Every now and then I need a break from the consuming world of Facebook. Not to sound all, whatever, but I have the "gift" of mercy and empathy comes easy to me. What this means is that I chose a Social Work degree and easily have a heart for those in need. Practically, this is amazing and allows me to put myself in other people's shoes without much effort. But, realistically what this means is that I have a tendency to put the weight of the world on my shoulders. I don't try to do it, it just happens. And this world can be really sucky at times, full of heartache, death and despair. That's why clinging to my faith can be so easy, because I need a safe retreat from the harsh realities of this side of Heaven...
Facebook can be an amazing tool for outreach, connection, prayer - but it can also consume me. I read that amazing article that was going around called "Your Children Want YOU!" It made me think about my daily priorities, and the order things had shifted. For me, Facebook can also be a foothold for Satan to pour his lies in my heart - comparing myself to others, thoughts of envy, forgetting how blessed I am...
So, because of these reasons, I'm just taking a little break. A time-out. A respite. A rest. My life runs well when I put my relationship with God first, my marriage second, my children third, the needs of others next, and my own needs last. I have this verse posted by our laptop, and I'm actually putting it into action: "Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through your world," Psalms 119:37. And one final thought for your day:
The word alone - miracle - stirs up some anxiety in me. When we were pregnant with Gabriel, we knew his diagnosis was fatal, and yet we had lots of people saying they were praying for a miracle. I never prayed that prayer. That's a huge confession for me - and it's taken me 3 years to actually say it on here. But, the truth is, I knew of another Potter's Momma who was religiously (no pun intended) praying for a miracle for her baby, and it never happened. I guess I never wanted to set myself up for even more disappointment.
So, I would kinda cringe inside when people would tell me that they were praying for a miracle for my own baby. I understand why they did that. Lord knows, we were all hoping for the best. I guess I didn't feel like I had a right to ask for such a thing. I remember after Gabriel was born, alive, and passed away two short hours later - the news broke out via Facebook that our precious son had indeed left this earth. It had rained all morning long while I was in labor, and then that afternoon the entire Tri-State area witnessed a double rainbow in the sky. Unbelievers were texting me saying that it was such an "obvious sign" from God, that all would be okay. Makes me cry just thinking about it.
But the pastor (and friend) that did our funeral services told me later, that he had several people who were "livid" because God hadn't heard, or answered their prayer, that my son would live - that God would perform a miracle in him. I didn't know how to feel about that.
Then, this past Easter morning, our own Pastor talked about miracles. It made me cry and shake my head in agreement. I took notes, knowing I wanted to share it with you all on here. So, here you go!
First, he reminded us all that Christ died so that we could uncover wholeness! We are constantly searching for "quick fixes" for our problems, but they never work; they never last. He talked about the white-washed tomb, where Christ was laid to rest - such a perfect image of how we go about our lives. Looking good and clean from the outside for all to see, but inside - decay and death. Just as a dirty cup has to be cleaned from the inside out, so do our hearts! We are all broken. And in this life, where people are constantly praying for their colds to get better, we are missing the point. Life is not about feeling better or recieving healing - it is about something much deeper!
But, don't miss this point - God CAN heal, DID heal, and still DOES heal people today - both in the Bible and in the present. BUT, that's NOT THE POINT. The point of everything in life is to GET OUR ATTENTION.
And my son's DEATH got people's attention. It drew people back to Christ. It improved Godly relationships. It forced people to think about death and Heaven, and changed the way they see life - with a more eternal perspective.
So, if you're praying for someone to receive healing, maybe even a miracle, that's okay. But, just remember that God hears ALL prayers, and even answers ALL prayers - but sometimes His answer is "No." And there's an eternal and profound explaination for HIS WAYS.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts," Isaiah 55:9.
*Need a church?? LifeHouse Church East meets at Leitersburg Cinemas. Three services on Sunday Morning: 8:45am, 10am, and 11:15am. We'd love to have you!! :)
I have started a new habit.
I've always said that I love Facebook for praying purposes. I've gotten good at searching for people in need of prayer, and as soon as I read that status update, or that email, or that little cry for help - I stop what I'm doing and lift that person up in prayer.
Well, recently a passage of scripture has been ringing in my ears - "Where two or more are gathered in my name, there I will be." That's found in the book of Matthew, the 18th chapter, verse 20.
So, just now, my hubby is on my heart. I know that school's almost over and that both he and his kids are getting restless. I walked over to Joel, got down on his level and said, "Would you like to pray for Daddy with me?" "YES!" And I picked him up, put him on my lap, and he repeated every heartfelt sentence that we lifted up to our Heavenly Father.
