Thursday, November 24, 2011

With Deep Gratitude

I am so grateful.  My life is full of blessings.  They look much differently than I expect them to some times, but they are blessings.  There are people and things that are no longer in my life and it took my a long time to see that as a blessing/gift, but I am coming to realize that even the short time I was blessed was enough.  My relationship with Christ is MORE than enough.  Unmet expectations have less and less hold on me and I am learning to release daily my need to be needed and my desire to control people and situations.  I am thankful that I am learning that not everyone is going to like me or want to be my friend (hard to believe isn't it...hahaha?) and that I can't create peace in the midst of chaos.  I can't judge others, I can't even judge myself and it is so good to be free from that compulsion.  I am filled with gratitude and my heart is lighter than ever.  I see challenges as exciting and my to do lists are becoming more balanced.  Hope is renewed.  Expectations of myself and others are changing and my dependence upon the Lord is increasing more everyday.  My heart longs for it's real home.  Daily I am reminded that this world is not my home.  I yearn to live in God's intended purpose for my life and I am searching for the abundant life He has for me.  I am GRATEFUL, blessed beyond measure and forever humbled by God's love, mercy and saving grace.  Happy Thanksgiving and blessings to you all during this holiday season.


Monday, October 3, 2011

A Divine Meeting Place

Most people think of a "divine" meeting place as a holy, hallowed hall.  Perhaps a sanctuary of an elegantly designed architectural masterpiece comes to mind.  Maybe something from a picture book you looked at as a child is what you remember. I have been blessed to see some amazing sites in England and Scotland.  I have worshiped in some beautiful places here in the U.S.  I have had special times of communion and worship outside in nature.  You would think I would be expectant for God to meet me anywhere, but I must admit that His presence still humbles and surprises me.  This past week God met me in Subway in Swannanoa and subsequently my truck ride home.  Although I find this story a tad bit unusual and humorous, what I find even more intriguing is that in looking back through my blog I find that God met me in that SAME place back in 2008  So as I compare the two accounts/meetings I am awed again by God's love, His ability to meet us flawed, broken humans where we are and His still small voice that speaks to us IF we are willing to hear.

Allow me to recount my meeting.  This past Tues. after walking around Grovemont with Angie and the kids I decided to treat us all to Subway.  Angie volunteered to stay home with James and Jonathan.  The older three were very excited about going and placing their order.  I was even going to treat with cookies on this visit. So here we go to Subway....we arrive at a very busy lunch hour.  I allow my children to place their orders (which they did very well by the way) and then I ordered a combo for the littlest J's and a sub for Angie and myself (so 4 kids combos and 2 adult subs).  The line behind me was ever-growing.  I could feel the tension in the air.  However, I was "pleased as punch" that my kids were doing so well and even a family of seven has the right to eat at Subway, huh????!!!  Upon arrival at the cash register, confirming the order, adding the cookies I realized....NO WALLET!!!  YIKES.  At this point the angry woman next to me could have killed me with her stare.  Joseph begin to "flip out".  JoyAnn went to the truck to look for my wallet.  I said OUT LOUD "I love having five kids".  I was just about to flip out myself, when suddenly I experienced God's peace wash over me.  Come on....this really isn't a problem. They are sandwiches.  I calmly told the ladies behind the counter (who were VERY kind) that I had nothing to leave them as collateral, but that I would return shortly to settle up my tab.  The "angry" lady said something mean about "having to leave....could you PLEASE help me and just clear out her order".  I didn't let it get under my skin.  I got my kiddos into the car (actually had a teachable moment about what REALLY matters is eternal).  I shared with them how sad and embarrassed I was and lovingly reminded them to look for opportunities to serve others (i.e. ask Mom if I can carry anything, are you ok, etc.?).  Joseph had the MOST trouble dealing with it all.  He was quite agitated about finishing a song on the CD and "Where are the cookies?".  We made it home and I promptly let the kids out of the truck.  Angie met me in the driveway with my wallet and I pulled out of the driveway in quite a hurry.  ONCE AGAIN, God met me with a peace.  I prayed, cried and asked Him to show me something redeemable about this experience.  Well....He did!  I immediately began to think about how other people all over the world were having WORSE days than me.  I wondered about the people in the line behind me.  What were their stories?  I thought about the women behind the counter.  I am SO grateful that I don't have to work outside of the home.  Even though my kids drive me batty sometimes, I wouldn't miss a moment with them.  The Lord spoke to me and them ME.  I knew I was to extend grace to the ladies at Subway and to redeem this experience and make it about something/someone OTHER than myself.  I went to Ingles and bought a small, but beautiful potted flower arrangement.  I took it into the store and thanked them for their kindness, mercy and grace.  One of the ladies (Mary) said that she had noticed Joseph's growing sense of discomfort.  I talked of his autism and subsequent heightened anxiety.  She then recounted that her son also has autism and shared a VERY private story.  She began to cry.....I was already crying.  It was a beautiful moment where two mothers shared a private pain.  They were blown away at my display of thanks and I was blown away that God took a small, trivial, embarrassing, frustrating moment and turned in into something special, holy, divine and redeemable.  I will forever be grateful that He met me that day and that I felt His love for me.

Isn't God the coolest?  So....I wonder where God will meet me next.  Stay tuned....

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Summer of the Wedding aka "Happily Ever After"

Nathan and I attended our final wedding of the summer. Mandy and Jamie were first on April 24, 2011. Sarah and Thomas were next on June 11, 2011. Yesterday we celebrated with Dan and Morgan. Weddings always make me nostalgic and a little reflective. Each wedding was so unique, beautiful and special. I enjoyed all three of them immensely. I am grateful that God in His wonderfully mysterious and precious way united each of these souls to Him and to each other. It's just a beautiful thing.

Many people though think of weddings as a "fairy tale" ending to a love story. I did too when I was younger and naive. Now I realize they might be a "fairy tale" beginning, but that marriages are FAR FROM fairy tale. They are filled with wonderful moments and blessed times but they are also filled with hurt feelings, unmet expectations, sickness, financial trouble, unkind words, and yes even lonliness. There isn't a perfect marriage on the face of the planet. Marriage is a testing ground. It is an opportunity to draw us to Jesus and to make us more like him. Being married is a moment by moment challenge as well as a joy.

I am praying for the Dunhams, Johnsons and Maxams. I am praying that their lives together will be graced with hardship that brings them closer to Jesus and to each other. I pray that their homes will be filled with noise, busyness and chaos that will cause them to search for that still small voice. I pray that they will know struggle that causes them to depend FULLY on God. Enjoy each other guys. Live, laugh, love and be FREE. However, I pray your lives aren't too easy. That way you'll never appreciate God or each other. So as much as I love you I'm not praying for "Happily Ever After". I'm praying growth, honesty, reality and JOY IN THE JOURNEY!!!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Thomas and Sarah JOHNSON

Today I had the privilege of serving alongside a team of godly musicians in blessing the union of Sarah Paquette to Thomas Johnson.  Words really cannot express the beauty of Christ's love as displayed in this young couple.  It isn't Thomas and Sarah.  Although they are fabulously wonderful.  It is JESUS pure and simple.  What I experienced last night at the rehearsal dinner is merely a glimpse of what heaven will be like. Yes I do think there will be 12 Bones and banana pudding in heaven (hee hee).

Thomas has lovingly, gently yet passionately pursued his bride Sarah while protecting her, loving her, serving her EXACTLY as Christ has pursued us his church.  The miracle at Cana was REAL and the miracle that He performed last night amongst His people was every bit as real and tangible.  Just as Thomas presented Sarah to the congregation pure and spotless, Christ presents us to God that way.  Very rarely do you hear of couples who have remained pure and celebate during a six year courtship.  I am so proud of them, happy for them and EXCITED as they experience the mystery of God's union for them and through them.  What a glorious celebration today was for us ALL.

I have had the pleasure of serving in AMAZING weddings.  Too many to name.  Couples whose love caused Nathan and I to pause for a moment and reflect on God's faithfulness to us as a family.  Then there are the weddings where the music is just fun and I'm caught up in that also.  There are the weddings unfortunately where I do my best to bring Christ into the ceremony through my gifts, but pray for the couple not sure as to their spiritual condition or the certainty of their commitment to each other.  Today was so peaceful.  There was no fear, no doubt, no wondering.....only joy, peace and the presence of Christ.  His Holy Spirit guided them to each other and will continue to guide them into their happily ever after. 

The ceremony was wonderful.  The reception was FUN!!!  I danced with my son Joseph until our feet hurt.  Jesse and JoyAnn even got in on the action.  The company was wonderful.  The food delicious and the joy was contagious.  I am grateful to have shared in today.

Here is a song by Brooke Fraser Ligertwood that to me represents Thomas and Sarah's love.  I hope you enjoy. 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Back in the Saddle

So I will be sharing my testimony with the Mtn. View CR group on July 12th.  Things have changed dramatically in the last three years.  I am excited to share God's story through me.  Also Nathan and I are considering returning to CR as participants.  Exciting stuff....

In August Nathan and I hope to attend a Precept leader training.  We both have a hunger to know the Word and to be able to teach it to our children and others that desire to know God more intimately.  This is really exciting.  I believe it to be a step towards our ultimate calling in Christ. 

Just wanted to jot these things down.  Will write more when I can.

Friday, June 3, 2011


So today I've literally felt haunted by memories.  Haunted by pictures, dreams and verbal reminders of past failures and disappointments.  I had a series of disturbing dreams last night featuring people from my past.  I was unloving toward my children today and found myself yelling more than I should.  Joseph randomly reminded me, in specific detail, of an episode where I had "blown it" as a parent.  I did not do something very important that Nathan asked me to, and I wasn't as careful with Jonathan as I should have been while getting him dressed for bed and he slipped and hurt his chin. 

I feel condemned.  I feel haunted and unable to shake this feeling of not being what I should be/could be or was meant to be.  My mind plays tricks on me.  Feelings dominate me.  The struggle to separate reality and emotion is real tonight.  Expectations have been set and grossly missed by me and I have been let down by far too many people.  The scales have tipped in the wrong direction and tonight it feels hopeless to ever set them back in balance.  Forgiveness is a powerful thing.  Oh how I need the Spirit's strength to allow Christ to forgive through me.  I wish I didn't have these memories.  My mind begs me to focus on the positive.  Why is it that the scum always rises to the top of the pond?  Can't I remember happy days? 

Tired of being afraid.  Tired of looking over my shoulder.  Desperately wanting to be FREE from this weight.  Such depth of pain.  An intense amount of sadness.  A feeling of loss for what was and what will never be.

I feel as if the ghost of my past and the unmet expectations of my life will ever be present.  I pray that I can reconcile them someday. 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

"If You Seek Me You Will Find Me"

So I want to be more intentional about my faith.  I want to SEEK God with all that I am and all that I have.  I want to be aware of His presence, calling and glory in my life.  I want my faith to be evident, open, transparent, real and accessible mainly to my family and then to others I might encounter.  Today I felt God's gracious Holy Spirit lead me to invite my children to walk down the road with me and take popsicles to the workers who were digging utility trenches on our street.  It was a pleasure to serve them and to say thank you to them.  The kids were genuinely excited about our adventure. 

I want to be drawn nearer to Him through His Word, through fellowship, through service, through worship and through silence.  My heart is heavy and sometimes my body almot aches with desire to really know Him, to encounter Him to become a "friend of God".  So my heart's cry today is best displayed though Meredith Andrew's "Draw Me Nearer".  I hope you enjoy and are blessed. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

We Interupt Your Regularly Scheduled Program

So today I had an interruption, a surprise, an unscheduled event.  At first I was not altogether happy about it.  I had my plans, my agenda, my desires.  However, I am SOOOO grateful that God saw fit in His timing to allow we to have a restful, peaceful moment.  I had the pleasure (and I truly mean that) of taking my Papa to lunch today at J&S cafeteria.  As we sat and ate together I listened to him speak of his favorite baseball team.  He talked about how Chipper Jones was his favorite player.  He ate his country style steak, but wished he had gotten the ham.  He worried about the amount of gas in his tank, and wished his daughter (my mom) was feeling better.  He complained that they didn't have more stalls in the bathroom and thanked me at least ten times for taking him.  He wouldn't let me pay.  He told me of how he sat with my brother in the living room while he was having a seizure (Tyler asked him to do that and he was glad to do so).  Papa talked about his remaining family members.  He made me circle the building to find the right parking place.  He struggled with his oxygen.  He was strong and fragile all at the same time.  He was alive yet tired.  He was gracious, kind and handsome.  He was a wonderful "date" and I am so glad that I got to sit across the table from him at least once more.  I pray we have another date SOON!!!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Truly Remembering

So several months have passed without me boring you with my ramblings.  Here I am today filled with nostalgia, wonder and patriotism and it made me want to blog.  It's Memorial Day.  A day set aside for Americans to remember the lives of those men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice by giving their lives in service to our country.  It's also the start of summer, a holiday from work, a weekend full of travel, cookouts, fun and usually watermelon.  (I hope I get some watermelon today)

I am grateful for those in my life that have served in the armed forces.  My Papa was in the Army.  My father is retired Air Force.  He also served in the Navy.  I have friends who have served in the Marines, Navy and Army AND Coast Guard.  I am afforded many "rights" because of the freedom that they have helped to maintain.  I am grateful.

I am grateful also for the freedom that I have in Christ.  His blood, his ultimate sacrifice insured my FOREVER freedom.  Thank you simply isn't enough for that.  I don't want to EVER forget what he did for me.  I want my praise to "go on and on and on...forever AMEN!!!"

Here's a song from Natalie Grant that says what my heart feels today.'s to remembering and here's to being truly grateful.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Difference

So today I was pondering again the difference between being "needed" and being "wanted". Unfortunately I have had FAR too many people in my life that appeared to both need AND want me, but alas after the "need" part was fulfilled their friendship waned. Today I am thinking of how many times I have been let down AND let others down also. Feeling a little blue I suppose.

However, I also have been graciously and lovingly reminded that Jesus died because he LOVES me, and WANTS me. That's so much better and complete than the love or desire of ANY human being.

So yes...I was there when you needed me. I was the friend that you could talk to when the world was caving in around you. I listened to you cry and cried with you. I held you. I shared more of my life with you than most people will see or experience. I gave of my time and money. I gave, I loved, I wanted. I made an effort when you did not. Yet...we no longer talk. You no longer check to see if I am ok. You don't return emails or texts. You don't even grace my facebook comments with a return response. Months and years have gone by and we no longer even speak, see each other or talk over the phone. It hurts, it is sad, it is difficult to understand.

BUT, BUT, BUT, BUT, BUT........

God's Word promises ME that HE will NEVER leave ME nor forsake ME. I am clinging to this promise. I have a friend in Jesus. I have the only true friend I will EVER need. Even in the midst of my current "funk" I am loved, I am treasured, I am valued and I am GRATEFUL.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Elah's Here

So Sarah and Justin Massey added an addition to their family on December 28, 2010 at 9:07 pm. Months ago they asked me to be an additional support person for the labor/delivery. I can't even tell you the joy and happiness I felt when they asked.

Watching Sarah labor was an honor. Justin did a fabulous job supporting her. It was a precious time. I was able to help by updating the grandparents who were anxiously awaiting in the waiting room. I encouraged her with my words. I held her when she had her epidural and prayed over her. I held her leg as she pushed Elah into the world. I helped to control music selection and volume. I poured water and helped to get cold cloths. I called the nurse when she needed it. I drove them to the hospital. I just helped in small ways, but it was an HONOR. I will forever be grateful to have watched my goddaughter Elah Moriah Massey enter the world.

Congrats again guys...she's here!!! YEAH!

It's still so close to Christmas here is a song that gets me everytime I hear it. "Welcome to our World" Elah. Emmanuel came for YOU!!!