurry of activity? Wondering...who will come and take your hand...invite you in...???

Let me come alongside you...take your hand. You are not alone! I would venture to guess that there are millions of women out there feeling, at times, that lonely ache in the midst of a flurry of activities.  The lack of intimacy in their lives...the feeling that, "no one gets me"...no one really cares.
God knows...He knows that feeling.  His own Son had to experience rejection...to experience those closest to Him not really getting Him...and finally to experience the darkest day of His life on the cross. Rejected...His own Father turned His gaze away. But He experienced this so that you and I would never have to feel that rejection.

We never have to experience that severing of fellowship with the One who loves us most. (tweet this) He promises that He will never leave us or forsake us.  He left this earth but lives on in His children in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

Never. alone. again.

But still...there are times...we forget what we have. No...WHO we have with us, within us. Ready to guide, protect, and comfort us.  We just have to take His hand.

Are you willing to take His hand?







"The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; He will  never leave you not forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged..." Deuteronomy 31:8

    Now it's your turn…

  1. Write for 5 minutes flat - no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
  2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
  3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands, or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you and encourage them in their comments. Seriously! That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Five Minute Friday...Story, or as Paul Harvey would say, "the rest of the story..."

It's that time again...time to link up with Lisa-Jo Baker and all the other wonderful writers for Five Minute Friday.  I will say...this post was a heart squeezer for me. And I do admit that it did take more than five minutes...but I'm linking up anyway!

The word for today is...
Story...

Sometimes you meet many people along the journey of your life and wonder...

What's their story?
Like the little boy who shared a room with my son in Lifeline Children's Hospital in Indianapolis. It was a specialty rehab hospital for mostly brain injured children.  My son, Brad, was going through rehabilitation after suffering a stroke at age 13...so young. Too young.

But sitting across the room was a much younger boy. So small that the bed seemed to envelop his little body as he lay there...listless. His story? I only know a small part. He was on his bicycle one day. As he rode out into the street, he was hit by a car passing by. One day...playing outside as carefree as children can be...the next, laying in a hospital bed, in a coma. He suffered a brain injury and laid in a coma for weeks before finally awakening and transferring to the rehab hospital. I watched as his parents and relatives would come and go as their work schedules would allow.  I watched as this young boy who could not talk seemed to somehow connect with my son. I saw him improve enough to go home...but he had so much healing and who knows how far his recovery took him.  DeAndre' would be a young man now.  I wonder...what became of him?

There was also a little girl at the rehab hospital. Her family rarely came to visit. I wondered why? What was their story? I knew that nothing could keep me from being there with my son in that hospital. I was with him 24/7...only leaving occasionally when my husband was able to take time away from work to be with Brad. I did finally realize that for some parents, staying with their children was not an option. Sometimes it was a single mom, working full-time...without the job she would lose the insurance that paid for her child's medical care.  When I realized there were actually reasonable explanations for a parent not staying with their child, I was able to extend grace and love to those families.

At first I thought this little girl couldn't talk; she too had a brain injury.  The nurses would sit her in the hallway in front of the nurses station to keep an eye on her. This precious little girl, Olivia, would just squeal and 'talk' in unintelligible sentences loudly. Sometimes, when Brad was in speech therapy, or one of his other therapies I would go to her and read to her.  She would try and throw her little body over into my lap. Oh how I longed to take her in my arms and snuggle with her as I read book after book to her. I once asked the nurses if I could hold her but they said I could not without her parent's permission. I almost cried as I heard the nurses words. No Olivia...I cannot hold you.

I spent so much time with little Olivia, that one day  I realized that I could actually understand what she was saying to me.

She was a precious little one.   I only saw her mom once the entire time she was there and that was when they came to take Olivia home. That day was a hard one for me. I was happy that little Olivia was going home, but a piece of my heart went with her. I would not know, as Paul Harvey says, "the rest of the story" of this precious child's life.

So many lives, so many stories. As you can imagine, with the time we have spent in hospitals and rehabilitation centers with Brad through his two traumatic brain events, we have encountered so many whom we have had to prayerfully place into the Father's care...

never to know...

the rest of THEIR story...

How about you?  We all have a story...as we walk this earth we are leaving footprints for others to see...to follow. Where have yours led?  Where will  yours lead??

What's your story?









If you are interested in reading more of my story with our son's disability, you might want to check out this article...Open the eyes of my heart, my prayer in the midst of writers block

Now it's your turn...

1. Write for 5 minutes flat - no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you &encourage them in their comments
Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community...