Praying WITH Joel has made me feel like the Spirit of God has just entered my home. I would love to encourage you to do the same!
So, yesterday was the first time we ever put Zoe in our church's nursery. She did really well, I however did not. I was anxious all morning just thinking about dropping her off, leaving her in someone else's care, being away from me.
I spent a lot of time praying, asking God to calm my heart. I dropped her off, explained that I was a crazy Momma who was worked up about leaving her, and not to hesitate to have me come get her when she, inevitably, freaked out when she realized her entire world was not within ten feet of her.
It was nice to be able to get my coffee and not have to try to juggle it all. But, as soon as the worship started, the tears started. I was singing and crying, and crying and singing. So I took a moment to reflect... Was I was upset about leaving Zoe because she's my little girl - precious in every way, or because she's my rainbow baby - and I'm overprotective of her, always fearful that something may happen to her... Through the tears I started to wonder if God wasn't calming my heart because my mommy instinct was telling me to run and go get my little girl, or if I just wasn't letting go. And then it occurred to me, through all these racing thoughts, that I was actually allowing myself to worship for the first time in a long time. I wasn't preoccupied with staring at my sweet Zoe, but I was actually praising God - for the present moment I was in, and everything He has done for me.
So I took a deep breath and prayed a little prayer - God, please calm my heart. Take this anxiety from me unless I really am supposed to get up and check on my little girl. And like a gust of wind, the negative lurking feelings disappeared. I was only left with contentment and I realized what a gift it was to be able to praise my Creator, without any distractions.
Joel's really into rhyming words... The other day he was going through everyone's name, "Daddy Patty, Mama Llama, Joel Bowl, Zoe Oh-ee, what's Gabe's name?" I said, "He's Gabey Baby, remember?" Then Joel started talking about Gabe. More than he's ever talked about his brother. He told me that he knew he was in Heaven, and that I'd put him there (??), but wanted to know if he'd be back tomorrow. He told me that it made him sad that he wasn't here. I was stunned. I just kept folding laundry, trying to stay quiet, to allow him to say as much or as little as he wanted. It was so incredible to hear.
Then I asked him if he thought we should have another baby. Yes, of course we should. "I need a brother." "And we should name him Sam?" "Yes, Mama."
As a parent, you feel priviledged to speak to your children about Jesus, but it's a special kind of honor to talk to them about someone who is actually with Jesus, a sibling they only met for a few moments... two and a half years ago. I am so grateful that he remembers his little brother. I am so thankful that having a brother who has passed away gives my son more perspective about Jesus, Heaven, and eternity.
Last night, something amazing happened. I saw my child's face. I saw the face of Gabriel, not as the newborn I gave birth to, not the face I saw taking his last breaths, no. It was the face of a two year old little boy, smiling sweetly down to me, seated right next to Jesus.
I have been feeling very overwhelmed lately. Zoe is back to being very fussy and rarely content. Joel is struggling daily to master potty training, which as any parent can tell you, is very draining. Kyle has been amazing and so helpful and we even spent all day yesterday accomplishing everything I could think of that may ease my anxiety. Still, after groceries were purchased, the pictures were sorted, the house was cleaned and organized, I still felt literally paralyzed in my anxiety. I went to bed early.
I heard Zoe crying sometime in the night and after I went in to check on her, my anxiety was at an all time high. I woke Kyle up, asking him to pray over me. He prayed that Satan wouldn't have a foothold in my life and that Jesus' presence would be a source of calm and comfort. He prayed that angels would be watching over us, our children, our home. He prayed that an angel would guard our room and sit out on our bedroom balcony. And as he spoke these words, I began weeping. I tried to find comfort in what he was saying, what he was asking. And as I imagined angels guarding my home, I thought of my very own angel. And then I saw his face.
You know how people say they know a thought is from God, when it jumps in their head faster than their own mind could think of it? Well, seeing his face was kind of like that. I saw it so clearly, and it was so HIM, that I knew I didn't dream it up, that it was actually him. I hope that makes sense.
So what did he look like? Oh my goodness. He was the perfect mix of both Joel and Zoe. Joel's hair is white blond, while Zoe's came out dark brown, and Gabriel was right in between. It made me think about how often people question how dark Zoe's hair is in comparison to Joel's and that if Gabey was still here, he would literally be the missing link between them.
His face was precious and dear and chubby. And his smile was loving, with sweet big eyes. The best way to describe it would be to show you pictures of my kids and tell you that he was a mixture of these: